Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Of Expectations...The Dream vs. Reality


The idea of dreams and expectations has come up a few times in the past day or two in some blogs/articles I've come across, and of course, it has gotten me thinking.

I think every girls grows up with some dreams about what her marriage will be like.

For me, getting married was always this elusive, 'out-there' experience that, in the back of my mind, I daydreamed what I thought it would be like. Or, maybe just what I wanted and hoped it would be like. Possibly the product of an overactive imagination or a glutton's diet of romance books and movies as a teen, I think I scripted line by line what I imagined it would be like and just sort of filled in the blanks myself.

How much that was in line with reality, I'm not sure. Actually- I'm pretty sure - not much at all.

I've read a few thoughts on this that have just brought me back down to earth, and honestly, has given me a more realistic look at married life and helped me appreciate what I have - which is a good, honest, loving, honorable man.

Boundless.org has an 'engaged' page with some good articles. There was one entitled 'Managing Expectations' that had some good things to say:

"My dad once told me that learning to manage your expectations of others (and others' expectations of you) is what makes life, well, manageable. I've found, however, that I have expectations about life that don't seem unreasonable; they're just not God's plans....

"None of these expectations were particularly
wrong, but they haven't been what God has had in store for me. And, honestly, that's been disappointing for me. I've learned to throw out certain expectations and go with whatever God has in store for me, but I find I still carry certain expectations about life around...

"Managing expectations and dealing with the disappointment of unmet expectations is something I'll spend my whole life doing — in my marriage, with extended family relationships, at work, in church. I pray that I have the courage and faith to follow God's path wherever it leads, especially when things don't work out the way I plan
."

Those thoughts helped me. We all have expectations and dreams for our lives. And I don't think they are always wrong - just not necessarily accurate. It comes down to trusting God when those expectations aren't met the way we think they should be. And it has helped me to know that those expectations just may not be part of God's plan for me - nothing more, nothing less. At least for the moment. Letting go of control once again.

I also came across this article at crosswalk.com. This guy (Hudson Russell Davis) wrote about his experience being single and then waiting for God to bring his wife. He finally got married and he had this to say in his article:

"There is a danger in wanting something very badly; it can become, in our minds, more than reality could ever provide. What we want can become pure fantasy in which real people have no place. Our own fantasies and dreams can conjure for us what is impossible to hold in flesh and blood—what is impossible to find in a person. Life punishes such frivolity through disappointment...

"...I am glad that I did not have a list of "expectations" for marriage as it has allowed me to be surprised, pleasantly surprised and excited by "discoveries." I had not scripted for myself the details. I had not visualized how all things would be and so I was not disappointed...


"It is not that we cannot expect certain things but that our list or "expectations" should be short indeed, lest it become a script for failure."


I think there is a lot of wisdom in that. Not just as a girl, but even well into my single adult years, I had visualized relationships and marriage down to such great detail, that in some ways, it was inevitable that I was setting myself up for disappointment. Not to say that James is disappointing, but who can measure up to a fantasy?

This article has helped me renegotiate my expectations. Like Davis says, not that we cannot expect certain things but to keep the list short. In that way, you leave room for surprises. And, I also think, it makes you a lot more appreciative of all the things your partner does and is. Because it is just who he is - not a report-card pronouncing 'pass or fail' of an unrealistic ideal.

The dreams of a little girl transformed into the reality of an adult. I think there is still room for wonder and surprises and dreams becoming reality. We just do not get the luxury of scripting it ourselves. The pen still remains, sometimes much to my frustration, in the hands of a very brilliant Author.

Such is the journey on planet earth...

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