You’ve no doubt shopped for a card for your spouse and read something like, “You light up my world. You’re my everything. You are my every dream come true.” It sounds sweet and I understand the intentions. But your wife is not your everything. Your husband isn’t your every dream come true. Spouses don’t always light up the world. The cards and song lyrics and movies are lying. And let’s face it—expecting your spouse to be all these things would actually hurt your relationship.
The world tells you these lies are OK. But they aren’t. You need to see the lies about your spouse for what they are—lies. You shouldn’t have exaggerated expectations and unrealistic ideas about what your spouse should be. It’s too much pressure. It sets your marriage up for failure. You must get crystal clear on what your spouse is and what your spouse is not. Let’s talk about 3 things your spouse is not.
1. Your spouse is not your soulmate.
Despite what the world tells you, your husband or your wife is not your soulmate. I understand—the idea is romantic. It’s way less romantic to say, “We’re two imperfect people trying our best.” But at the core, this statement is closer to the truth than your spouse being your soulmate. When we think our spouses are soulmates, we’re believing we’re married by chance rather than by choice. But I chose Susan. That’s romantic. Chance or fate or situational circumstances don’t make choosing your spouse some deeper, more romantic, more valued relationship.
How you think about your spouse affects how you treat your spouse. Instead of looking to your spouse as your soulmate, see your spouse a person God has called you to love unconditionally. Your spouse is someone to serve and for whom to sacrifice. What’s more romantic than that? Understanding this helps me live as the spouse I’m called to be.
2. Your spouse is not who completes you.
Just as your husband or your wife is not your soulmate, your spouse also doesn’t, and shouldn’t, complete you. If you need your spouse to complete you, then the logical conclusion is that you aren’t a whole person. This isn’t healthy. Your marriage and your spouse should be great. Both should hold a great place in your life. But humans are flawed. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, your wife is not perfect, your husband is not perfect.
My point is that this kind of thinking is dangerous. It sets up a flawed, transactional system where you are seeking to get something from your spouse. Marriage takes two complete people working together, both giving 100 percent. Seek to make your marriage a true partnership that requires both of you to serve and sacrifice for one another.
3. Your spouse is not supposed to make you happy.
Your spouse should not make you miserable, but it’s not up to your spouse to make you happy either. Your spouse will make mistakes. Your spouse will let you down. This is what it means to live “for better or worse.” It’s not sustainable to look to your spouse for your happiness. What happens when your spouse doesn’t make you happy? Will your love ebb and flow based on your feelings? It’s better to base your marriage on more meaningful things.
Your spouse should not make you miserable, but it’s not up to your spouse to make you happy either.
Consider basing your marriage on the commitment you made, the calling you both have to each other, and the consistent effort this commitment requires. Feelings act as a great barometer to gauge our thoughts, but when we no longer want to do something, discipline should kick in so we’ll do the tough thing anyway. You’re asking too much from your spouse if you’re asking your spouse to make you happy. Instead, think less about your happiness and more about your effort to love him or her. When you do so, your spouse will be happier and you, in turn, will be too.
What would you tell newlyweds to prepare them to choose to love each other when someday, choosing it doesn’t feel easy? Share in a comment below.