Dealing with the “Impossible Dreams” in our Marriage

February 3, 2020

We see couples every weekend at our intensives who are struggling in their
marriages because both spouses don’t feel they are getting what they hoped for
out of their relationships. At the root of their problems are all of the unconscious,
unspoken and unrealistic expectations they have of each other.

So let’s take a minute to look at this root problem in many marriages of unmet
expectations. What were the ones you brought into your marriage? You know …
those unconscious beliefs that:

  • my marriage will always be problem and pain free
  • my spouse will read my mind and make all my dreams come true
  • my marriage will always be filled with passion and romance
  • my marriage will overcome all of my childhood disappointments
  • my marriage will be fueled by a love that will conquer all
  • my spouse will never be attracted to anybody else
  • my spouse will always agree with and support me

I have to be honest an old song comes to mind right now … to dream the
impossible dream …

So how do we deal with all of these unconscious, unspoken and unrealistic
marriage expectations?

First we sit down and identify what we are, and have been, expecting from our
spouses and from our marriage. Do this by yourself and when both of you have
written down your lists move onto step two which is to …

Set up a time to sit down together to safely share what each of your expectations
are. You’ll probably be surprised at how many overlap … and that’s good to
clarify. But you want to focus on the ones that you both weren’t aware of … you
know the one where your husband would always be able to read your mind and
totally understand you and the one where your wife would always be responsive.

Here’s where the challenge comes into play … Now talk about whether these are
realistic and attainable expectations; and if you decide they are not how do you
both want to adjust the expectations into ones that are more reachable?

In a healthy marriage we want to respond to our spouses’ needs and wants. That
means we have to ward off our natural selfish tendencies to put our needs over
those of our spouse.

That brings us to our third step to reaching the impossible dreams … we need to
pray together as a couple and ask God to give us the desire and ability to put our
spouses’ needs ahead of our own. Philippians 2:3 says: “Do nothing out of selfish
ambition or vain conceit, but in humility treat others as more important than

Once we bring our unconscious, unspoken and unrealistic expectations into the
light and translate them into some more attainable goals … we can commit
ourselves toward working to making what was once an impossible dream an
attainable reality.

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