Not Too Big, Not Too Small, Just Right!

We all have expectations, it’s part of being human. Sane expectations can be good, but some expectations can cause problems for a marriage.

Not Too Big, Not Too Small, Just Right!

There are two ways this goes bad – expectations that are too high, and those that are too low.

High Expectations

When expectations are too high it’s either impossible or destructive to meet them. When you place such expectations on yourself you will be forever down on yourself for “failing”. When you place such expectations on others you seem unloving and impossible to please. Some folks will try to meet the expectations and eventually burn out, while others will just write you off as impossible and not try at all.

Low Expectations

It’s been said lowering your expectations is a sure way to avoid disappointment and ensure happiness. To some degree, I suppose this is true, but if you or others never work to surpass too low expectations it results in a very small and boring life. 

Do Some Communicating

It’s pretty common for Lori and me to talk to a couple and find one of them is trying to live up to an expectation the other has never put on them. They assume it because a parent or someone from a past relationship expected that thing of them. If you get all the expectations on the table you may find it’s not as bad as you think.

If there are expectations you feel are too high, talk about it. Is it too high in general, or is it too high because of your current stage of life? Is there a compromise you can both live with? Or maybe if it really matters to one of you, then that person needs to take care of it.

~ Paul I’m XY and years later Lori and I both know we were trying to meet expectations that were never expected of us.

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13 Comments on “Not Too Big, Not Too Small, Just Right!

  1. I need to lower my expectations in the area of sex. As a woman, whose husband claims to love her and claims to be attracted to her, I expected we’d have sex more often than the once a week “obligation” sex. His lack of interest in me has really lowered my self worth. (I know I shouldn’t look for my worth there, but it’s hard not to feel that way).

    Anyhow, perhaps my expectations are too high. Reading marriage blogs with hundreds of male commenters who love having sex with their wives because they honestly love them and aren’t just saying it, does not help my perspective.

    I’ve prayed to lose my sex drive altogether. Perhaps I should look at this from the angle that perhaps my expectations are simply too high. Perhaps I’m not attractive enough to deserve to be loved more than once a week out of nice guy obligation. Interesting post.

    • Hugs B! Hang in there girl. This has nothing to do with your attractiveness. Please don’t fall down that rabbit hole, it is so hard to climb out of it.
      Although my struggle with expectations doesn’t have to do with sex at this point in time, there are other relational challenges going on that are almost as crushing. And it is hard to read what other male commenters write, I get it. Realize though, they aren’t your husband. And their wives are probably singing a different tune then what you read. Its not as “perfect” as our minds tell us when we are this low, but just a small glimpse. I liken it as the same as romance novels/movies – nothing is as great as it seems.

  2. I want to encourage everyone who follows Paul & Lori to prayerfully consider supporting this couple. They do a wonderful work/ministry strengthening marriages all around the world.

    We wish we could do more but each month we share a small amount with them.

    “Take them out to dinner” each month via the Razoo tool above. If every one of their followers gave $25 a month, that would be huge for their ministry!

    I tried to comment on The Generous Husband and it would not let me in
    Jerry Stumpf recently posted…5 Provocative Ingredients To Spice Up Your Marriage Trust and IntimacyMy Profile

  3. Great post, Paul. BTW, John Gottman found that couples with lower expectations reported much lower marital satisfaction. Higher but reasonable expectations seemed to be the ideal.

  4. Interesting post. I tend to the ‘low expectations’ side of the scale, but I’ve never really found that it makes for a smaller life, because it does allow for pleasant surprises.

    It isn’t an indictment of human nature; I try to approach it as more of a realistic appreciation of the demands placed upon a spouse in the workforce in 2016. She HAS to be consumed by her work responsibilities to execute them effectively, an this is a large part of her self-image (and vital for us, as I am no longer able to work). I can accept a lesser role, and be supportive of her in her larger one. Does this make sense?
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 242 – When People Say The Wrong ThingMy Profile

  5. I, too, recall the discussion from Dr. Gottman about expectations.

    One interesting thing thought train this post led me down is how God seems to manage expectations. He has very high expectations for us (“Be ye therefore perfect…” Matt 5:48), but He knows that we will never truly live up to that expectation. So, the Son provides an atonement by which the Father can extend grace to us and tolerate our imperfections because of the Son’s perfection.

    Of course, the corollary to God is an imperfect one, because our relationship to God is one of Creator/created and not peer/peer. But the idea I see is to be able to hold both high expectations for the relationship, and have the ability to extend grace when our spouse inevitably fails to meet those expectations.

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