We all have expectations and we have them in almost every area of life. Expectations are our beliefs about the way things should be, could be and what we “expect” them to be.Rarely do we question on own expectations because we see them as appropriate and right. After all isn’t this what everyone should expect? (Short answer – no.) But conversely we see other’s differing expectations as unreasonable and even flat out wrong.
As a kid I thought I was using chocolate mix in my milk when in reality it was root beer mix. Because it was a bit of a shock to my taste buds I immediately spit it out. But actually it wasn’t bad. My expectation fueled my initial actions, not a fair judgement of its taste. This is often true of interaction in intimate relationships. Unmet expectation often fuels an inappropriate (assertive) response or (passive) thought which produces nothing good in you or your relationship.
LOOK INSIDE THE CIRCLE
Are you reacting to the expectations of your spouse with fair judgement or simply reacting because it’s not what you believe is right? Check your response to unmet expectation. How you respond may be reflecting what you value.
RESPONSE: I’m not worth it or it’s not worth it VALUE: Peace at all cost.
When we over value peace and under value the relationship we say…
- “I guess I expect too much.”
- It really wasn’t that important anyway.
- I know what we’ll happen if I bring that up again.
- We think that denying ourselves is the way to handle our disappointment. Expect less.
- We go underground which creates the breeding ground in our hearts and soul for unhealthy attitudes and self-talk.
Q’s: Is it realistic? Then work through it.
RESPONSE: I’m worth just as much you – VALUE: Selfishness
This is when we make this about whose lives (or expectations) are more important.
- Offensive/Defensive stance that create an onramp to a fight.
- You told me you’d have the kitchen clean when I got home
- We haven’t had sex for _________.
- I know I said I’d be home but I got caught up in something
- I’m really not in the mood the (kids, work, etc.) I’ve got a lot on mind.
- I know you asked me to but I didn’t get that done because… (This is often just an excuse because we undervalue their expectation)
Q’s: Why is this so important to me/them? Am I expecting too much?
RESPONSE: They are worth it – VALUE: Selflessness
- Don’t throw out your expectation.
- Put effort into understanding what the other person believes and expects.
- Help the other person understand what you believe and expect.
- Consider how to meet that expectation
- Consider how to adjust your expectation
- All of these actions reflect an attitude of understanding.
Here’s the good news “You didn’t marry yourself” although your expectations may be saying otherwise.