How Expectations Can Sink a Relationship


Too often, our relationships sink under the weight of our expectations. We could spend hours talking about why this is the case, but there’s a simple explanation: There is only one who can love us the way we are created to be loved.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” – Jeremiah 31:3

No other love can reach the standard of God’s love. When we tie up our worth in the measure of anyone else’s love, we are selling ourselves short. Not only that, but we are putting a lot of pressure on someone who has no way of living up to who we need them to be.

Let’s talk about the things scripture does not say:

  • “Your spouse will rescue you.”
  • “Your parents will always protect you.”
  • “Your best friend will never leave nor forsake you.”
  • “Your children will carry your burdens.”

The majority of fights in my marriage have stemmed from the unrealistic expectations my husband and I have put on each other. Neither of us entered our relationship believing it would be perfect or that we wouldn’t fight, but there were so many times we couldn’t figure out why we were fighting. After our daughter was born, we went through a period of time where we just didn’t like each other.

One night as we were sitting on our couch, we both agreed to be completely honest about the root of the problem. As it turns out, we said the exact same thing to each other: I just thought you were going to be there for me.

While I had been going through postpartum depression and struggling to balance my new role as a full-time working mom, wife, and friend, I had expected him to understand the emotions and stress I was feeling. While he had been picking up extra jobs on the side and trying to provide for our growing family, he had expected me to see his motives and appreciate the effort he was putting in.

There are many things we could have done differently during that time, but the truth is that we are going to let each other down sometimes. My husband is one of the strongest people I know, but it’s not fair for me to ask him to carry all of my burdens.

That night, it’s like we wrote a love letter to God. We took all of the things we had been saying to each other and, together, we started saying them to Him:

“God, I know that You will never let me down or leave me. You are my refuge, and Your faithfulness is my shield. You will be with me in my trouble, and You will deliver and honor me. You will take my burdens and give me rest. You, God, will heal my broken heart.”

Don’t sink your relationships by hoping that someone else’s love is going to save, cleanse, deliver, redeem, justify, and fight for you, but don’t sell yourself short by thinking you don’t deserve a love that will. Just take those expectations and place them on the One who was meant to carry them.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:4-5

12 thoughts on “How Expectations Can Sink a Relationship

  1. Wow this was beautiful! As a newly married wife I respect this post so much. I love that you stated “let’s talk about what the bible does NOT say.” I’ve never looked at it that way! Really made me stop and think. Thank you for your truth ❤


  2. I KNOW this, but I feel like I could use it tattooed on my forehead because it’s SO EASY to slip back into those expectations and get fed up. I love your “what the Bible doesn’t say” list – it puts it all into such a clear perspective. Thanks!


  3. It’s so easy to place our faith and expectations in people. It’s hard NOT to but we have to remember that their just people too. Even though I’ve been let down time after time, I still don’t seem to get it! In my wiser age, it’s slowly weeping in and God has used these times to show me how faithful He is. Thanks for sharing.


  4. What a great read, so often our disagreements stem from unrealistic expectations! My husband and I made a promise to each other to never go to bed angry, instead we sit and talk about the root of the disagreement and begin working to fix the issue. I’m so thankful to have been taught this in our season of engagement, it has helped strengthen our marriage bond tremendously.


  5. Very powerful. I think the one I have the most difficulty with is my parents not protecting me forever. While I’m grateful they’re not “protecting” me from trivial things, it does still hurt to know that they failed to protect me in other ways.


  6. Oh my. I definitely needed this reminder that I can’t ask my husband to fill a space that only God can occupy.


  7. This is so good. It’s far too easy for me to allow my husband to try and fill a position that he just can’t. It makes me bitter and self righteous to be honest. A sad cycle that I have sometimes allowed to occur. But no more! Thank you for this article.


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