There is an interesting paradox about successful marriages. The first part of the paradox has to do with the fact that, according to research, the most successful couples are those with high expectations for their marriages. However, high expectations by themselves are a setup for disappointment and sure failure unless they are combined with a realistic assessment of what it will take to make those dreams come true.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.
This is the essence of the paradox—high expectations must be combined with a tough-minded commitment to pay the price necessary to attain the desired outcome. It’s no different from having a dream to own a successful business. The desire is wonderful as long as you expect to have to work hard and make some sacrifices. The same is true of a desire to have a body that is in great shape. The desire must be combined with a commitment to eat right and exercise; otherwise, it will never happen.
Somehow, people understand the connection between high expectations and hard work in every area of life except for marriage. Some couples are convinced that if they have to work too hard in marriage, there must be something wrong. No, there’s nothing wrong. Marriage is work, and it only works when people are willing to roll up their sleeves and give it their best.
If you want to succeed in marriage, you need to begin with a big dream in your heart for what you want to accomplish. Make sure it’s realistic, but don’t let it be too small. God is the God of big dreams. Then, once you have a big dream and some high expectations, commit yourself to working hard and sacrificing for as long as necessary to see your dreams come true. This also includes praying hard for God’s blessings and assistance.
Big dreams and hard work are the magic ingredients that create great marriages. Don’t give up. Dream again and talk and pray with your spouse until you have the same vision for your future. As you do, commit to God and each other to give your marriage your best. Expect difficulty and hard work. They aren’t your enemies. They are the inevitable path we all must travel on the way to our dream marriages. There are no exceptions and no “perfect soul mate” utopias. Just the promise of happiness for any good-hearted, hard-working couple who is willing to sweat their way to the promised land.
Talk It Out
Do you have high expectations and a big dream for your marriage? Have you given up and lowered your standards because of previous disappointments? Talk about the dreams you have had for your marriage and how to make them come true. Commit to each other that you will give your marriage your very best.
Walk It Out
Become your spouse’s biggest fan. Call, email, or send text messages during the day to stay in touch. At the end of the day, give each other your undivided attention. Remember your dating days and how you couldn’t stand to be apart—act the way you did back then!