My mentor, Doris, has the uncanny ability to cut through my theatrics to the core of my part in all that frustrates me. This particular Thursday, I had just finished a passionate and rather dramatic oration of my emotional disappointment with an unmet expectation I have of my husband. I didn’t expect her to side with or pity me. I know when I tell her something she’ll help me see what I can’t, and that’s why I keep going back. I need that!

When I finally rested my hands back in my lap and relaxed back into my chair, she gently but unapologetically asked:

“Who is your real husband?”

Like the first grader in Sunday School, I knew the answer had to be Jesus. It always is, right?

“Jesus?” I said impishly, a question on my face even as we both knew that really is the answer.

But in my heart, I knew I wasn’t living that truth.

“Maybe we need to take this to the Lord,” she suggested. “James can’t be your real husband.”

I knew she was right, and I knew I had my next assignment.

It took me five days, but one morning, I took my heart and marriage to the Lord and prayed:

Lord, what Doris said Thursday about Jesus being my husband. Will You teach me what that means and draw me into such an intimate relationship with Jesus that He is my husband and James can be released from the pressure and expectation he doesn’t have the capacity to meet? What’s my part in the marriage and when do I just turn to You?

“Turn to Me for it all,” He answered.

Then what do I do with him?

“Just love him. Expect nothing. Love always.”

It’s in the expectations, isn’t it? Disappointment is inherent with expectation.

“Release him from expectation and be free of disappointment.”

So, Father, if I put all my expectation in Jesus as my husband, then I look to Him to be my…

Provider

Protector

Counselor

Friend

Confident

Lover

Listener

Cheer leader

Mentor

Companion

Best friend

Buddy

Compass

Sounding board

Boss

Planner

Decision maker

Guidance giver

Voice of reason

Voice of wisdom

Voice of permission

Sound thinker

Cool head

Vision caster

Spiritual leader

Anticipator

Preparer

Gentleman

Pursuer/wooer

Romantic

Helper

Supporter

Revealer

Reader

Undivided

Undistracted

Adorer

Fan

These are all the things I want James to be or do. No wonder I’m disappointed!

Jesus, I long for all of this and I’ve been turning to James and not You. To whatever extent You intend when You say You are the bridegroom preparing His bride, I want to be Your bride, Jesus, and to know You as my husband. I release James. Lord, teach me how to let go and just love, arms nailed to my cross, feet anchored. Unmovable.

The thing is, James is wonderful, but He’s not Jesus, and never will be.

And the Lord spoke this truth to my heart:

“Shauna, you’re trying to pull from James. He doesn’t have what you need. I do. When you try to get from him what he doesn’t have to give, it’s leaving you empty, and you have nothing to give him. Pull from Me and pour My love out to James. Don’t worry about him. I’ll do that. You just pull from Me and pour into James.”

I am finding that as I turn to Jesus for that ridiculously long list, it lets James off the hook. As I trust Jesus, I am able to communicate with James. As I turn to Jesus to satisfy the deep longings of my soul, I am able to love and serve and pour into James what he needs from me.

That doesn’t mean James doesn’t have a biblical responsibility to be the husband God wants him to be to me. He does. And it doesn’t mean that his doing so isn’t just as important as my being the wife the Bible requires me to be. It just means I don’t get to make him or hold it against him when he isn’t. That’s God’s job, and when Jesus is my everything and I lean on Him to meet my needs, I am free to love James regardless of what he does or doesn’t do.

I know of a lot of marriages in dry or frustrating seasons right now. Perhaps this is a lesson for all of us as wives.

So I would ask you: Who’s your real husband?

Let it be Jesus.

Pull from Him and pour out His love to your husband.

 {See this and other great blog posts at Monday Musings!}