Have you ever found yourself burdened by expectations in your relationship? We all have. But as Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, wisely expressed, pouring all our expectations for happiness into one person’s hands can make marriage feel like hard work.
The truth is, expectations are often born out of our deep yearning for love and safety. However, no matter how hard your partner tries to fulfill those expectations, the feeling of safety and love may only last for a few moments or even a day. The cycle continues, and your partner must continuously strive to meet your needs. This is why relationships require effort.
But what if there was another way? What if expectations are not the key to experiencing more love in your relationship? Imagine love as a delicate flower, untouched and blossoming in its natural environment. If you were to pluck it, the flower would wither away, losing its beauty and vitality. Similarly, having expectations and trying to extract love from your partner is like bringing that flower indoors. It may prolong the experience, but it will never be fully alive again.
If you truly love your partner, let them be. Release the expectation for them to show love on your terms and timetable. You might be surprised by the myriad of ways they already express their love, which may have gone unnoticed. Just as I failed to recognize the love expressed through the untouched flower during a walk in nature.
In fact, expectations often limit our ability to see the countless ways our needs are already being met. We become blind to the moments when love is fully experienced because they don’t align with our predefined expectations. Consider how your own expectations may be limiting what you can receive. If you can expand your imagination beyond those limitations, what more could you envision? How many untapped possibilities of having your needs met have you unknowingly excluded?
One personal revelation I had was the existence of an unwritten list of qualities I deemed admirable: things I did, skills I possessed, achievements I obtained. However, upon abandoning that list, I discovered a multitude of other admirable aspects about myself that I had never known or noticed.
So, how do you get what you need without expecting anything from your partner? Love begins in your heart as a feeling. It can be instantly experienced without your partner fulfilling every expectation on your list.
When your heart is in sync with your mind, the heart takes the lead over the mind’s expectations. By residing in your heart, you become more connected with your partner’s needs as well as your own. While the mind may believe it acts in your best interest by protecting you, it is the heart that comprehends the bigger picture and finds solutions that meet both your needs and your partner’s.
Now, take a moment to reflect on your relationship expectations. Are they serving you? If you’re ready to explore this further, click here to download the Relationship Expectations worksheet. Embrace the possibility of transforming your relationship by relinquishing unrealistic expectations and discovering a more fulfilling path.