Many people live with disappointment.
In particular, many people live with disappointment in marriage. I am not just referring to people whose spouses seem to have no real interest in the marriage or who have had affairs. This behavior on the part of a spouse was not expected before marriage and is now so disappointing
and disheartening. Right now, I am thinking of a more pervasive disappointment. I am referring to a disappointment that is much more widespread. Life — marriage in particular — just isn’t going the way this couple envisioned it.
We are breathing a cultural air that suggests that one ought to have it all — right now! In fact, real living is to experience a "high" most of the time. This thinking suggests that if the "high" is not present then something is wrong.
The truth is that there are great highs in marriage. And — many, many people experience some lows. Most of the time, however, a couple experiences something in between. (I am not defining "in-between" as "boring" or "so-so." I’m just saying that many, many couples will tell you that they generally are not on a high all the time.) Many married people, however, practically demand that the "high" be almost constant in their marriage.
This husband or wife may begin to pressure one another to fix the situation. In fact, they may look at one another not as the object of their love relationship but the source of their unhappiness. ("If you would only get it together, then I would finally be happy.") Then, the other person may dig in his heels and after a while, a cloud of bitterness and judgment permeates this home. Meanwhile, it is very easy to compare this spouse with some guy/woman at the office. With such a comparison, the spouse only seems more disappointing.
Some married people get focused on their disappointment in the sex in their marriage. We live in a sexually charged culture. On billboards, in magazine ads, and on television are all of these wonderful looking people. This climate has a way of impacting our expectations. Yet, what so often happens is that two very tired and exhausted married people come home and they may be doing well just to get through the evening. One child needs help with his math homework while the other two are in a fight in their bedroom. Finally it is time for bed. This couple is exhausted!
Compound all of this with pornography. Maybe a man is looking at pornography on the Internet, night after night. Does that ever impact expectations! Pornography is a playground of lies. It has a way of feeding disappointment. Meanwhile, it encourages a man to take short-cuts and to focus on a perfect figure on his screen instead of loving his wife. As a result, their love does not mature and remains stuck in his immaturity (fixated on porn).
Bottom line? Grounding a marriage in cultural expectations will usually bring disappointment. Jesus is the only one who doesn’t disappoint. I must never expect my spouse to provide for me what only he can provide. Meanwhile, I believe married people can experience real joy without expecting perpetual highs.