Unmet Expectations

expectations

“I’m waiting for it to render.”

This statement earned first place as the bane of my existence during my young married years.

Some of you may not even know what this phrase means. When we were first married my husband worked as a media minister. A large portion of his job involved making videos. The final step of the process, called rendering, is the computer’s way of taking effects, such as color correction or transitions, and adding them to the actual video in order to make the video playback smooth. The length of this process is unknown, and it can take a long time. Trust me, I know.

As a young wife, one of my goals consisted of having dinner on the table for my husband when he got home. An avid viewer of Leave it to Beaver re-runs in my childhood years, I thought life should work that way.

I would assume my loving husband would walk in the door around 6:00 every night, then we would immediately sit down to enjoy a tasty meal together. Um, no. And not because he didn’t want to, but sometimes he couldn’t and those times were unpredictable. (My lack of cooking skills also put a kink in this scenario, but that’s another story.)

I found myself frustrated time and time again with cold food sitting on the stove. Reality looked in no way like the dream world I had concocted in my mind.

So whose fault was it? At first I blamed my poor husband. Then I blamed his job. Finally, I realized the fault was no one’s but my own. My expectations were sadly unrealistic based on our circumstances. I learned to wait to start dinner until I knew for sure he was on his way home.

I mentioned my friend to you recently that I talked to about the issue of entitlement. When we talked, she admitted one of the things that frustrates her about one of her children is that he is incredibly hard to surprise. When she does manage to surprise him, he doesn’t usually give the reaction she hopes for…one of extreme excitement, gratitude, and glee. She had no idea she was talking to someone who fits that description perfectly. I don’t really care for surprises, and I have often disappointed my husband with a lack of enthusiasm in my reaction. I don’t know why I don’t erupt with squeals of glee over grand gifts. My reserved response probably matches my reserved nature in general. The look on my face has little to do with what I feel in my heart.

I’m trying harder to visually show how I feel. My husband is trying to not be offended if I don’t blubber over his surprise. He can lower his expectations a little, and I can rise to meet them.

Unfulfilled expectations can cause a lot of drama in relationships. Just be sure your desires of those around you are realistic and that you communicate them. Those two steps will save you a host of frustration regardless of whether it is a family, friend, work, or other relationship.

Can you think of a time your expectations didn’t meet reality? How did you adjust?

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4 thoughts on “Unmet Expectations

  1. I, too, created a fairy tale image of what married life was supposed to look like. Dinner time was just one of them. It’s easy to look at others’ relationships as well and place expectations based on comparison. I’ve done that with comparing my marriage relationship to someone else’s. It can create discontent and dissatisfaction quickly. Often reality bursts my idealistic bubble!

  2. That was really good and a good story to be told in a pre-married class. I still remember a story I read years ago that is another example. A young woman proudly served her new husband the breakfast her mother made her father. The new husband did show enthusiasm and pleasure upon tasting her delicious meal. Happy he liked it, she served it again the next day. Then the next. And again the next. Finally her husband very tactfully ATTEMPTED to tell her how wonderful it was but could she please try something different. “Tears” would be an understantement. But in the end it turns out that the new bride’s father ate the same breakfast every single morning that her mother cooked for him. He enjoyed that. The bride expected the husband to want the same thing every morning once she knew for sure what it was he would like. She came to realize that she had expected her husband to respond just her father had all those years.

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