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Facing Unmet Expectations and Fighting for Relationships


Matt Hammitt

Heart of Dating is thrilled to welcome singer, songwriter, speaker, and now AUTHOR Matt Hammitt to the show! He was the lead singer for the band Sanctus Real from 1996 to 2016. Hammitt is the recipient of three Dove Awards and has been nominated for two Grammy Awards. After leaving the band, Hammitt joined the FamilyLife speaker team as a keynote speaker and performer at marriage and men’s conferences across the U.S., including Kirk Cameron’s Living Room Reset events.

Recently Matt released his book Lead Me telling his story of how God taught him how to break unrealistic expectations and fight for his marriage, family, and faith. 

Hammitt and his family have been featured on national television, including ABC News and 700 Club. He has also had articles published on websites including, and Hammitt lives in Tennessee with his wife, Sarah, and their children. For more information, visit and

What was the journey in writing your first book?

  • The longest part was trying to make sure that everything in the book is completely authentic.
  • It’s about submitting yourself to the process. (Just like in relationships!)
  • We carry heavy expectations for our lives and it’s about laying them down at God’s feet.

There is something special in taking time in becoming the right person. How is this still prevalent in marriage?

  • By nature, people are selfish. So it’s something we have to learn to become selfless. This is a great lesson you learn in marriage.
  • In marriage, there’s a difficult process but a gift in which you realize more about yourself and what things you need to grow in. 
  • There’s an opportunity to continue to grow, change, and become better in singleness but also this continues in marriage. The process doesn’t stop. 

In your book, you mention you become defensive in moments of correction in your marriage. What did your journey look like in letting go of that defensiveness?

  • God spoke to Matt’s heart and taught him to listen. Taking the gift and opportunity to listen to the truth his wife could be sharing. 
  • He shares how during a specific moment of correction, that the way he saw himself wasn’t necessarily the way his wife saw him. 
  • It’s a difficult lesson to learn that you may not be the person that everyone else thinks you are. 
  • Matt talks about his own experiences in how in the past he’s masked pride with humility, but he was still making life about himself. 

What have you learned about communication?

  • Communication and conversation are critical, especially when it comes to listening. 
  • Ask yourself when someone is talking to you if you’re receiving or reloading?
  • Remember, if it’s a word of instruction or word of love, don’t miss the goodness it has because you’re not taking a moment to receive the words that have been given to. 

You wrote “Suffering is intertwined in the story of every living thing” and “I cannot explain this but in the darkest time of my life i am consumed by glory these difficult days are some of the closest to God I have ever experience” when discussing some difficult times in your life in your book. How did you find the beauty in the challenges in not only your life but also in your marriage and how you learned to fight for your relationship?

  • A conflict-free life is a problem. You have to understand there will always be conflict. 
  • All marriages can be difficult and Matt shares how his hasn’t always been easy.
  • Matt talks about how his wife was more confrontational than he was used to. The adjustments were hard but he had to undergo them.
  • He talks about how his son Bowen had faced multiple heart surgeries that he and his wife had to grieve, but through the difficulty he learned how to hear what his wife was saying more clearly.
  • Conflict is ok and it can be beautiful as they are learning experiences. 
  • The more mountains you climb, the more endurance you have, and the more rewards you see.

What do you think the balance is in not settling but also letting go of expectations?

  • Our culture seems to constantly be bombarding with a constant feed of information and because of that it just seems that there will always be something better. 
  • There's a cultural shift in our dating life that we have to navigate.
  • The idea that “there will be something better” is a conflict that when it comes up you have to decide and choose to be committed.
  • “The further those expectations are from reality, the harder the fall.”

Do you believe the notion that you have to “have it all together” before dating?

  • That is a myth and there’s a balance in being stable but also realizing that you’re not going to reach perfection.
  • Being a good partner for someone never starts with being perfect it just starts with the choice to accept that person in your heart.
  • We should do our best to live in a way that’s acceptable to our faith, but it truly starts with giving your heart unperfected to someone else who helps you refine it.

What did it look like to submit to life’s curveballs?

  • Matt said it was in the unexpected and sometimes hard moments in which he felt closest to God.
  • The hard moments forced a dependency on God. 
  • Receive a difficulty instead of running from it and be willing to take these on and walk through the burdens with God alongside you.

What’s your final nugget of dating advice?

  • Relationships are hard but are worth all the hardship to get the beauty of it.
  • Submit to the process.

Other Resources:

Connect with Matt on Instagram HERE

Buy Matt's book HERE

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