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Two of the ways of dealing with Expectations are whether they are spoken or unspoken and whether they are realistic or unrealistic. Dr. Kim
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be cards, hearts, roses, chocolate and celebrating love. For many people, Valentine’s Day magnifies what they don’t have, for some it highlights what they’ve lost. At its worst Valentine’s Day creates expectations that can’t be met.
According to a study of divorce filings by Attorney Fee.com and Avvo.com two legal sites that both claim February is the busiest month for divorce filings. The biggest spike is after Valentine’s Day and February divorce filings are about 40% higher than other months. A number of websites for married people seeking affairs report the day after Valentine’s Day is their biggest sign-up day.
How can this be we might say? Love makes the world go round, and don’t we all want more love? It seems we do want more love and when who we are with doesn’t live up to the hype, the expectation, or the promise of romance adds we are constantly comparing ourselves to, we take drastic measures.
My husband and I saw it when we were out last weekend. A couple, and not a young one, couldn’t keep their hands off each other; they were kissing passionately, endlessly on the dance floor. We all silently said “Get a room”, and wondered what the rest of their life was like when they weren’t necking on the dance floor.
Maybe we can minimize our expectations and maximize what we can do for our partner. We can spend more time with them, compliment them, offer them a back rub, and have a laugh together. Try not to react to anything that rubs us the wrong way. Ouch, is a good word to use and then go on as if everything is good. Be in a happy mood, because life is good, and don’t expect romance to come out of thin air. Do our best to not expect one romantic thing to happen on Valentine’s Day. Lower our expectations.
If things haven’t been going that well, don’t take out all the stops and go to the most expensive romantic restaurant we can think of. It will be awkward, it will be budget breaking, and it will be disappointing. Instead go to a little coffee shop or dessert place, share a piece of cake. Take a walk, hold hands, talk about the mundane, but talk. Show someone we love them, without an expectation that they know how to respond in the way we want.
This is where we get in trouble. We want a certain response. Our partner often has no clue what that response is. We are hurt, they are completely mystified as to what they’ve done, said, didn’t do, or didn’t say.
The first step is always the most difficult but nothing will ever change until you take it. Dr. Kim
We have different love languages, many people do what they would like to have done for them. Many people do acts of service when their partner wants them to whisper sweet nothings in their ear. Other people’s partner’s whisper sweet nothings and it means nothing because where is the service and action that backs it up. Some people buy gifts and all the partner sees is the unnecessary credit card bill.
We have to be detectives to figure out what love looks like to our partner. Maybe we could do all five. Make them dinner, buy them a single rose, box of chocolates or a card, give them a back rub, give them a compliment, ask them to go for a walk, hold their hand and talk, and wrap up the evening with some steamy sex.
Oh, there we go with the specter of expectations. It’s so easy to expect more than something can be, and give. Can we love our partner for whom they are, and not expect them to be something they are not? Can we enjoy what they do, and not wish they were doing something else? Can we keep our expectations low enough that regular loving partners can meet them? Can we make it so our life is not one unmet expectation after another, because it would take more than a reasonable loving husband or wife to meet them?
Maybe we should just ignore Valentine’s Day? I think it’s best to embrace it with low expectations and think of what we can do for someone we love, instead of thinking about what they can do for us. If we can buy a card and not expect one in return, give a compliment and not expect one in return, give a gift and not expect one in return. I love the quote by Jessamyn West, “It is the loving, not the loved woman who feels loveable.
Love is a verb, the more we love, the more loving we feel. The more we expect from someone else the emptier we feel. We are in control of how much love we show, give, and the ways we show and give it. We can feel more loveable by being more loving.
The antidote to Valentine’s Day may be to see how much we can give instead of how much we can receive. If we give all we have and expect nothing in return we may find it is the best Valentine’s Day ever.
Expectations in marriage need to be shared. Dr. Kim
A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on those days when they struggle to like each other. Unknown
A wife needs to know that her husband is completely committed to her and to their marriage. Dr. Kim
Never stop being your husband’s girlfriend. Dr. Laura