Managing Expectations

Ah, the seasons of our lives. As soon as we get one problem fixed, another becomes so obvious that we wonder how we never knew it was there.

This season? Managing expectations.

It’s not even the overarching idea of marriage that gets in our way, though we do get overwhelmed every time we really sit down and think about it. It’s really the smallest things that make understanding this other human the most daunting task in the world.

Picture a small glass of water, spilled. This is of course completely hypothetical and only for illustrative purposes. This isn’t about seeing the glass half empty or half full, for it’s clearly neither one, but more of how you see the water. Kyle sees a mess to be fully wiped up. Me? I see large puddles surrounded by a few smaller ones. The large ones are an obvious hindrance and must be wiped up immediately. The smaller ones? Will dry on their own.

Without a dishwasher, the dishes reproduce in our sink. Even during the weeks that we really try, they still stack up quickly. To Kyle, doing dishes means washing and drying. To me? It means getting them just clean enough that we can use them again (it’s all food) and letting them air dry on the counter.

To have a discussion over unmet expectations is easy. Kyle gently lets me know that having clean dishes on the counter isn’t as ideal as having them in the cabinet where they belong. I agree and explain that we might as well let the air do the work for us. We walk away, expecting that we’ve solved the problem and brought the other person over to our side, only to find out that we each still think our own way is best.

And we’re left with a counter full of dishes and very small puddles on the floor.

What is one unmet expectation you have struggled with in your own relationships?

9 thoughts on “Managing Expectations”

  1. The Porter's dishes are the Ward's laundry. For one of us laundry is successful when the clothes are washed and dried. For the other, the laundry is successful when the clothes are washed, dried, folded, and out of sight. Either way, we're wearing clean clothes (most days). 🙂

  2. At our house it's me (and the kids Brian thinks I trained) who can't quite seem to hit the trash can when we're throwing something away…especially in the bathroom. I was never a good ball sports person by the way! Even though Brian has pointed it out to all of us, there are always a couple of used kleenex or q-tips resting on the floor oh-so-close to the trash can! I'm sure there's something he does that falls in this category, but I'm definitely the winner in the not-so-neat-and-organized department, so I hate to point out 1 eensy weensy thing of his when I have a bucket load of my own that he could follow up with–but he's too nice to say so here 🙂

  3. mine would be the fact that zach refuses to fold the bath towels the way I prefer although I've shown him the "correct" way multiple times! His are uneven and fat… mine are folded perfectly so that they FIT in the cabinet. But in the end… I just SHOVE them and try to be thankful that he actually took time to fold the towels 🙂

  4. When my husband and I got married… this whole "expectations" thing was one of the main things that the couple we did marriage counseling with talked to us about. Having dated for so long (5 years) before we got married… I felt like any expectations were already kind of out on the table and had been previously duked out. But apparently the expectations after getting married that we struggle with now the most are the ones we put on ourselves.

    Too many times I've crawled over a large pile of clean laundry, still waiting after a week to be put away, and just started crying… thinking I'm some sort of huge wifely disappointment. Ridiculous, I know. But you can't help how real your own little house wife failures feel to you. After many "Britt, seriously, It's OKAY. It doesnt kill me to get my clean shirts out of the laundry basket rather than the closet"'s, I'm learning to not be so hard on myself…

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