Not Your Superwoman!
By Leslie J. Barner
Superheroes fascinate my grandson. He often shoots imaginary webs from his wrists like Spiderman. Or wields his plastic hammer like Thor.
There’s a reason kids admire superheroes. With their special powers and superhuman strength, they have the ability to always save the day no matter the danger or threat.
My son-in-law, Chris, won’t miss a Marvel movie. Like many adults, he’s an avid fan. It’s made me wonder: Do we sometimes have super-expectations of our spouses?
Sure, some of us are just muscling through daily disappointments and significant hurts in marriage from all-too-human spouses. But for others of us: Do you always expect your spouse to be strong? Does it hurt whenever you witness a weakness? Do you expect them to regularly save the day?
I’ve had these unrealistic expectations of my husband, Aubrey. And I recently realized that it goes both ways.
As I’m faced with a life-changing decision, health issues, and work-related challenges, Aubrey has seen me waver between strong, sure, and optimistic, to down, uncertain, and pessimistic.
Normal feelings, yes. But my myriad of emotions have taken a toll on him.
He wants so much for me to be happy, healthy, and at peace. Like rooting for Superman to recover from kryptonite, Aubrey really wants me to snap out of it, think positive, feel better, and trust the Lord. I’ve wanted the same of him in hard times.
Our intentions are good. But no husband or wife is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
On days when they’re tired, depressed, negligent, or wrestling with uncertainty, our trust remains solidly in our unfailing Superhero, who’s steadfast and in control.
Allow your spouse freedom to process in his or her own way and time. And as their biggest fan, root for them by being a listening ear, a hopeful encourager, a wise advisor, a helping hand, and the one they can count on to love patiently and unconditionally through it all.
The good stuff: And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
Action points: Imagine your spouse was a superhero. Tell him or her which superhero they would be. (Even if it’s one you made up.) What superpowers do they possess? In what ways have you seen them save the day? How does it make you feel when they are weakened by fatigue, an illness, or a trial? Then talk about the real dangers of viewing each other as superheroes. Without judgment, identify together any unrealistic views, actions, or expectations you have of each other that need to change to truly love each other patiently and unconditionally.
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