Want Happiness? Manage Expectations!
My wife and I argue every year on her birthday. Inevitably frustration leads to anger, which leads to an argument as we walk out the door on our way to celebrate my wife’s birth. You would think after fifteen years of doing this, we would get it right, but alas another fight broke out this year as I sat on the couch staring at my watch waiting for Alia, my wife, to get ready for our date.
I made a sarcastic comment at which she responded and before I knew it we were in our corners poised to pounce for the first round of our annual battle royal, but why do we continue to repeat this yearly ritual of bickering when it should be a fun and joyous occasion? Expectations.
Whenever I find myself deep into a heated discussion with Alia, I find it usually occurs when we have failed to meet expectations. In fact, I can safely say that the majority of our conflicts in the past revolve around poor expectation management.
I was able to make it up to her, eventually, during her birthday, but I’m determined to avoid as many future conflicts by properly managing our expectations in the future. Here’s how:
- Stop trying to make things perfect. Life is not perfect and I need to be prepared for things not to work out the way I planned. When the variables of the day alter my plans, I need to learn to accept it and be more flexible in my expectations.
- Allow my wife to be who she was created to be in this world. Alia and I are wired differently. I like to be early, whereas that is not as important to her as long as the house is clean, safe, and in order. Reminding myself what is important to her will help ease the tension that builds when she is busy being herself instead of what I expect her to be in any given moment.
- Communicate our expectations to each other. Talking with each other beforehand about our expectations will clear up any bad assumptions and allow us to become aligned before we embark on any task or event together.
- Love my wife first, worry about life second. In the end, my wife is a precious gift, given to me by God and when I remind myself of that fact, it’s easier to accept the situation for what it is and savor the relationship and the beauty of its nuances.
Relationships are complicated, but worth the effort if we are willing to be deliberate in our expectations. Do you struggle in a relationship? Where are the gaps in your expectations with that person and how can you begin to close that gap?