Great Expectations

My husband knows what it means to prepare. As a soldier in the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, his days are filled with rehearsals. Every funeral, retirement or diplomatic ceremony requires precision. No matter how many similar events his company has accomplished, he will take them through the paces again and again every time.

In previous military assignments, he has taken his soldiers into combat. He always plans for the unexpected. Because he is so thoroughly prepared, even the worst situations don’t rattle him. He is sure of his operation, he knows what is expected and he is committed to accomplishing his mission at all costs.

We’re often told not to have expectations going into marriage. They’ll lead to disappointment, we’re warned. But sharing our expectations can lead to discovery, change and growth. It’s more realistic to expect to have expectations and prepare for them.

Start thinking like a couple—What will he say the first time you come home with a new purse? Is he likely to invite friends over on the spur of the moment? Does he like to relax at home on the weekends while you dream of going to new places and sharing hobbies? Does her family make a big deal about birthdays while you only plan to buy her a card?

Know your operation: marriage. From the moment you say, “I do,” God has declared you one. Then begins the process of learning how to live as one.

Understand that your mate has never walked a mile in your shoes; now you’re wearing the same pair. Prepare for them to be either a snug fit or way to big. Understand that there will be growing pains. Many couples have their first disagreement on the honeymoon. Expect the down days and they won’t be a cause for fear.

Know what is expected. Talk to your mate about what they expect in marriage. Don’t just discuss the big things. Most colossal arguments start over the smallest things. Think practically: Does he expect a five course meal every night? Does she expect to use a budget?

Be committed to accomplishing the mission at all costs. In the heat of battle, there’s no way out for the soldier. Expect the dark days, plan for them. Realize your spouse will have expectations too. And above all else, remember you’re on the same side.

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith,and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Hebrews 10:36-39).


Abby Kelly is a blogger, personal trainer, partner in Moms Who TRI, a journaler and a dog owner. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her military officer husband. She writes on cultural, personal and relational lies that destroy women's lives and seeks to share the truth, hope and love of Jesus Christ.

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