I walked into my kitchen on a Saturday morning and began to make breakfast for my family. Eggs, fresh fruit, avocados, sliced bread. I began to pull out all the ingredients I needed to make our big breakfast of the week. I cut the avocados in half and began to slice the interior into pieces while waiting on my water to boil for the eggs. As I went to place the avocado shell into the trash, I stumbled upon one of my dreaded daily discoveries: the full trashcan. The trash was full to the brim, so I tossed the avocado shell on top and began to tie it up before placing the bag outside.
Placing the bag outside my back door is my "womanly way" of telling my husband to take the trash out. I gingerly added the extra items of trash to the top and set myself to putting a bag back into the trash. You see, my hubby and I have a system. I place the trash on the back porch; he takes the trash out. Whoever takes the trash out of the trash can (it can be anyone); Momma puts a clean bag into the trash can. It is a simple routine we follow and one which needs no communication because, after 17 years of marriage, we have a system.
You can see why I was baffled when my husband emerged from the bedroom heading outside and totally dismissed the pile which was very obviously sitting on the back deck. I didn't; however, realize this until I had finished setting the table, prepping and cooking the meal, and had called everyone to eat.
How many of us, as wives, have had an expectation of our husband, and he failed to deliver to our predetermined level or, better yet, didn't deliver at all. I know I've had this happen on many occasions; however, we, as human beings, are no stranger to this. We begin our lives with constant failed expectations from timely feedings as an infant, late pickups from practice, missed meetings from our co-workers, or cancelled plans. We walk through life with hope and expectations of others in a belief they will deliver; however, we are mere humans counting on humans as if they are immune to unexpected circumstances. Do we have the ability to meet and exceed the expectations of others, yes! Should we strive to meet and exceed others expectations as family members, co-workers, directors, moms, friends, and the like? Absolutely! We were made in the image of God and should strive each day to give our absolute best; however, junk happens, plans fail, and we are ultimately imperfect humans. It is in these moments we show grace to others because we are given grace. God, alone, is the perfect promise maker.
Joshua 21:45 says:
"Not one of the good promises which the Lord has made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass."
This verse is the last verse of Joshua 21 and follows the naming of all the towns and territory given to each of the tribes and clans of Israel. This was significant since these towns and territories were the answer to a promise God had given to Moses long before Joshua was named as leader over the Israelites. Ultimately, God is faithful and is the only one capable of exceeding the expectations we have. You see, He already has exceeded them. How, you may ask? Through the giving of His son, Jesus Christ, for our eternal salvation.
We were born into a sinful world with a natural sinful nature. Our expectation should be death; however, God has given us a way out. Grace, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, exceeds any expectations we may have. God gives grace based on the position of our heart just as He said in Samuel 16:7;
" But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as a man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Since those who follow Christ should reflect who we serve, we should be a reflection of Christ. What does Christ do? He searches the heart.
So many couples practice what I call the "blame game. " Don't be misled, my husband and I have played this game a time or two as well. Basically, it boils down to our expectations of each other
as a married couple and how our spouse is not fulfilling our expectations.
The "blame game" typically begins in our heads. We busy our minds noticing how much our spouse does not "do" for us, ignores us, doesn't appreciate us, or has us carry the workload. Our minds become a war zone of irrational frustration and agitation. Soon, the thoughts in our minds become our beliefs, and our beliefs turn into actions. Our actions direct the results of this scenario and you can follow the storyline. The results are not pretty. You find yourself in an argument over something as simple as trash.
My husband and I have been married for almost 18 years. We are no stranger to this scenario; however, we have grown and matured to realize that as we draw closer to God, we draw closer to each other. Our outlook and our actions reflect more of Christ and so does how we see people. Our expectations of others never lowers, but our grace has grown. We look at hearts.
As I looked at the trash on the back deck that Saturday, I wondered why my husband had missed my "womanly way" of saying, "Please take out the trash." So I took a peek outside before ringing the dinner bell and saw the hubby busying himself with repairing a rabbit waterer. He stepped inside shortly after having finished feeding the farm animals and smiled at the trash.
A word was not spoken about the trash that day, I saw my hubby's heart. He was on a mission to feed and repair the animal area without a glance at the trash on his way out. Our wordless exchange and grace for one another made for a peaceful start to our day. There will still be days where I falter and fail at seeing my hubby through God's eyes; however, I am thankful my husband has grace for me on those days as I humbly apologize for my short temper. We are all human, striving for excellence, falling short, and relying on the Father to get us to our destinations. May we all reflect Him more each day.
*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor a therapist. I am a licensed teacher, former marriage small group leader, and mother of four children. The information given above is strictly my own opinions and life experiences. If you have questions and concerns about your marriage, you should address these with a licensed counselor.