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Common Obstacles of Marriage: Expectations, Demands, and Control Issues

by Angie Lewis  
11/02/2007 / Marriage

Marriage is a learning and growth process, no doubt about it. But some of us never learn by it. If we do not learn how to get along with our spouse the first time around, what makes us think the second time around will be any different? The second time around may not have the same issues and circumstances but it will have trials just like the first time. I say, stick it out so there won't be a second time.

Many couples who have spared themselves of divorce have gone through some pain and suffering in the process, but have learned and been rewarded with what it takes to get along with the person they married. For instance, many of us did marry young and maybe we were just too darn selfish to get along with someone else on a continual basis. But after being married for ten or more years we learned to grow out of that selfishness into a giving and sharing person, able to understand what commitment in marriage really is.

I often encourage couples to adhere to the commitment of marriage by attempting to work on their problems without having such big expectations of each other. Marital problems can be totally eradicated when we stop trying to take control of every aspect of the issues at hand and just let them go. Restoring marriage does take change but that change does not happen for each other, but for what we do for ourselves.

One of the biggest obstacles of any marriage is when couples have grandiose expectations of each other, and when those expectations get crushed, disappointment sets in, and we begin to think that maybe we married the wrong person. Unmet expectations will always disappoint us, so it is always best to not have expectations to begin with.

Nothing in this life is certain except our own faith and trust in God, and as we grow in God's Word we learn to stop having such high expectations of others because we realize it is out of our control to do so.

Another obstacle in marriage is when couples become demanding of one another. A wife or husband may not realize that nagging and complaining is demanding. It puts a lot of pressure on a spouse to be a certain way for the other. And what if they do not, or cannot perform in the way you THINK they should? We should never demand perfection, or expect our spouse to be a certain way, or behave a certain way, in the end it is a losing battle. What does work is to ask for what we need and want without placing demands or expectations.

The last obstacle ties into the first two, and that is the big control issue that afflicts many marriages today. Why are you trying to control your spouse? What do you really gain from being bossy and controlling? A marriage does not profit from couples who are constantly trying to control each other. Controlling and manipulative behaviors is detrimental to the marriage.

Many wives and husbands consider controlling behavior as emotional abuse. And it is, without a doubt. Is it any wonder why some couples seek emotional support outside the bounds of their marriage? Of course infidelity is never right, but it becomes more tempting when spouses are not respecting one another in the ways they should be.

A controlling and demanding spouse only needs to learn to give up their way for an amicable collaboration, instead of the marriage only being what they want and need. Grandiose expectations, wishy-washy demands, and control power issues are all selfish behavior. I believe it is time to grow out from the selfishness and become the husband or wife that God intends for you to be. It is never too late.

(Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)

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