Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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We complicate and create conflict in our relationships when we have unrealistic expectations of those we love.  We do that by expecting the wrong things from the wrong people.  When we do so, the result is disappointment for us and frustration for others.

Spouses often over-complicate their marriages with inappropriate expectations.  It is good for your spouse to be your best friend.  It is good for your spouse to be your confidante.  But you cannot expect your spouse to be responsible for your happiness.  It is not your spouse’s job to keep you amused or happy at the expense of pursuing his or her own interests.

For instance, my husband loves to watch sports.  Now, if he expected me to sit with him and watch football, he would be disappointed.  I have very little interest in the game.  And if I sat and watched football with him, I would be frustrated because there are about 50 other things that I would rather do on a Sunday afternoon.  So he doesn’t expect me to entertain him in that way.  He takes responsibility for his own happiness.

Sometimes parents complicate their relationships with their children by trying to have their children be their caregivers.  This is about the most unfair thing that you can do to your children.  Children are meant to be taken care of by their parents, not vice versa.

In fact, children, even adult children, want parents who are confident, stable,  and secure role models.  Children have no desire to babysit their parents.  Nor do they wish to see their parents behave in a manner that is immoral or lacking in self-control.  That, unfortunately, is the burden of being a parent – you are called to a higher standard of behavior because you have a 24/7 audience who is watching your every move.

Now when our parents become elderly, those roles change to a certain extent.  Elderly parents naturally need the help of their children.  However, until then, it is a recipe for disaster for parents to expect their children to be their caregivers.

In all of our relationships, whether they be with our friends or our family, we should be careful to have appropriate expectations.  We shouldn’t burden our relationships with unfair expectations.  As you prepare for the coming new year and begin making your resolutions, consider whether you are expecting the right things from the right people.  Ask yourself, “Are my expectations of people in line with their roles in my life?  Am I improperly expecting others to be responsible for my happiness, or am I in charge of my own happiness?”  When we ask ourselves those tough questions, that is the first step to having simpler, happier relationships.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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