I want to start this post with a bit of humble honesty about myself. Most of the time when there’s a conflict in our marriage, I’m the problem. I don’t say that to be funny, or proud (I’m no diva) I say that because I want you to understand my heart behind this series. I haven’t been writing this series as someone who has perfected her relationships to the point of writing a how-to blog, but I’m writing this series because I need to be the one to try harder in so many ways.
When God first laid the idea for this series on my heart, I had written an A-Z list and formulated a slight plan for each week’s topic. I intended for this week to be about encouragement, but the reality is, this week being encouraging isn’t the part of my character that needs the most work.
Instead, this week:
E-Is For Expectations
This week I really need to work not only the way I set my expectations, but how I deal with them when they are met or not.
On Monday of this week, I asked my husband to do something for me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it myself, I just didn’t want to, so I expected that he would do it so I didn’t have to.
My husband is a fantastic man, not only as a husband, but as a father, employee etc. He is a man that will usually go above and beyond what is asked of him, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the kids and I. He is regularly worn out, or inconvenienced so we don’t have to be. Frankly,there are many times the ugliness of my own heart and selfishness leads me to walk all over him, knowing he will let me, because he wants to take care of me. He will do things I’m capable of doing, just so I don’t have to, even if that throws a wrench in his own plans. He will go the extra mile for me, even when he doesn’t want to…except on Monday, in that one specific situation.
I asked him to do something I didn’t want to do myself, expecting that he would say “yes” (cause he always says yes) and him taking on the task I was completely fine throwing on his plate, freed me up to do something more fun after work. When he said “no, I really don’t feel like it…” not only was I disappointed, I was mad, and I was mean. I started feeling sorry for myself because my expectations weren’t met (regardless of how selfish and ridiculous my expectations were to begin with) and then not only was I mean to my husband, I had a bad attitude that I carried around for a few hours.
If that wasn’t bad enough, I complained out loud to more than one person, because my expectations weren’t met, and then I decided it would best to really emphasize my displeasure by not going straight home either. I thought the best way to really prove my point (thus helping me get my way in the future) was to carry my disappointment around target for a bit. I figured “fine, I won’t go home right away, and then he’ll call and wonder where I am. When he calls I’ll use my ‘you know I’m unhappy with you tone’ and he’ll feel super terrible and never tell me no again.” Except that never happened at all, and it only added fuel to my ugly selfish fire when I thought “why hasn’t he called to see where I am?!” Great, now I’m disappointed for two reasons.
Really Rosalynn? You’re such a princess, you’ll not only ask your husband to do things you don’t feel like doing yourself, you’ll expect it of him? Then when he says no to something he should have every right to say no to, you say mean things to him, and go out of your way to make your disappointment known to him, AND your friends? THEN, if that wasn’t ridiculous enough, you’ll get even more disappointed when he doesn’t play your stupid little “doesn’t he even care that I’m mad, and pouting at Target because I didn’t get my way” game by calling to see why you aren’t home after work? How ugly of you, especially to someone who loves you so much better than you really deserve. You had a fit, said mean things, and came home a couple hours late, all over one unmet expectation that shouldn’t have been an expectation to begin with??? You need Jesus. (Yes, I’m talking to myself.)
So here we are, a week of addressing expectations rather than encouragement, because God knows I have a lot I need to fix. I have prayed a lot, asked for forgiveness, and asked God to help me realize when my expectations are wrong.
Disappointment grows in the space between your expectations, and reality.
The problem wasn’t that my expectations weren’t met, the problem is that I had the expectations to begin with. When did I become so ungrateful for my husband that I stopped valuing the things he does to make life easier on our family, and started expecting them rather than being grateful? Truly this has been a problem I’ve needed to work on for a long time.
This isn’t a problem just in my marriage, it’s a problem with the condition of my heart all around. I have become so entitled that I feel anyone else in the world should be inconvenienced, offended, over-worked except me. I want things to go my way, at all times, and when they don’t I’m disappointed.
For me, the problem is that I have set myself up for being disappointed, by allowing my heart to become entitled and grow that space between expectation and reality.
The worst part of my ugly Monday moment wasn’t that he said no to the one thing I asked of him, it was that he did several things to go above and beyond without being asked. Yeah, I really am a huge jerk! He didn’t do the thing I asked, but he caught up on my laundry for me, and had dinner waiting on the table when I decided to get over myself and come home. Dinner was cold, because I was having my little fit, rather that sitting at the table with my family. My husband didn’t even touch his dinner until I got home so he could eat with me.
I need to work on being realistic with my expectations, so I won’t set myself up for being disappointed with reality.
But what about your family and friendships? Maybe you’re more like my husband and less like me. Maybe you’re the one going above and beyond what is expected of you, and yet, that still isn’t enough for the people in your life…I bet that really hurts, and I’m sorry if the expectations that are set on your shoulders aren’t fair or realistic. I’m not sure how to advise you to be gracious when you’re the one that’s always trying hard, even when it’s not well received or enough, but I pray you are able to see the value in having enough integrity to keep trying.
If you’re able to be real for a moment and acknowledge that you’re like me, can I pray for a change in your heart like I’m praying for a change in mine? In which areas do you need to change your expectations to lessen the gap where disappointment grows? Do you need to apologize to someone (or many people) for the way you have treated them when you’ve been disappointed? I know I seriously do.
This week it is my prayer that we will ask the Lord how He wants us to lessen the gap between expectation and reality in our lives, leaving little room for disappointment to grow. If we want to be intention in the way we love the people in our lives, maybe we just need to change what we expect of them (and offer a lot more grace too.)
In His Love,
- The Importance Of Being Intentional In Relationships-An ABC Series- F Is For Fear - February 21, 2018
- Sometimes It’s Hard For Me To Love You - February 14, 2018
- Praying, When Things Seem Impossible - February 7, 2018
- The Importance Of Being Intentional In Relationships-An ABC Series- E Is For Expectations - January 31, 2018
- The Importance Of Being Intentional In Relationships-An ABC Series-D Is For Date Nite - January 24, 2018