Unrealistic expectations have the potential to destroy our relationships if we let them. This is particularly true with marriages. In our marriages, many of us operate under the mindset that they will be just like the marriages in our favorite movies or books. This mindset leads to shock and disappointment when our marriages are nothing like the marriages we see in our favorite books or movies. Ultimately, this shock and disappointment will leave us dissatisfied and unhappy. Today, we are going to talk about unrealistic expectations and learn ways to trade in these unrealistic expectations and have healthy, growing marriages.
When was a time you were disappointed because of unrealistic expectations?
1. If you are married, what was your expectation of marriage before you were married? If you are single, what is your expectation of marriage?
2. Which expectations of marriage that you have are unrealistic? Which expectations are realistic?
3. Read Romans 15:7-9. How has God accepted you? How should this acceptance affect the way you treat your spouse and anyone you come into contact with?
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:
“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing the praises of your name.”
4. Does your spouse (or loved ones) know that they are accepted by you for who they are today? Why or why not?
5. Read Psalms 103:6-12. Do you forgive quickly, or do you hold a grudge? Why or why not?
The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
6. How should God's forgiveness impact your relationships?
7. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another. How are you doing as an encourager for your spouse?
This weekend during the service, we talked about five different ways to improve our marriages:
1. Showing acceptance to our spouse
2. Giving attention to our spouse
3. Offering forgiveness to our spouse
4. Encouraging our spouse
5. Showing affection to our spouse
If you are married, what one area can you work on today to improve your marriage? What is one action step you can take to improve that area this week? Tell the group. If you are single, evaluate your relationships. What can you do this week to be a better family member, friend, and acquaintance to the people around you? What action step can you take this week to improve in these relationships? Tell the group. After everyone has shared, pray for each other and your relationships.
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Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.