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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Is it too much to ask?: Surrendering and expectations


A had a discussion with a friend one time, actually it was a group discussion.  Anyway, we were discussing expectations in marriage.  Part of the discussion centered on the idea that tensions in marriage are largely caused by unmet expectations.  If a marriage is beset by a history of addiction or codependence of any sort, it is hard for one or both partners to be 'present' in the marriage.  As as result, it's hard for one or both to meet each other's expectations. 

Bearing this in mind, a question came to mind: Given such problems, when are marriages worth fighting for?  I believe if you have kids together, and especially if a marriage is started on a friendship, then perhaps such a marriage is worth fighting for.  Anyway say you've answered that question--is it worth fighting for--in the affirmative, the follow-up question is what do you have to do to make it at least livable, if not thriving?  I've always thought one of the keys to success or at least tolerability of an imperfect marriage is surrendering expectations.  That doesn't mean you don't push for what is important to you in the marriage.  What it means is that after you've expressed your marital concerns to your spouse, you surrender them to your Higher Power. 

From the AA Big Book


"My serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations. The higher my expectations of other people are, the lower is my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations. But then my 'rights' try to move in, and they, too, can force my serenity level down. I have to discard my 'rights,' as well as my expectations, by asking myself, How important is it, really? How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety'? And when I place more value on my serenity and sobriety than on anything else, I can maintain them at a higher level - at least for the time being."
Alcoholics Anonymous,
p. 452

--

We tend to have significant expectations of those close to us and we often find ourselves getting disappointed.  In pondering that, the following occurred to me is:
  • God imbued me with free will, but He also imbued others in my life with free will as well.
  • How can we expect others to necessarily live up to our expectations, given their free will when given our own free will we don't live up to the expectation of our Creator?
  • In other words, the free will we cherish and leads to us disappointing God is the same free will that prevents others from meeting our expectations.

In closing, a little realism in expectations and a little understanding of the way we disappoint others--including our Higher Power--can go a long way towards helping a marriage.  If we are able to better see our own faults, we can be more realistic accepting that perhaps our spouse isn't perfect either.

Just some thoughts...