“Expectations kill relationships,” writes Ann Voskamp. As I ponder her words, I remember how my marriage has died a thousand little deaths. While my outlandish expectations have harmed many relationships, my poor husband has born the brunt of my affliction.
Affliction? you ask.
Yes, affliction. Because harboring unrealistic expectations is like a disease. One that chokes the life out of a relationship. It stifles the people around you, sometimes paralyzing them because they are afraid of disappointing you, failing you, angering you.
And maybe you have these unrealistic expectations of yourself, too? Do you feel the life draining from you? Are you afraid of not measuring up? Failing?
All those thoughts you have about yourself have a way of seeping into your friendships, your partnerships, and your marriage. Satan, the Father of Lies, will wedge them into as many areas as he possibly can because he is death incarnate.
We must identify and unravel the insidious ways unrealistic expectations have manifested themselves in our lives. Then, one by one, we can uproot them and make room for new life – for joy.
1. Unrealistic expectations are a form of self-protection.
If you set the bar so high that no one can possibly reach it, you get to live in a perpetual state of disappointment. You can hide behind this attitude, giving yourself reasons to distrust, disengage, and refuse to communicate healthy needs. This is a breeding ground for isolation. In a sense, you may feel like you’ve insulated yourself from future hurt, but you’ve actually robbed yourself of the thing you truly need and desire—to be loved.