Do you know what it is? Lack of communication? No. Lies? No. Infidelity? No. Money matters? Nope. Sex matters? Non. Third party influences? Rara, not that either. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting the effect of all the above issues BUT I now believe that there is one ill above these ills and in my humble opinion (IMHO) it is the number one relationship killer of all times. What is it?
I am a true fan of the book ‘The Shack’ so you will not be surprised when I say that my heart and mind grasped the truth of the above when I read this book by WM Paul Young. Expectations are the mark of bad, unhealthy and/or mediocre relationships. It is being in a relationship with preconceived notions of what needs to happen to make it work. Doing this I have learned opens us up to disappointment.
So if expectations kill relationships what are we to have then? We are to have Expectancy. What is that? It’s having a desire to be with someone with no agenda, no preconceived ideas but a whole lot of anticipation that good things were coming your way with that person. True, as humans, we will probably always have expectations but I see now that if we do not watch them carefully they have the potential to be huge problems in our relationships. Anyway, you know what? I shall leave you to think about this yourself. Permit me to just share with you a quote from the book which I believe sheds some light on the matter. Read it and think. May the spirit of God in you speak to you and cause change to be birthed in you in this area. I personally believe that many of our relationships will be healed as a result.
”Mack, if you and I are friends there is an expectancy that exists within our relationship. When we see each other or are apart, there is an expectancy of being together, of laughing and talking. That expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic….. But what happens if I change that expectancy to an expectation- spoken or unspoken? You are now expected to perform in a way that meets that expectation…Our living friendship deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements…”
How about that? Tell me, which do you prefer? Expectations or Expectancy? Can you just imagine how our friendships, marriages would be transformed if we lived in expectancy rather than in expectation? I will not lie, it has occurred to me that perhaps the reason why God can love us enough to live with us this way is because he is well, God. Only the divine can live like this, right? Wrong. Jesus Christ lived like this while he was here on earth and he was fully human. And that is exactly what he came to prove: That being human, we can still live divine as long as we remain bound to him, his spirit living in and through us.
Perhaps like me, you do want to enjoy the kind of life that expectancy brings but don’t know where to start. Perhaps like me, you look at your relationships, your marriage and can see how expectations are snuffing the lights out of you and all concerned. Fear not, I am sure God knows where we are on this journey of ours and I think were he able to leave in response to this article he would probably say:
“Salt and friend, I am not asking you to change anything about you. That is the Holy Spirit’s tasks and he knows how to do it without brutalising you. This whole thing: you becoming me is a process, not an event. So release yourself to him and chill.”
So, it’s not going to happen overnight but we must commit to choosing a life of expectancy over expectation. It is truly a better quality of life if you ask me. I mean who needs all the disappointment? I don’t.
Bola Essien-Nelson (aka Salt) is a blogger/author based in Lagos, Nigeria. You can connect with her via her blog – The Salt Chronicles on Blogger where she is ‘seasoning’ the world around her one salt blog at a time.