One of my friends posted a little saying today which I wanted to share with all my lady friends (and guy friends who might just benefit from this, as well): "What a lovely gift to give a friend...to never expect her to be perfect." (Proverbs 31 Ministries) It made me think about how many things it is we do in life which we think someone else actually expects us to do, wanting so desperately to please them and not allow things to get in the way of our relationship. We might just do this a little more often than we admit - simply because it has become such a way of living for us, it might not be easily recognized at first. Maybe we need to actually stop long enough to ask, What expectations have I imposed upon another, and What is it I want from them? We might just be surprised what emerges when we stop to think what it is we "require" of another in relationship!
Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. Love will never become obsolete. (I Corinthians 13:4-8 VOICE)
Expectations can be the death of a good relationship - honestly, we sometimes don't know just how demanding we can be until someone just plain cannot take it any longer and walks away! In the most literal sense, an expectation is an assumption someone will be or do something in a way we have "created" in our minds. For example, as a mom, I assumed my kids knew homework had to be done before play time could begin. Well, here's a shocker --- my kids didn't quite have that same expectation! In fact, for them, it was just the opposite --- they had been in school doing schoolwork all day long, so home time didn't mean "homework" for them, it meant letting it all go and engaging in something they actually enjoyed!
Expectations are based upon "chance" - there is a chance the thing will turn out as you assume it will. Life isn't like a slot machine, though. We can put a quarter in a slot machine and take the chance it will return ten dollars. We may not want to go through relationships "chancing" things, though! They may not "pay off" as we expected! We have a "notion" or "prediction" something will be just as we imagine it to be and then when something other than that imagined state is what is presented to us, we kind of think we didn't get what we wanted. Relationships cannot succeed based on "chance". It may have been a little hard to realize this when I was a kid, but as I have grown up, I see the truth in this - - - people don't "do" or "behave" one way just because I say they should!
So, is it really possible to go into a relationship without expectations and to have a solidly growing relationship without developing them? I don't really think so, but we have to be careful about what types of expectations we put upon the other person within that relationship. Some will not be very realistic and others may be spot on. We need to be careful about the unrealistic, or almost impossible to achieve. The right kind of "expectations" to have within relationship should be based upon scriptural principles. This is why I brought this passage into today's lesson. Where there is love, we should expect patience when we don't always measure up, or get something the first time around. When love is the guardian over our relationships, we should be kind, even when that kindness may not be deserved. These two are the toughest for some of us to get because patience and kindness are hard responses when someone keeps repeating the same patterns which leave us disappointed or which make unending demands of our time, talent, or treasure.
One thing I know for sure --- where the "PERSON" of love dwells, there is infinitely more resources available within the relationship. The "PERSON" of love is Christ - so where Christ dwells, there is the infinite possibility of love. Keep Christ center in your relationship and I bet the "expectations" we exert on one another will begin to morph into the types of expectations he says are important for us to meet within those relationships! Just sayin!