Expectations. We all have expectations of others, in addition to others having expectations of us. Unmet expectations can result in disappointments, reprimands, arguments, firings, or broken trust. Fulfilled expectations can build trust and raise confidence levels. Exceeded expectations can produce raises, promotions, and celebrations.
The best communications are expressed expectations. This means that both parties understand the expectations, the consequences for not meeting the expectations, and the rewards for meeting or exceeding expectations. This eliminates surprises and disappointments.
One of the most common problems for strained relationships, failed performance reviews, and divorces are unexpressed expectations. Unexpressed expectations could be a result of
- Avoiding uncomfortable conversations
- Rejecting boundaries
- An unwillingness to come to an agreement with team members (specifically in team or matrix leadership)
Unexpressed expectations is a weakness for leaders and followers. The solution is to have the courage to begin the dialogue with your boss, mate, partner, or friend so that the expectations are clear. Clear expectations are usually negotiable. An early discussion of expectations will result in smoother relationships.
When vetting a mate for marriage, discussing expectations is vital for success. In the beginning, your hormones may be maximizing your pleasure levels but this is temporary. Hiding expectations until after marriage is a BAD idea. It’s best to mutually agree to part ways while dating than after marriage. What are some of the expectations to discuss?
- Children – Should we have children and if so how many?
- Employment – Do we both work? What about after children?
- Money – Thoughts on debt? Do we need new cars? Do we need a house that stretches our means? Is savings important?
- Sex – Enjoying your spouses body is a gift from God. Discuss your drives.
- Communication – Ability to talk and listen. Is your conversation strained or fluid?
- Observe what makes your potential mate angry? Is it traffic, arriving late, spending money, annoying children, etc. This is a revealing of character which will be covered during dating and will be amplified after marriage.
Dating is a negotiation. Seek God for guidance. As Ronald Reagan said “Trust but verify”. Evaluate your potential mate critically now because you will evaluate them after you are married.
You will never find the perfect mate. What did you say? That’s right, you will never find the perfect mate. Do not be fooled that good looks, money, fame, or prestige will make your marriage a success. The tabloids are filled with articles about the rich, famous, beautiful people getting divorced due to “irreconcilable differences”. Which usually means that one or both are filled with pride resulting in an erosion of commitment.
22 Married women, submit to your own husbands as if to the Lord; 23 because a husband is the Head of his wife as Christ also is the Head of the Church, being indeed the Saviour of this His Body. 24 And just as the Church submits to Christ, so also married women should be entirely submissive to their husbands. 25 Married men, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up to death for her; 26 in order to make her holy, cleansing her with the baptismal water by the word, 27 that He might present the Church to Himself a glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle or any other defect, but to be holy and unblemished. 28 So too married men ought to love their wives as much as they love themselves. He who loves his wife loves himself
Husbands are charged with loving their wives as Christ loved the Church by sacrificing his life. Wives are to submit to their husbands as to Christ.
Marriage is not a feeling. Marriage is about both the husband’s and wife’s commitment first to God and then to each other. Quitting is not an option. This is probably the second most important decision that each of you will make in your lives.
Don’t let unexpressed expectations and the accompanying fear poison a relationship.