One of the hardest things for me to do is TO NOT EXPECT. As a wife, I have expectations from my husband. As a mom, I have expectations from my kids. As a friend, as a daughter, as a church member, as a boss, as a customer, as a leader — I have expectations. It’s so hard not to have them!
Some expectations are healthy, true, and they should come with expectations from ourselves as well. So if I expect my husband to honor his commitment to God & me, I should also keep my end of the deal and make sure we protect our marriage. If I expect my kids to obey, be kind, share and all that, I must not stop teaching them to do so, nor stop disciplining them when they do not. If I expect my friends to love me and listen to me even when I’m in a bad mood, I must also be willing to clam up and listen when they want to comfort me, encourage me, pray for me, or rebuke me. And so on and so forth.
I love what Andy Stanley said about desires vs expectations in a marriage. Forgive me if I didn’t get it exactly right but my take on it is that desire comes from a place of hope. Expectations come from a place of requirement or demand. Andy Stanley said, and I will never forget this because it is so true, that we will know when our pure desires have become expectations based on the degree of our thankfulness. How often do I thank King for changing Noelle’s diaper? For reading the girls their Bible story? For taking Danae to class? For gassing up the car? These are things that are expected of a dad and husband, you say? Maybe. And they are what I hope King would never tire of doing for me and the kids. But they should not be taken for granted. They should not be just assumed or demanded from my husband and they should always be appreciated. Like what King always says….HIGH APPRECIATION, LOW EXPECTATION. I know I’d want the same for myself.
It’s funny how I was able to take care of my kids without King’s help when he was away for 2 weeks. I was tired, but I wasn’t cranky. Now that he’s home, I get annoyed when I don’t get the help that I need from him! When he was out, I didn’t have any expectations because he was not here. I knew that I would have to do everything myself and I was completely fine with that. If only I could be like that even when King is here! Even though I’m capable of doing the work, I can’t help but expect him to help me because he IS here!
In a marriage and in many relationships, we’re sometimes not aware that the good things we receive, we turn into expectations, instead of them being surprises and a source of joy. We start getting used to receiving them, we start expecting to receive them, we start feeling entitled to receive them, then we start feeling disappointed when we don’t receive them. It all results in UNGRATEFULNESS.
I am talking to myself and praying for God to help me as I share this, as usual. I want to train myself to not expect King to help me, unless I actually articulate it to him. Our husbands are not mind-readers, and sometimes common sense to us women is not common sense to men at all. When I do not expect, I do not get frustrated, I do not get disappointed. WHEN I DO NOT EXPECT AND I GET WHAT I HOPE FOR, THEN IT’S SO MUCH EASIER TO BE GRATEFUL!
click here for Thammie Sy’s blog about desires vs expectations 🙂