4 Things You CANNOT Expect Your Spouse to Do for You

4 Things You CANNOT Expect Your Spouse to Do for You October 14, 2015


When we marry, we come to the table with a lot of expectations; some are obvious and accompany our vows, while others are completely unrealistic and even unhealthy.  If our expectations for our spouse are out of bounds, then more often than not, he/she is bound to disappoint us.

Unrealistic expectations can lead to a whole host of marital problems, so it is imperative that we take an assessment.  Here are some unhealthy expectations or things we CANNOT expect our spouse to do for us:


1.  We can’t expect our spouse to be just like our Mom or Dad.

When Dave and I got married, I made an assumption that caused a huge misunderstanding in my first year of marriage.  My dad is the handiest person I know, like most of the men in his family.  All the men on my mom’s side of the family knew their way around a tool shed as well.  So, naturally, I assumed that ALL men were handy.  Then, I married Dave and we decided to purchase a 100 year-old home and renovated it in our first year of marriage.  Ahem.  Not our greatest choice (and Dave would say “Amen” to that statement).  Needless to say, I quickly found out that handiness is not always part of the “Y” chromosome.  It’s a gift, like other personal strengths.

Dave is seriously the most talented person I know on the face of the Earth.  He’s just not handy.  He’s not my dad.  Both men are amazing.  Both are extremely gifted.  They are simply different.

When we get married, we both come to the table with different childhood experiences.  These experiences form our expectations and general assumptions.  We can’t expect our spouse to be just like our mom and dad.  He/she might have some similar attributes, but he/she is NOT our parent.

Dave’s mom is seriously the sweetest woman I know.  She has a very sweet, calm talking voice, and she is an amazing cook.  In the first years of our marriage, I would occasionally apologize to Dave for not being just like his mom.  Dave would just smile and tell me that he loved his mom for who she is and me for who I am.  He didn’t want us to be just alike.

Friends, we don’t marry a clone of our mom or dad.  If we maintain this expectation, we are only setting ourselves up for disappointments, arguments, and fractured relationships with in-laws.  Let’s embrace our spouse for who he/she IS…not who he/she COULD BE.

2.  We can’t expect to treat our spouse like a child.

This may sound crazy to some of you, but this is more common than you think.  Sometimes, relationships can fall into a “parent-child” existence.  This is extremely unhealthy in a marriage.  We may not even realize we are doing it.  Here are a few signs:

We won’t let our spouse leave the house until we inspect his/her clothes, or we insist on picking the clothes out for him/her.

We give him/her a monetary allowance and/or refuse to let him/her see the bank statements.

We verbally correct our spouse like we would our children.  

We get angry at our spouse when he/she makes personal decisions on his/her own.

Obviously, treating our spouse like our child comes down to a control issue.  We need to ask ourselves why we have fallen into this cycle, and we need to stop it immediately.  This will most certainly lead to a broken marriage when left unchecked.  A couple who is dealing with this would benefit from marriage counseling and must learn to communicate in a healthy way.  For more on how we should communicate with our spouse, check out “4 Simple Phrases that Keep a Marriage Going Strong”.

3.  We can’t expect our spouse to read our mind.

This is a BIG one.  Yes, we probably know our spouse better than anyone else on the planet, but that doesn’t mean he/she can read our mind.  We need to use words to get our point across – not just nonverbal communication.  We need to be aware of what our body language, eye rolls, and shoulder shrugs are saying to our spouse, but we should NEVER depend on those to do the speaking for us.  Take time each day to really talk – with words – to one another.  For more details on this, please read “The Biggest Mistake Women Make in Marriage” (this one applies to men as well).

4.  We can’t expect our spouse to be our reason for living.

I love my husband more than any other person in this world, but he is not my reason for living.  He couldn’t possibly fulfill that purpose.  And, I can’t do this for him either.  Only God can.  For more on this, be sure to read “My husband doesn’t complete me, and I will tell you why”.


It is unfair and unfruitful to find a reason for living in anything else but God.  We will be let down every time because human beings are fickle. We have mood swings.  We have good days and bad days.  Psalm 73:26 says, 


My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength[a] of my heart and my portion forever.


God is consistent.  He loves us on our best days and worst days.  He is our creator. His Son, Jesus, is our Savior when we accept Him and follow Him.

God created our lives for a purpose.  Therefore, we must look to HIM for our purpose.  He is our reason for living.  

I love how the Apostle Paul so beautifully states this truth in Ephesians 2:10:   


For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


I pray that we all can assess the expectations we have for our spouse and do our very best to get rid of the unhealthy ones.

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