Check Your Expectations

waffleheartWe’re officially into February now, friends, which means that Valentine’s Day is right around the, gasp, corner. Today, I wanted to share a nice little tip that might help everyone as we heading into this treacherous holiday:

Check your expectations.

Yikes! And I mean that in the kindest, possible way, my dear. What are your expectations for Valentine’s Day?

Do you expect your honey-bunny to bring you roses or chocolates or diamond rings? Do you want a night out? A night in? A night with your buds? A simple card? Maybe you just want a couple of hours to yourself. Or your loved one’s undying devotion (um, ok).

I ask because Valentine’s Day is one of those notorious days where we married folks tend to go down in flames. One spouse will have giant expectations of what that day should be and do and look like (which includes something like hot-air balloons and candle-lit dinners) while the other is happy to just, uh, chillax on the couch.

Sound familiar?

I’m not exempt from this one, my dears, no sirree. In fact, for the longest time, Ken used to tell me that my expectations were what was really causing me trouble.

What did he mean by that? I didn’t get it.

Simple, he said. “You expect a person or an event to be a certain way, and then when it’s not, you get disappointed.”

Um, yup. He was right. (He knows me well, that man.)

“Lower your expectations,” he said, “and you won’t be so disappointed.”

Well! You can imagine the conversation that came after that one. I didn’t want to lower my expectations, yadda yadda whine yadda.

But over the years, I’ve come to see he’s right. Because when I’m able to be more flexible in what I think should happen (note the use of that should word, shudder), things go a lot smoother–for all of us. When I can step away from that either-or/ black-or-white type thinking, a whole new world of possibilities starts to open up. (Cough: much like our current political craziness. Why such divisiveness, folks? I mean, seriously. We must learn to work together. Hatred never solves anything. Love and connection? That’s the path out. But I digress.)

So. Here’s what I’d like to suggest this Valentine’s Day: take a moment to examine your expectations. What is it you really want from your spouse this holiday? Is it a feeling? Is it a day together? A giant-ass gift?

Then sit down with your spouse and tell him/her.

Yes! That’s exactly what I said.

Speak up and ask for what you need. Calmly and respectfully.

Then–gasp–ask your spouse to do the same.

Because this is how healthy relationships are built, folks. With open communication and clear requests.

Not drama. Not dictatorships.

But partnerships. True partnerships, by people taking responsibility and asking for what they need. With respect and kindness, no less.

That, I’m pretty sure, is real love. Not that fake stuff they try to sell you in the store.

Real love. Trust and connection.

So, whaddya say? Willing to give it a shot?

I’d love to hear how it goes!

What will you ask your spouse for this Valentine’s Day? Leave a comment below. 

P.S.: I’m going to be starting a new Reclaiming Yourself After Loss and Change workshop on Feb. 22nd. Interested? Know someone else who is? Click here for info.

P.P.S: I’ll be LIVE on Facebook at noon (MST) next Wednesday, Feb. 8th, talking about Three Simple Ways to Help You Move Through Grief. Come on over and join us if you have a sec!

 

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