The Just-Right Present
Melanie Chitwood

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31,32 (NLT)

Remember as a child how you hoped for that one special Christmas present? Maybe after opening some great presents, but not the just-right one, you felt a little tug on your heart as you wondered if you were going to get that present.

Me too. Just as it seemed all the presents had been opened, my parents brought out one final box. I grabbed it with eagerness. The lavish wrapping and the sounds I heard while shaking the box confirmed this had to be the one. I ripped off the paper, dug into the box, and pulled out…a very nice sweater, not the just-right Christmas gift. I smiled and said thank you, but could barely hide my disappointment.

I've noticed how my expectations of my husband can often be like my expectations over the just-right Christmas present. I think that's true for a lot of us. Just like we admired the beautiful holiday wrapping, we admire our husband's handsome exterior. We've checked him out enough to be sure that he'll be the one to make us happy. Certainly he's the just-right husband! When the gift of our husband turns out to be not just-right, not just what we expected, we can barely hide our disappointment. We turn to unhelpful coping mechanisms to deal with our disappointment.

We might try to control and manipulate our husband to become the just-right gift we hoped for. Maybe we become critical and judgmental. Or maybe we just give up, withdraw, and settle for an empty marriage. Worse yet, perhaps we grow convinced we married the wrong person.

These ways of coping will not give us the marriage God longs for us to have, a marriage of intimacy, partnership and closeness like no other. In fact, they do just the opposite. Bitterness, frustration and anger take root in our heart. Consequently, instead of feeling united and close to our husband, we experience distance and disconnection.

So what's a girl to do when she's feeling like she got the not-just-right husband? How can she handle expectations and disappointments in marriage?

We lay them down. We open our hands and release our husband from the tight grip of our expectations. We pray with honesty, "Lord, I am feeling disappointed by my husband. Help me handle this in a way that will be best for our marriage and in way that will please You."

As we seek the Lord with an open heart, He'll show us when to talk to our husband about a disappointing situation, or when to be quiet. He'll mold our heart, so we can pour out His love and acceptance to our husband.

Now, if you're like me, sometimes you think, But wait a minute! My husband really does need to change…he should be more attentive, he should help out more, he should have remembered my birthday. I don't want to live with these disappointments!

Maybe our husband should change, and maybe he will. I can promise you, however, that the Holy Spirit can do a greater work of transformation in our husband than we ever could as his wife.

This Christmas give your husband the gift of releasing him from your expectations. Give yourself the gift of a contented heart in your marriage. And give God thanks for your husband … His just-right Christmas present to you.

Dear Lord, I release my husband and my marriage from all of my expectations. As I pray with an open heart and open hands, Lord, I thank You for the gift of my husband. Help me to view him as You do, as the just-right husband for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Melanie’s blog – What Matters Most for more marriage encouragement!

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

For more marriage tips read Attack of the Killer Weeds

Application Steps:
Ask God in prayer to reveal all the expectations you have of your husband. Ask Him to reveal any disappointments you have in your marriage.

When you pray today's prayer, open your hands and imagine offering your expectations and/or disappointments to the Lord.

Take a step in love toward your husband: embrace him with a big hug or kiss when he comes home. Tell him you're so glad you married him. Many husbands will agree that the most loving thing you can do is spend a romantic evening in the bedroom.

What expectations do you have of your husband? Your marriage?

How do you handle your disappointments in marriage?

Power Verses:
1 Corinthians 13:5, Love "does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered." (NASB)

Philippians 4:11, "…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances." (NASB)

© 2009 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Ramona said...

Your right, sometimes I feel I did & then again I say "no" because I truly love him. Thank you so for sharing this with me. He is "The Just-Right Present." I will openly pray for myself as well as him to see what the Lord see's. Thanks again.
A Wife Who Cares,

Anonymous Mommy Melback said...

Great Post!!
I forget that all of the things in my life are gifts from the Lord. May not be the Just-Right gifts but gifts.

Anonymous Angela said...

This is a very timely message because I am dealing with this issue with my husband right now. Most times our marriage is filled with "i don"t". I know that my husband is a wonderful person, most times I struggle with seeing that. Thank you for sharing this devotion. I am going to pray the prayer in the devotion, as well as to pray for myself that I can see my husband as the wonderful creation that God made. Right now I am struggling with staying in my marriage.

Blogger Dionna said...

Wonderful post and so needed to hear by so many wives.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotion. It is ME! I have been so disappointed in the way my marriage has turned out and, yes, my husband. He has not been able to provide financially to the marriage. Always a low income job (with 3 kids to raise). Several lay-offs from work. A few years without work at all. Two unsuccessful attempts of obtaining college degree. I have been the main provider for the family for many years, including working two jobs. He has left me with this burden. Yes..I am truly disappointed. I trust God in sending him to me yet Sometimes struggle with understanding...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. There have been so many disappointments over the years in my marriage and this post reinforces for me that, through God, anything is possible. My husband is a good man and a good provider. He loves me, I love him and I believe he was sent to me by God. However, so much happened to him as a child and this bitterness has separated him from God. I used to think it was up to me to bring him to Christ. But, the issues are larger than me. God is so much bigger than me and I believe he will trully work a miracle in my husband's life. Thank you again for the post, it was much needed encouragement.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too am struggling in my thoughts and understanding. My husband continues to lie. I am withdrawn from him to not be a hyprocrite in my actions. Is this right? I am trying to raise 2 sons and my husband is not the Godly example they should follow. I want a miracle from God on my husband and continue making me do all the right things? I do look for the good in him. His lies, temper, irresponsiblity always rear their ugly selves. Any words of Godly wisdom so appreciated, a hurting mom and wife.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - what a great website. I just found it and will be back everyday for a devotion! I can relate already to today's words and will continue to follow!! Merry Christmas everyone!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really needed this devotion today. I could hardly believe my eyes when I started reading. I have been really struggling lately. I think I have tried to change many things about my husband, and sometimes I just let the thoughts (bitterness really) grow and that is so wrong. I prayed the prayer you wrote and I offered the wrong thoughts up to God. Even though my husband is not perfect and even though I have been hurt, if I really choose to look at him as God's gift to me I can see that the good things he has done (is doing) far outweigh any negative things. Thank you for a very timely and well written devotion. I think I need to pray everyday that God would change MY heart and then leave my husband in God's hands instead of trying to change him myself which is not my job.

Blogger Melanie said...

Hi ladies, thank you for sharing your thoughts and hearts. You know, as I was reading some about the hurts and disappointments, I just was thinking to myself, yes, there are some hard things in marriage. There are things our husbands need to change, and sometimes they do hurt us and our kids. You know ladies, this side of heaven there's a whole lot of imperfection, isn't there? I do know that I know - that everytime I trust my hard situations, if it's marriage or something else, that God brings good out of it and that is what trusting Him is all about.
Now I don't want that to sound like a CHristian cliche. It's not. THere may be tears, crying out to the Lord in anger and hurt and confusion, but there can also be trust in God in the midst of it.
God sees you and loves you and yoru husband right where you are.
So many of you said you prayed the prayer at the end of the devotion, and I would encourage you to pray that prayer every day!
Thank you again, for sharing.

Anonymous Tressa said...

I debated reading the devotion this evening. The entire day I sat at work re-reading the text messages my husband and I sent to on another. Subject-seperation. I've been married for three years to an extrodinary man. He is saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, a great father, provider, and well rounded man. However,I feel like we are stuck, well I am stuck. I feel he doesn't understand my needs, thoughts, or out cries. So, I lash out with harsh words and unpleasant behaviors. I love him, but I feel we are like two ships in the night. Missing on communcation, understanding, and more so love. I read todays devotion, and wept. I saw myself within the sentences. Frustrated with my husband and my marriage, but so aggravated by empty results, that I counted God out. I love that man, I do and I am determined to repent, release, and rebuild. I will crave todays prayer on my heart,and speak it daily from my mouth. To every woman that is struggling to remember everything that made you smile, blush, tingle, and become breathless by the man your now married to, remember the God you made promises before on the day you said, till death do us part. Know that God is Able. Don't count Him out. Don't stop Believing! I'm Not, because I know my husband is "just-right". God Bless

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - this is right on time! Yesterday, I cried in front of my husband before I left for work - I couldn't help it! He likes to cook breakfast for me, but he doesn't seem to finish by the time I leave for work. I was so conflicted between eating the rest of my food and being late (and oh how I am late so many times) and not eating it and possibly seeming ungrateful. All I could do was cry and ask myself why he couldn't finish in time. So many instances like this have happened between us, in which he does something sweet but not exactly how I would have liked it. I really want to appreciate everything that he does and show him that, so I am praying that I can let my rigid expectations go and just accept him for who he is - a wonderful, loving, Godly man! Maybe my expectations for him stem from my expectations of myself...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...what perfect timing! I am going through a "disappointing time" right now. I had to read this devotion four times so that it would really sink in. I have been withdrawn and shut down the past few days and I realize that I must change my attitude. My husband may not be Just-Right to me right now, but I sincerely know that he is everything that God intended for me to have. Thanks for this wonderful, on time, devotion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful reminder about our Just-right Present. I am too struggling in my marriage like many of the comments posted, financial burden, only provided, has not worked steady for four years, among many other issues I find myself in. But I chose this man when I was only 17 and unsafe. I am now mature, saved for 14 years mother of 4 and 6 grandchildren. Many times is not easy to pick-up the cross of All my mistake and continue walking, but I know that with Jesus and the power of the Mercy of God I can do many things. My prayer is that the Light of Christ shines through me so my husband see the One who Saved me on the Cross.

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