There is nothing wrong with having expectations! If we never expected anything, mostly of ourselves, we would probably never get anything done. On the other hand, if we jumped off a cliff expecting to sprout wings before we reached the sharp rocks at the bottom, we would be very disappointed...........for about 1/100th of a second, that is! The problem there, if indeed one perceives it thusly, is that expecting a human being to suddenly exhibit behavior we normally attribute to birds is pretty unreasonable. Expecting to be able to jump far enough out over the cliff to land in the deep water is not so unreasonable, though it's pretty risky, no matter ones physical condition. The expectations we have of ourselves, however, are somewhat different than those we have of others. When we expect things of others, we must take into account, among other things, the feelings of that person. For instance, a person may, to all appearances, be as fit as a fiddle, but if they're having an 'off' day, make one tiny mistake/miscalculation, etc., it could mean the difference between life & death!
Marriage, at least as we're most familiar with the term ( pun intended ), is such a proposition. As most popularly defined, marriage is full of expectations. The husband is expected to provide for his family; in the same vein, the wife is expected to support him in his endeavor, as well as to nurture & care for any children that result. This is not to say that this is necessarily wrong, in & of itself, for to provide for the other person, especially what he or she cannot provide for themselves, is an important, if not absolutely necessary, part of any relationship. This applies as well to both husband & wife. When these expectations are not met, for whatever reason, the relationship often hits the sharp rocks at the bottom of the cliff!
The problem with having expectations, even when they're 'reasonable', is that we'll almost always be disappointed! This is not, though, to say we should NOT have them ( ? ), for 'as above, so below'; if we don't expect anything, in particular, of ourselves, we'd never get anything done, personally speaking. The problem appears when we base our happiness on those expectations. When we're happy or satisfied with our partner only when he or she fulfills our expectations, our happiness won't last long, nor will it be true happiness. For true happiness, one must simply BE!
Living without expectations, whether positive or negative, is truly the best way to BE! When one doesn't expect anything, whether from their partner or themselves, they will never be disappointed! It is difficult, I will admit, to be in ANY kind of relationship without having expectations, but in order to remain in ANY relationship, we must learn to deal with disappointment, or else to live without expectation. Living without expectation is not easy, in fact, in this day & age, I daresay that most people perceive it to be well-nigh impossible. It is, however, NOT impossible! If we do not expect anything from anyone, much less ourselves, as above, we will never be disappointed. If we're never disappointed, we have nothing to be unhappy about. If we have no reason to be unhappy, we can only BE......you guessed it; HAPPY!
To be happy in ANY relationship, particularly marriage, we must learn to live without expectations! 'But', one might say, 'I expect my wife/husband to act according to to their marriage vows; that's what he/she signed up for!' Marriage is more than vows & though, according to the institution of marriage, a man or women has a 'right' to expect certain things of their partner, they also have the 'right' to be disappointed when all these things are not fulfilled! Marriage being more than just an agreement between two persons; when two souls are united, realizing their spiritual nature, the following relationship cannot be based upon any personal expectations. Such a relationship is eternal, not being based on expectations, but rather, being 'grounded' in the heavens!
One might well say that to have expectations is a purely human condition! It is in our human 'vehicle', this biological wonder that we are blessed ( ? ) to inhabit, that 'feelings', or more correctly 'emotions' originate. This, really, is not quite true either; our individual soul, one might note, is actually the origin of our 'feelings'. Our emotions, from which come expectations, are based in perception, which DOES originate with our human nature. Programming, or training, also has something to do with our perception. Whether religious or 'secular'' ( ?), we have all been taught, or trained to expect certain things of certain people. It is only by returning to the beginning that we can overcome this 'conditioning'!
To return to the beginning, we must first realize that we are not here simply to 'perform'! This is not to say, of course, that we must do nothing, or even that we SHOULD do nothing; there is plenty that we should & must do! For instance, we must do what we can to maintain this vehicle so that we can fulfill our purpose in this biology, in this incarnation; we should do our best to provide for those we have placed in our care ( wife, children, etc. ): all this is personally speaking. We, however, as we've explored to some length in this blog, are More than the Person; we are More than just Doing: we are BEing ( s )! Not just Human Beings either, though this cannot be denied, nor should it be overlooked ( ? ): we are, at heart, in our innermost BEing; of a Spiritual Nature, Pure Energy, some would say. In order to bypass the Pressure to Perform, this is what we must return to; the realization that, while we are in this incarnation, in this biology, for a Higher Purpose; we are here primarily to BE, not to DO, though again. there is that! May we, as Higher Beings with a Higher Purpose, help others to realize this Glorious Fact!
Namaste' & Blessed Be!
Charles Haddon Shank