Let Him Out of the Box (of Your Expectations)

August 19, 2012

in the generous life

Alecia (of Marriage Life) just wrote an excellent blog post about Secrets to a Happy Marriage. One of her secrets really spoke to my heart.

3. Lower your expectations.

Sure, it’s good to have expectations. It’s good to set the bar high. It’s good to be a person who knows what he/she wants. But your expectations are based on your upbringing, your experiences, your personality, your likes/dislikes.

If we put expectations on our spouses that are not at all based on who they are our marriage will eventually implode. We have to make room for flexibility and grace. Our spouse isn’t going to be exactly like what we envisioned. They aren’t going to be and do everything exactly how we want it done. They’re going to be and do in ways that come naturally to them.

This one is a great lead in to the best secret of them all… (I’ll let this line tease you into reading the rest of her article)

I think beyond this, your spouse is an amazing person. If you put your specific “this is how we need to do this” expectations on them, you will, in effect, put a limit on who they really are and what God wants to do in their life.

I’m delighted when I see my husband exploring his world (and, no, it’s not always convenient). He’s developed new habits, new interests and gone on many wonderful new adventures. If I try to corral him with my expectations, we both would have missed out on that. My world is richer because I decided my husband’s individuality was more important that living inside my expectation-driven box.

Please understand that I am not suggesting that you should not ask for what you want and need from your husband (and, yes, you should expect certain things like fidelity and general kindness). I’m saying that within the scope of your relationship, you each need to explore fully who you are designed to be and not lock each other up with expectations. 

From now on, I’ll connect the dots my own way. Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Image credit © Gemenacom | Dreamstime.com

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 A healthy man is a better husband and A healthy woman is a better wife ~ Some great encouragement from my sweetie. (The Generous Husband)

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Just lovin’ these prayers ~ Friday Prayer: Wisdom From Above (from Elevate You Marriage)

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Yup! ~ Putting Some Healthy Limits on Technology I want to go to that restaurant. (from Safe at Home)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie August 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

While I agree that sometimes we have sinful, selfish expectations on our spouses, I totally disagree with “lowering the bar”. Our husbands are called to love us as Christ loves the Church, his bride (Ephesians 5). Our husbands have an incredibly high bar, it’s Christ! We as wives should not, out of love and respect for God and our hubbies, lower that bar, but encourage them to more because we think more of them as beloved sons of the most high God!!

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xyz August 21, 2012 at 4:56 am

I think that we do need to let our husbands be and pray that God shapes and moulds them into the men he wants them to be for Him and for us.

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J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) August 22, 2012 at 10:18 am

I learned to state it as High Standards, Low Expectations. I have high standards for my marriage, meaning that I don’t settle for okay. I want to have the best marriage I can have. But I have also learned to lower my expectations of my spouse since many of our expectations are based on unrealistic ideals. Would I want my hubby to have unrealistic expectations of me? Absolutely not. I’m human. I err. Great reminder, Lori.

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olivia August 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I don’t think we should lower the bar, we simply must have rational expectations.if you set high expectations the more trouble your spouse will have,and the more disappointments you will have. We need to be equal.

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The Generous Wife August 23, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Thanks J. I like your semantics.

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