10 Ways Unrealistic Expectations Destroy Your Relationships

10 Ways Unrealistic Expectations Destroy Your Relationships

“Expectations kill relationships,” writes Ann Voskamp. As I ponder her words, I remember how my marriage has died a thousand little deaths. While my outlandish expectations have harmed many relationships, my poor husband has born the brunt of my affliction.

Affliction? you ask.

Yes, affliction. Because harboring unrealistic expectations is like a disease. One that chokes the life out of a relationship. It stifles the people around you, sometimes paralyzing them because they are afraid of disappointing you, failing you, angering you.

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Why the Church Must Be a No-Shame Zone

Why the Church Must Be a No-Shame Zone

This week, we're talking about being spontaneous, and yet, here is a post about the Church and porn. Well, that's spontaneous, right? I never know when my posts for Covenant Eyes will go live and I don't always share them here, but this is a post that Craig and I both feel so passionate about—Satan uses shame in incredibly powerful ways and it is time for the Church to fight against these schemes.

Church, rise up. RISE UP.

The sins we commit in the dark, in the secret places, those are the ones Satan hones in on, where he continually speaks lies under the heavy cloak, in the deep recesses of our hearts where we shut out Light. Where can we take these sins? To Jesus, for sure. But where do we find the community that helps us in the recovery of these sins?

If the Church is just another space that heaps more shame, the Church then becomes another tool of the enemy.

This cannot be so.

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Giving Grace: Stress Strategies

Giving Grace: Stress Strategies

February has been INSANE for us. We knew this going into this month. We also know that the first part of March is more of the same. Until Sunday, we were doing well. We were tag-teaming. We were giving each other space for downtime. We were connecting on emotional and spiritual levels, even though we often weren't in physical proximity with each other. Our wheels were spinning at the same speed.

Sunday morning came. We were both exhausted. I had driven two hours away to speak at a retreat on Friday night and then drove back to town on Saturday morning to be at an all-day dance competition for our oldest. The adrenaline alone from speaking and then being a dance mom was enough to shut me down. Add in chores that had been neglected and I was over the edge. Unfortunately, so was Craig. And so the downward spiral of sarcasm and snippiness began. It took two efforts to try to regain our traction, but thankfully we did.

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Why Surrender Doesn't Mean Giving Up the Battle

Surrender is hard.

Surrender is especially hard when you're a type-A emotional caregiver who struggles with anxiety. Hello, perfect storm.

I want to fix everything. I want people to be happy and healthy and free. My first instinct is to evaluate and plan. I find solutions, present them, and cajole the person into using them. And then I'm disappointed when they don't. I get frustrated, angry, and resentful. When they continue to struggle, I say in my head, "If you'd only listen to me!"

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

Ironically, when I'm in fix-it mode, trying to promote Healthy! Happy! Free!, I find myself feeling unhealthy, unhappy, and chained. I've found that the harder I try to bring about change in people with my own solutions, the more I find myself drowning in the fear of the problem at hand. I become antsy and restless, my mind spinning with more ideas, more "what-ifs," and a cascading list of new problems that might crop up because this one is still unresolved.

Praise the Lord there are some problems we can take care of with ease, but those issues that we find in others—the ones that rub us the wrong way, the ones that induce fear, the ones that seem to threaten our security—those are the ones that require surrender. Those are the ones where our solutions won't stick, where when we begin to talk to our spouse about the issue, we are met with silence, a blank "smile and nod," or empty promises.

Why? Because the problem requires their surrender, too. We can't make anyone raise their own white flag. 

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Give Grace: When Your Spouse Isn't Exactly Who You Thought

This week, we are continuing this theme of giving grace when confronted with unrealistic expectations, but coming from a slightly different angle. What do you do when your spouse ends up being different than you expected? Here, we tackle the gambit—what to do when they fart more than you think they should all the way to addressing an addiction.

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Marriage Takes Grit

Marriage Takes Grit

Maybe your marriage is looking like the Patriots in the 3rd Quarter of Super Bowl LI?  Whether not you love or hate Tom Brady and the Patriots, you have to admit they showed grit.  In the face of overwhelming odds and a desperate situation, they relied on each other, dug in their heels and fought like hell.  God’s call to us is the same.  Fight for one another.  Fight for your marriage. It takes grit. You're going to get dirty. It's going to take every ounce of strength you have...and then a whole bunch more from God and the people around you.

Be tenacious. Don't give up. Rally.

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