Saturday, August 10, 2013

Expectations Ruin Relationships by Mark Foster - Book Review

If a Friend or Loved One Doesn't Meet Your Expectations, What Is the Likely Result?

I give someone a gift that I spent hours shopping for and I have built up this huge imaginary scene in my head of how thrilled they are going to be.  I see them gushing over the gift and I imagine my value as a loved one going up in their heart.  I might even be contemplating some benefit to me in terms of immediate affection or future attention.  Maybe they will think harder next time they get me a gift. 

There are quite a few things wrong with the above day dream. 

1.  It might turn out to be a nightmare.  Maybe the gift goes over like a lead balloon.  Maybe the person just has a hard time gushing.  Maybe they love the gift, but it doesn't result in any change in their behavior toward you at all.

2.  Many of your motives are selfish.  You are giving to get.  Even if your primary motive was to bless the socks off the recipient, you have now built up all kinds of rewards in your mind that you surely deserve for being such a wonderful giver.

It's that time of year again at the office.  Promotions, raises, and bonuses have all been determined, and today they will be announced.  You've worked hard and you expect to see all that hard work pay off today.  If all is right in the world, you should get everything you expect.  But have you considered:

1.  Maybe there is no place to promote you to.  Maybe the economy is such that raises are just not possible this year.  Could it be that the profits were poor, or increasing expenses will deny normal bonuses. 

2.  Possibly your evaluation of your work is not the same as the decision makers.

3.  You may have misunderstood or not paid enough attention to the process and systems that determine promotions, raises, and bonuses.

4.  The boss might not play fair.

5.  Your motives are once again all about you.  Of course you probably deserve all that you expect.  However, your motive should be to give your job 100% effort regardless of the results to you.  You are there to do a great job and to be paid per your agreement. 

When expectations are dashed, those failing to live up to the expectations are likely to be the subject of your ire.  The results may be no more than pouting, but could also include anger, a break in fellowship, retribution, or even mayhem. 

Mark Foster has written a very solid book on expectations that is very easy to read and understand.  He points to many of the expectations that we have of our spouses.  Our poor spouses commonly don't even know what we are expecting them to do

, and then it is possible that they just don't do it well enough or often enough.  When our spouse fails to do what is expected, we may shut them out at some level, and commonly not even tell them what is really going on. 

It doesn't take more than a quick evaluation of these expectations to see that they are all based on our selfish desires or our desire to control our spouse.  Can you think of one expectation that you have of your spouse, best friend, adult child, boss, or pastor that isn't based on selfishness or desire to control?

Please put that example in the comments.  

Regarding the book.  It is called Expectations Ruin Relationships.  It is only $2.95 in Kindle.  And it worth one hundred times that amount.  I assure you that if you read it carefully, do the study questions, and pray the prayers, you will change your expectations. 

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