Great Expectations

Jeff had a day off today, so we did what any hot-blooded American couple would do for quality time: We went to Wal-Mart. I realize that grocery shopping is rapidly becoming the number one date night for suburban couples, but at nine a.m. on a Monday our fellow shoppers consisted mostly of mothers with preschoolers. This made for an interesting shopping experience with said husband, because I kept running into people I know.

My beloved is not typically known for his patience. But today was quite enlightening. He actually seemed to enjoy sauntering along, not looking for anything in particular. He held back as I chatted with friends, gazing on with a slightly bemused smile on his face. As I cooed to baby friends and conversed with little girls on banana telephones, he quietly occupied himself at the meat counter. No huffy silences or strange puffs of air from his lips. No examining the watch or restless motions. At one point, as he was examining an overlarge wall clock (made in China, of course. Please don’t tell Donald I was there!) I was stricken.

When did you change? I found myself thinking. Or is it me? Have I changed that much?

Somewhere along the way we’ve managed to come full circle. We have arrived once again at the place where we enjoy passing time together.

I’m not talking about doing things together. Jeff and I have always done a lot together. Passing the time is completely different. It has no agenda. No expectations. It just is.

In the beginning, in the “getting-to-know-each-other phase”, passing the time is the biggest part of it. But then instead of passing the time, we began spending the time. Any time there is an expenditure, the expectation is that something tangible will be gained. And so we grew to expect certain things from our time together. Predictability can be sweetly comforting but, oftentimes, it is the very comfort it brings that keeps us from developing deeply intimate relationships.

So here I am, staring at my husband in the women’s underwear section of Wal-Mart. He is relaxed and unhurried. He seems to feel unaffected surrounded by bras and thong-style underwear (not my cup of tea, by the way).

Is it the simple passing of time that has brought us back to this precious place? Or is there something more?

Of course you know my answer.

I have shared the story of my husband’s spiritual awakening. My Dearest has changed significantly since he accepted Christ only two short years ago. But to be fair, I must say that I changed first. When I stopped demanding that he be what I thought he should be, it finally became quiet enough for my husband to hear the voice of God. I gave up my expectations.

Although God is unchanging, He is anything but predictable. Since He has been at the center of our marriage, each day is fresh and new.

Although the many years of waiting for God to catch my husband were difficult, I am thankful now for His perfect timing. Jeff and I do not take our spiritual lives for granted precisely because of these long years of waiting and preparation. We cherish this new thing we share.

Friend, I ask you to do perhaps one of the most difficult things you may ever do: look inside yourself. What expectations have you placed on those you love? What expectations have you placed on God? Can you let them go? Can you give them to Him? He wants to do so much more. Do not let your expectations limit Him. Do not them limit those that you love. Free them from those chains.

There is simple joy in the passing of time when we let go of our expectations. And joy is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”—Eph. 3:20-21

He never stops giving the Gifts:
17. Passing the time with my husband.
18. Contemporary Worship
19. Bloggy friends
20. Splashes of pinky-purple redbud trees all over the West Virginia hillsides


Comments

  1. says

    Hi Laura!
    This was beautiful! I loved when you wrote this:
    “When I stopped demanding that he be what I thought he should be, it finally became quiet enough for my husband to hear the voice of God.”
    I really love that line! How true!!!
    Thank you so much for the sweet comments you have left on my blog regarding my daughter & her new baby. This has been an incredible journey…a very bittersweet beautiful one indeed. God really knows what He’s doing, doesn’t He?
    Blessed to be your friend,
    Lelia

  2. says

    Laura,
    I loved something you wrote in this post so much I added something to my blog on my sidebar…check it out when you have a moment since you are my “first” one on there. 🙂
    Blessings,
    Lelia

  3. says

    Hi Laura,

    I love this post…My husband and I also “date” at Wal-Mart….and we have a marriage story very similar to your own. Thanks for sharing this today.:) I ditto what Lelia said, that was my favorite line as well.:)

    God Bless,
    Amy:)

  4. says

    Laura,
    I remember reading your post about your husband coming to know the Lord. It’s amazing what He will do when we step out of the way, huh? I am so thankful for what God is doing in your life. I was thinking about the timing and I’m so glad he accepted the Lord while your children are young.
    We avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible…just because it’s always so crowded, but that’s where we always go together when we get low on my favorite coffee “Chocolate Macadamia” and the toilet paper etc. that he likes to buy in bulk. 🙂 We’ll go out to eat and then to Wal-Mart.
    One year for our anniversary we went to the card section and just looked at cards together and laughed. I don’t even think we bought each other one that year.
    Laura, you are a jewel and a very gifted person. I thank God for bringing you into my life.
    I praise Him for the miracle of healing in your marriage.
    P.S. I also love the quote Lelia put on her blog from your post.
    Love,
    Valerie

  5. says

    Wal-Mart wanderers! So glad to know we are not alone! What a beautiful story about your relationship with your husband. It’s a blessing to be able to share the stories and learn from those ahead of me. Thanks for sharing!
    shanda

  6. says

    Hi Laura,
    I’m Teri and Valerie told me to stop by your blog and read about how GOD changed your marriage.
    It makes me almost cry! GOD is so awesome!
    I have a miracle marriage, as well, but it would probably take me sequels on my blog before I told it all!

    Maybe I will one day soon because just as your story blessed me, I know so many you may never even hear from will be encouraged to have faith and let GOD do the work in their lives.

    I praise HIS name for saving your marriage and blessing your family from being, as my husband once said of us, “another statistic”.

    Hope you don’t mind if I direct a family member to your site to read all of it.

    They get discouraged and sometimes GOD gives us a new perspective on what needs changing.

    Blessings,
    Teri

  7. says

    As usual dear friend another beautiful heart post.

    I found the same thing in my marriage. When I took my focus off of what my husband needed and began to focus on what Papa needed to say to my heart….things began to change for us, because as you say, when my voice was silenced, Papa’s voice could be heard more easily by David.

    I love your heart and your precious story.

    You are such a gift.

    Love to you,
    Julie

  8. says

    I couldn’t agree with you post more. I try to compliment my husband as much as I can-it builds him up emotionally, mentally and physically. We do have to get out of the way and just love and support him and just let God!
    Blessings!
    In His Graces~pamela

  9. says

    Laura, Thanks for stopping by and your sweet words. I love when you visit me.

    I am sorry you’ve had a hard time with church. I know it can be really hard.

    I know Papa is doing something in your midst, though it’s hard to see right now.

    I pray your day today was good.

    Love to you,
    Julie

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