Every since she was a little girl, she wanted her wedding day to look a certain way… Roses. Champaign. Slow dancing.
Every time she saw a wedding, she got more ideas of how her weeding should be.
Weddings are just one example of how we model expectations…. often by osmosis. We see a cute couple and decide that our life will be like that. We hear a romantic line and decide we’re going to be better. From real life examples to magazines, cartoons, cereals ads and museum painting- each element ads another expectations to what we want our relationships to be like.
Where do you add that in Christian thought, marriage is a “for-life” deal, so whatever deal you make, you better make the best one you can. No pressure. But really, make the best deal you can. And all this from afar- because as soon as you’ve had coffee you’re on a count-down to either rejection or an exclusive relationships.
I’m being a bit sarcastic here…. but let’s be hones: how many times have you not seen this happen? Our expectations, coupled with the exclusivity of marriage make dating relationships incredibly hard.
So what about expectations makes them so dangerous? Most commonly, the fact that they are silent. They’ve been silent for a while, even subconscious. Some of us may be more vocal about them with our friends, but for the most part they go under the radar, unnoticed, unchecked.
I’ve this scenario one too many times in my life or the lives of my friends: things are going well, the day is unfolding and then snap- something happens. The other person doesn’t know what exactly it was, but something happened, and it killed the mood, the night, the relationship. And often, the other person doesn’t even know what hit them. Sometimes even we don’t know what hit us… we just know that we couldn’t see ourselves with somebody like that.
Expectations are relationship killers because they are silent. They go unsaid, yet wanted.
And when we dont’ get what we want, we’re not happy campers. The problem is that we never said what we wanted. Often we can’t even name what we want, it’s kinda there – as they say:”you’ll know it when you see it”.
This kind of approach is not healthy. It’s magical, it’s romantic, but it’s not mature. If we are to embark in long-term relationships, we have to employ a better technique than “finding a soul mate that is my other half and makes me happy”. A mature relationships would require talking about what we want, processing through our life history, our culture and our desires. Expressing our expectations is a grown-up way to go about it. Some of them may be legit, some may not. But either way, the other person can’t meet some of them or address other, until you talk about them.
So do the hard work of figuring out what your expectations are. Work through your history, figure out what has defined them for so long. As you work through that, look for somebody who can meet them and who knows them.
After all, to be loved is not just to be know, but to be know and loved as you are.