Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
Early in my marriage, I commented to my wife that she didn’t clean the kitchen stove the way as my mother. The comment did not go over that well.
My wife is a wonderful woman, clean, and industrious. But I had a mother who told me that things should be “just so.” My mother defined this “just so” as “her way only.” I thought I was doing my wife a favor by describing my mother’s “just so” about stove cleaning.
How foolish, thinking that my mother’s advice would be helpful or wanted. Expectations can be chains that we place on others.
Expectations are good (if there is agreement), but when we place our desires as burdens upon others without telling them the expectation, disaster!
Expectations develop from our past experiences in previous relationships. From the past, we bring them, whether good or bad, into new relationships.
You think, “My father used to do that, and I hated it, so you better not do it.” Or, “My former wife used to do that and you are acting the same way.” It’s fine to discuss anything about a current relationship but it will be death, or at least the mother of all arguments, to have an expectation based upon the past without the legitimacy of a conversation.
Current expectations must be discussed to an agreement.
My wife has an expectation that I pay the bills; I have an expectation that she takes the lead with evening dinners (not that she must cook but an idea of either cooking or visiting a local restaurant). If I do not pay the bills, there will, and should, be a conversation initiated by my wife.
Great relationships discuss expectations, as difficulties lie in passive-aggressive desires from the past. They easily become ghosts that haunt the current relationship.
All types of relationships have hidden expectations. As a pastor, when someone visited my church and mentioned the very large church in the next state that they attended, I thought, “Uh, oh! I bet they won’t be happy here until we become like the other church.”
Bill Johnson, Andy Stanley, Steven Furtick, and Craig Groeschel are great pastors and have good things to teach others. But it is tiring to have my ministry of 49 years judged according to Furtick or Groeschel instead of God’s Spirit.
Bill, Andy, Steven, and Craig, would you tell your e-media followers to calm down?!
Years past, I read the following by Detrick Bonhoeffer:
God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The person who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the center of the Christian community as if his dream binds men together. When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure… Then he becomes, first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself.
Expectations are good; expectations not discussed to an agreement? Bad! By the way, I’m mad that most of you reading Interruptions didn’t send me a birthday present.