Expecting, just not that way

Editor’s Note: As part of my Lenten blogging streak, on Friday’s I will be focusing on family life. This series is meant to be a complement to my wife’s blog, which is better than mine.

It would be really easy to talk about our second son; but I am not going to. The amount of blogs about the transition from one child to two is legion, I am sure. Instead, I want to focus on the idea of expectations. Marriages live and die, flounder and flourish, thrive or starve, on the concept of our expectations. We are both victims and victimizers of our families based on our expectations. Maybe a “for instance” would be inline here. This is an interaction from this morning between my wife and I.

*We are waking up from a long night in the hospital, Angie in the hospital bed, me in the pull-out-bed/chair.

Angie: How’d you sleep?

Me: Meh (*shrugs) and you?

Angie: Better than last night.

Me: That’s not hard to beat, but yeah, me too. So what’s the plan for this morning?

Angie: Well, I’m gonna eat breakfast, then do my nurse checkup, then probably shower.

{At this point the story breaks up. In my mind the interaction sounded like this:

Angie: Are you going to get up? or just lay on that bed all morning?

*To which I think “Are you kidding!?! I have been slaving away all night to help you and this is what I get!? What do you expect me to do?

What Angie really said was,

Angie: You should probably get changed that way you are ready for the parade of nurses that are coming in here.

but I respond to the idea that she expected me to do more, to spring out of bed and change so I could do her list of things. I anticipated that Angie had a list of expectations for me and my behavior for the morning. I thought she needed me to get dressed so I could start meeting these expectations, so I responded poorly.

Justin: Fine, Fine! I’ll get dressed. I am getting dressed, what else should I do this morning?

This response immediately put Angie on the defensive. I expected that she would expect me to do certain things, then acted on those expectations. What resulted was anger and frustration. In reality, Angie was trying to save me the embarrassment of having a nurse or visitor walk in on me in my scivies.

And this is the thing: if I had lovingly listened to what Angie was saying, not what I (in my tiredness and anger) anticipated her saying; we would have had a good morning. Instead, I picked a fight that was completely unnecessary. We all have to learn to listen to one another; and listen for what the other person is actually saying. We (I especially) have to drop our expectations and let grace reign in our relationships.

Easier said than done; I expect.

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About futonreformer

I am a pastor in the PCA serving in Myrtle Beach, SC. I am a sixth generation Tampa native and I love the Rays and Bucs!

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