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Purpose: Disappointment can easily come by and disintegrate the little hope we have along with our marriages. Handling Disappointment in Marriages gives us insight into how to properly use our Hope List (from a previous lesson) and find the power of enduring hope through Abraham's example. This is part 5 of 6 of Restoring Hope in Marriage which in turn is part of Building a Great Marriage.
Many of us have expectations of grand things that will occur in our marriages.
In most cases these hopes reflect good things that the Lord wants to develop through our married lives together. We also, however, become aware of other hopes that we only discover later in our marriages. These hopes and expectations become our goals.
When they concur with God’s Word, we can be sure they are God’s goals for our lives too. The beginning of restoration in our marriages starts when we begin to see what God has planned for our marriages.
Disappointment over our expectations leads to frustrations and doubts. Sometimes we question our spouse’s motives and at other times we might even doubt God’s purpose. We might think, for example, that God has forgotten us. Indeed He hasn’t, but it is easy to fall to this temptation when we do not properly handle disappointment.
By now we should have started working on a list of areas in which we lack hope in our marriages. We have given up hope on improvement on some aspect of or marriage. Our job will be to carefully weigh our ideals in light of God’s goals for our marriages. We want to again look to Him for a great marriage, not just a mediocre one.
Let’s discuss what we can do with that ‘Hope List’ in the coming days.
Don’t talk right away about your list of how your marriage could be better. It is not meant to be a list on how bad your spouse has been! To be honest, some of you might never have an opportunity to share this list with your spouse.
When you have fallen into the temptation of giving up, you need to confess your sin to God. God does not want you to doubt His good plan. Early on you might find other areas of sin in your life that you might confess. Remember sin discourages us from obtaining God’s design.
Ask the Lord to restore hope to the areas that you have given up hope. It might be something so simple as your husband expressing his gratefulness for your hard work. Or it could be the ability to live with your selfish spouse in love and kindness. It could also have to do with sexual intimacy.
Give God the opportunity to answer your prayer in His time and way. We do this by telling Him and yourselves what you want, why you think your marriage should have those things, and a willingness to do what is needed for it to be done including waiting a long time. Wives must not nag, hint or manipulate to get what they wish. Husbands must refuse to commandeer their wives into what they want.
It is natural to want to share your list with your spouse. If your spouse asks to hear your list, then you are free to share it with him or her. If he or she does not ask, then just keep it between you and God. Remember you ‘two,’ God and you, are a team working together in hope. Each day you will seek Him for these things and watch how He begins to accomplish this work.
God is a God of miracles.
Even in the most desperate situations, God can build beautiful and wonderful marriages.
Hope is a seed of faith. We are expressing trust in God to work out what is great and wonderful. Hold on to your hope. Think of building your great marriage as a lifelong process. We must learn to cherish not only the end goal but also the process of drawing closer to God and our spouse.
As you hold onto God and His promises, He surprises us as He breaks through and reveals what is necessary to overcome certain obstacles.
Our hopes are things that we believe should be. It was like Abraham. God spoke to him about having a son of promise. What happened? That son didn’t arrive until he was 99 years old! I believe that because Abraham gave up his wife twice to other men that God needed to chastise him.
God knew of His promise. The promise was still real but something had to change in Abraham’s life before he was to find it fulfilled. God did not want a bad example for his son. In one sense it is fruitless to discuss why Abraham had to wait so long. This is the way life turned out for him.
Perhaps it could have been shortened if he he had made some positive changes earlier on. He obviously did not see the connection between his sin and the lack of a child. He needed lots of time to change, and God gave it to him.
The great thing about Abraham is that he kept his faith in God that He would keep His promise. And in time God fulfilled His promise. His hope was greatly rewarded through the birth of Isaac and his descendants. The descendants of Isaac are still seen in the nation of Israel.
We do not always understand why our marriages do not more quickly improve. We should not be so quick to blame our partner. More often than not there is something from both sides that is malfunctioning.
Our hope enables us to open our heart to God to bring us to higher standards in our marriage but in our own lives too! Hopefully it will happen before we reach 99 years old like Abraham! The most powerful hope verses in the scriptures are in Romans 4:18-21. They describe Abraham’s persistent hope.
“In hope against hope he believed, in order that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” And without becoming weak in faith, he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.”
￼Behind this whole process is the assumption that God really wants to improve our marriages. He Himself works with us as He completes the restoration process. We should never forget the means God uses.
The areas that we have already been blessed in are hopes fulfilled. Some wives take it for granted that their husbands seriously care for the needs of their home. They shouldn’t. I can point out many men who spend their income on gambling or drugs.
Husbands, on the other hand, should not forget that God has already been working when he sees his wife faithfully cook meals for him and the family. This is becoming more and more rare as wives are influenced by the modern culture and live independent lives from their husbands.
Developing great marriages is a process. Each stage can be exciting and fun even though trials lurk around every corner.
God desires to do many great things through your lives. Open the door of your heart and welcome Him into your marriage. Hope sets us on the right path leading to His wonderful work of love and power in our personal lives and our marriages.