February 1, 2009
By Ruth Bell Graham
Pity the married couple that expects too much from one another. I read my old premarriage love poems with a bit of amusement. I wrote them so earnestly—meaning every word—and lived to find them really unfair.
It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be: always ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need and making more than adequate provision. Such expectations put a man under an impossible strain.
The same goes for the man who expects too much from his wife.
Since the Christian’s point of reference is the Bible, it’s a happy couple who look there for guidance. We women learn from the Bible that God created us to be a “help meet” for our husbands (Genesis 2:18). And Christian husbands have a tremendous responsibility.
They are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25).
We have often said we would not choose to go back to some of those early days of our marriage. Too often, early love is a mirage built on daydreams. Love deepens with understanding, and varying viewpoints expand and challenge one another. Those who abandon ship the first time it enters a storm miss the calm beyond. And the rougher the storms weathered together, the deeper and stronger real love grows.