If you want to kill a relationship quickly, all you need are expectations. Let those expectations linger in your mind and heart and allow them to determine your happiness. Use your expectations as a gauge to measure the love you’re receiving. Finally, judge the other person based on how well they meet your expectations.
Expectations are most effective if you keep them to yourself. Don’t tell the one you love about them. After all, if someone really loves you, if they’re really a good friend, if they really care at all, they will KNOW what you need. Right? (I’m being sarcastic.)
Inside of all of us lie expectations. We each have our own set that has developed throughout our stories, shaped by our experiences, hopes, beliefs, and dreams. Our expectations are so much a part of us, that we do not even recognize their presence, much less their power. They become a lens through which we search for love, acceptance, worth, and security.
I expected waaaaaaaaayyyyyy too much from my husband when we first married. I needed things from him that only God could give. My sweet man could not live up to my expectations and he felt my disappointment. He knew that what he did and gave was never enough for me. Under those misplaced expectations, my husband felt defeated, overwhelmed, and discouraged. Silently, I pushed away the one I loved.
Over time, I learned who I was, who God really was, and how only he could satisfy my needs. It was my needs that drove my expectations. When my Creator knit me together in my mother’s womb, he designed me with needs, but he wanted to be the one to fulfill them. I struggled with unrealistic expectations of myself and others until I truly believed that I was already loved by my Father. No strings.
Are you impossible to please? Do you find yourself constantly disappointed in relationships? Has your husband actually said, “nothing I do is good enough for you!”? (Mine did.) Are you demanding perfection from yourself?
Carrying expectations is exhausting.
What would happen if you made a list of all the things you expect from your husband and then shared it with him openly, asking for his insight? Could you ask him for a similar list? Expecting him to know what you need without telling him isn’t fair, is it? By communicating our needs openly, we eliminate so many problems. This is true in any relationship.
Imagine going to work without a job description and being reprimanded by your boss for not doing your job well. In a way, I did put my husband in that situation. He couldn’t win because he either had no idea what I wanted from him, or he knew what I needed but couldn’t humanly make it happen.
Our expectations can push away the ones we love most. Our standard of perfection can create unhealthy beliefs in our children leaving them discouraged. We may find ourselves very lonely as one by one, our people distance themselves from us, fearing our inevitable disappointment.
May God be everything to us so that we do not entangle those we love in our expectations. May we love freely and lavishly as Jesus does- no strings. I pray that we rest in the grace of Christ and love out of that same grace.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5