“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interest, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – the reading during my wedding ceremony. It seems forever and a day but I remember the voice of the person who read it. As my dear friend read this reading during my wedding ceremony, many dreams and expectations filled my head. Love was this GREAT EXPECTATION. It was supposed to be exactly like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Why? Because God said it was.
I’m sure no one else has done this – had GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
Towards the end of my marriage another set of verses filled my head as they were repeated to me often, Ephesians 5:22-23 “wives should be subordinate to their husbands…. for the husband is head of his wife.” Everything in between and afterwards was strategically omitted during these reminders of the Word of God.
I don’t want to dwell on the details of my past. The important thing I want to point out is I started my marriage with expectations of this blissful marriage with no problems, with an image of love as in 1 Corinthians 13. And I ended my marriage with grave disappointment. My ex-husband is human and I am human, neither of us are God and the marriage could never be perfectly blissful, with the perfect love of 1 Corinthians 13. In a relationship, both individuals should definitely strive to uphold God’s definition of LOVE but we are not perfect. We are going to miss the mark sometimes and that’s ok as long as we respond to the missed mark with this definition of LOVE.
My marriage seemed to be the exact opposite of what I think God intended in the covenant of marriage. Towards the end of the marriage when I kept hearing the verses from Ephesians 5, I thought something was wrong with me. I was broken and therefore my marriage was broken. I was failing at fulfilling what I thought the expectations (key word) God had in Ephesians 5. Part of that could very well be my own fault as I was ignorant to what God really meant in Ephesians 5 – perhaps because most of the message was missing when it was told to me over and over again and I accepted that as it was.
Ok – now, I’m hoping to tie both of these things together. I want to first focus on expectations and disappointments.
We wrestle in our lives with disappointments because of our expectations. If our expectations aren’t aligned with accepting God’s plan, His Will in our lives then we are greatly disappointed when something happens or doesn’t go the way we planned or we prayed for. I’ve blogged a lot about God’s Divine Providence in our lives and sometimes it involves bad circumstances in our lives to bring the beauty or fruit. If our expectations are anything other than what God has in store for us, disappointment rears its ugly head.
What often happens when we become disappointed?
We start pulling away from God. We start questioning God’s motive in our lives and whether He is a good God, a loving Father. Our faith starts to suffer.
So when Ephesians 5 kept being brought before me in some things that I felt weren’t healthy, I really began to question God and who I was. This was embedding inside of me an image that I was a failure in my marriage, not good enough, a disappointment to my husband and to God. Fast forward to where I am in my faith today, I have a more informed knowledge of the entire message of Ephesians 5:21-30. As I read Theology of the Body, a wonderful book by the way, I began to put these verses in perspective. Here is my new perspective and new understanding of Ephesians 5:21-30. God does intend for wives to submit to their husbands and He also intends for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. So, God’s intentions are exactly 1 Corinthians 13-4-7 in Ephesians 5. In order to be obedient to Ephesians 5:21-30, both husband and wife have to give themselves freely to the other. Christ loved the Church so much that HE gave Himself to His bride, the Church, by offering His life. So in order for a husband to “love [his] wife, even as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5: 25),” he must give himself completely to his wife. A wife in return must submit to her spouse, giving herself entirely to him. It also says that the Church, the bride of Christ, is subordinate to Christ. I think this is fulfilled by desiring all that God desires for us – alignment to His Will.
Going back to my own story, at the end of my marriage, I had become disappointed in myself because of another expectation. Looking back, this is a very good lesson to me on my expectations and disappointments and it reinforces my desire to be aligned with God’s expectations, His Will in my life.
I invite you to evaluate your expectations – may be they involve your children, your parents, your spouse, your job, a friendship or an illness. Are they aligning with God’s Will? Are your expectations flexible to accepting circumstance that is part of His plan for you? If so, you will have less disappointments and more life giving joy. Blessings!
“Do not, my child, approach Jesus Christ with the hope of bending his will to yours: what I desire is that you yield yourself to him and that he receive you, so that he, your Savior, may do with you and in you whatever he pleases.” St. Cajetan