Last week we opened up our new No More Perfect Date Night Community and then we spent this past weekend with about 2700 women at the Illinois Hearts at Home conference. It was a full week and a great weekend but it will take us both about a week to recover! We’re grateful that Jerusha Clark wanted to share with you about her expectations of the No More Perfect Marriages book and how it ended up changing her expectations in marriage.

Jerusha Clark is the author or co-author of twelve books, including Your Teenager is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen’s Brain Can Make You a Better Parent and When I Get Married: Surrendering the Fantasy, Embracing the Reality.  Her book Every Piece of Me: Shattering Toxic Beliefs and Learning to Love the Real You hits bookshelves in August.


“Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

“I do.”

“Do you expect him to know what you need and think without having to ask, hold you close when you’re hurting without hoping it will lead to sex, and always put the silverware in the dishwasher the right way?”

“I do.”

Wait.  Hold on.  This is not how my vows sounded nineteen years ago.  But let me tell you: though I didn’t know it at the time, all of this was definitely in my heart.

Expectations…Our marriages live and die by them.  And if I’m perfectly honest, a lot of my expectations have been, for lack of a better phrase, completely impossible.

When I read Mark and Jill’s latest book, No More Perfect Marriages, my marriage was in a healthy place.  I read the book because I love and appreciate Jill, not because I thought I “desperately needed” it.   But as He so often does, God showed me how very wrong I was; I needed to reevaluate my expectations and align them more intentionally with His truth and grace.  No More Perfect Marriages helped me do that.

At the very beginning of the book, Mark and Jill reveal the truth that most of us (and I am certainly in this camp) compare the inside of our marriage to the outside of others’.  When I evaluate the health of my relationship by looking at what my friends—or even random strangers and celebrities—are posting, “liking,” or hashtagging, I’m headed for disaster.

Disaster?  Really?  Isn’t that a bit extreme?

No, my friend; it’s not.

Disaster comes to us in many forms, but the Savages make clear that it’s the slow fades that threaten our marriages most: “It’s the nature of relationships,” they write, “we naturally pull apart unless we work to stay together.”  I don’t usually intend to separate myself; I just allow the different ways my husband and I love, and the hurt that can result, to drive us a little further apart.  You and I don’t often determine to undermine our own happiness, but we open the door to distance and disillusionment by—as the Savages put it—“remembering what we need to forget and forgetting what we need to remember.”  That quote literally stopped me in my reading tracks.  How true that is!

I’m so grateful to Jill and Mark for pointing out the “soul mirages” that even good Christian boys and girls fall prey to, lies that entrap us as we repeat them to ourselves over and over.  Most of my soul mirages have to do with expectations—expectations that I may or may not ever have verbalized, expectations that I often don’t even recognize are there until they’re disappointed in some way.

My husband is an incredible man.  He’s a godly man.  I know that not everyone reading this blog can say that about their spouse.  Even being married to a really fantastic guy doesn’t make my marriage bulletproof, though.  Exposing lies, deliberately living in Truth, and choosing Love again and again makes my marriage strong.  Like Jill and Mark point out, “love isn’t just a choice; it’s a series of choices.”  So good!  So true!!  I need to remember this and expect this every day.

Perhaps you noticed that I capitalized Truth and Love in that last paragraph.  I did so because both truth and love only and always come from Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith and the cornerstone of our marriages.  The Savages are convinced—and I am, too—that with God’s grace and through the power of His Spirit, hurting marriages can heal and good marriages can become great.  Whether you’re struggling with your spouse today or feeling strong and secure in your relationship, I urge you to read No More Perfect Marriages

Honestly, what do you have to lose?  Except maybe a few unhealthy expectations…


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