Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Expectations ruin relationships 

 is a true saying. But it is also true that

Relationships build expectations.

   From people I don't know I expect very little, but as they prove their goodwill towards me and build a friendship, I begin to have certain expectations. If those expectations go unmet, the relationship dies. If they are met, the relationship grows, and I begin to have more and more expectations until a plateau is reached or perhaps a crisis intervenes that changes the dynamics of the friendship.

   Sometimes our expectations are built on unrealistic fantasies that no fellow human can meet. Such expectations ruin relationships. But unfulfilled expectations are not necessarily the result of expectations that are unreasonable. Often even very legitimate expectations go unmet due to the failure of those who have caused us, by one means or another, to expect better things from them.

   Concerning a close friend who began to take up more of his time than he desired to give, William Cowper wrote, "Customs very soon become laws. . . . Long usage had made that which at first was optional a point of good manners, . . . " He felt obliged to meet the expectations he had raised in his friend, and he did so (--- until he realized that she had fallen in love with him, which of course changed everything, and he cut off the relationship altogether.)

  When Daniel was in the habit of meeting God three times a day, we might suppose that God began to expect that meeting. If so, He was not disappointed, and Daniel continued to do as he had always done even in the threat of the lion's den.

   I have been thinking about these things for some time, but I have hesitated to write about them because I wanted to delineate the ramifications of it all. I wanted to explain what kind of expectations are proper and which ones are not. And I wanted to say when expectations ruin relationships and when a ruined relationship is the fault of the one who fails to meet expectations. But these things are deep and intricate, and I am able only to lay out the principle. There are two sides to every coin. To every thing there is a season. (Eccl. 3:1). A time to expect things and a time to give what is expected.  A time to  lower expectations and a time to expect great things.

~Somewhere in Utah~
~ and if you expect my pictures to have a direct connection with my subject,
you may want to lower your expectations. ~



  1. Good twist on an old truth, and that last sentence made me smile.

  2. When I was a young believer, Jean D. talked often about having no expectations. It took me awhile to understand, but now I get it. Yes, they can ruin relationships. Very thoughtful post, thank you!