There are times when Nanand I tussle over the contents of this blog. I always give her editorial privilege, meaning she can critique my first draft. She will often say that my delivery is too stringent (or too vague). I just think I am speaking the truth in love. She thinks the love part is a bit too obscure. But she knows my heart and I know hers, so I only register a slight disappointment that she didn’t send up fireworks the first time around.
How we deal with disappointment is a sure sign of our emotional maturity level.
If we can take disappointing news in stride, we are probably operating at a pretty high level of maturity. If on the other hand we pitch a fit like a four-year-old when we encounter an obstacle, well, we are probably operating at that emotional level. And no one wants to be in a relationship with an immature partner. It gets old really fast. High drama = low maturity.
What kinds of disappointments might we face in marriage?
- When a spouse doesn’t want us to spend money
- When a spouse turns us down for sex
- When a spouse doesn’t meet our emotional expectations
- When a spouse doesn’t remember times, dates, and promises
- When a spouse doesn’t want to be as social as we do
- When a spouse doesn’t hold the same priorities
- And so many other instances that frustrate and challenge our emotional balance
There is another side to this as well. How are you at accepting other people’s disappointments? I often ask a counselee if they are able to let their partner be disappointed and not try to fix everything, especially if their partner needs to adjust to reality of some sort. Nan is always disappointed when I don’t go along with everything that she desires. But that doesn’t mean that I am necessarily wrong and need to fix it. Sometimes I just have to let her have time to accept my decision. And the same goes for me, too.
I’ve noticed that many people will act much better when faced with disappointments at their jobs. They hold it together probably because creating a scene in public is humiliating. But those same people might not show restraint at home where the stakes are arguably higher and longer lasting.
I have empathy for people’s disappointments (most of the time), especially when they are being denied good things that have been earned or are reasonable, or having to suffer for bad situations that they did not cause. That is why we need a close, connected relationship with God. So we have a place to turn to in those tough moments.
Psalm 34:18 (NLT) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.