I was slamming toys into the toy box that night. That’s how angry I was that I came home to a messy house after a girls night out.
What was the problem? The problem was that I had an expectation that the house would be clean when I came home, but it was not.
Today’s podcast will look at how unmet expectations can kill the intimacy in your marriage and what you can do about it.
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Welcome to A Life Designed.
My name is Tina Haisman. I teach busy moms how to get everything done and still have time and energy for themselves and their families. My passion is for helping women become the mother, wife and career woman they want to be.
The topic of today’s podcast is Expectations are Killing the Intimacy in Your Marriage
But before we get started I want to let you know I have a FREE private group on Facebook where you can come to get inspiration for your life. It’s called A Life Designed. I hope you’ll join us!
Also, I have created a free download call the Ultimate Guide to Guilt-Free Self-Care. It’s a Guide to help you take care of yourself in mind, body and spirit so you can feel like your best self every day. Visit my website tinahaisman.com to download it.
Now let’s Dive IN and talk about how Expectations are Killing the Intimacy in Your Marriage
I am going to share a story with you and then a teaching. You might not have this exact story in your marriage, but I hope you can relate it to a time in the past when your husband did not meet your expectations.
I remember a time when my children were little. Alyssa was probably one, and Tyler four.
I had just joined a Bunco group in my neighborhood, and I loved it! It was a chance to get out with other moms and relax and talk and have fun! I loved it!
Of course, I always needed my husband to “babysit” on those nights so I could go and relax.
One night I came home, probably somewhere between 11 and midnight. I walked into a mess. All I can remember is that the family room was completely messy with toys everywhere.
The anger I felt was immediate and it was volatile. Paul was nowhere to be seen, but I think he was in his office.
I started picking up the toys and slamming them into the toy box. This was VERY unlike me. But I was so angry.
Paul came out of his office, now angry, too, and said, “What are you doing?” I have no idea what I said exactly, just something about picking up the toys, and I was not nice about it. I think venom must have been spewing out of my eyes.
He said, “You’re going to wake up the kids.”
No words came out of my mouth. Just more slamming of toys into the toy box. I was so mad.
“You get a night out, and this is how you come home and react,” he says.
Woah. That was the WRONG thing to say, Mr!
So, I heatedly replied to him, “It’s not a night out for me if I have to come home and clean up this mess. You should have done it.”
I was so angry, you guys. I can feel that anger in me right now as I tell you this story. I felt so disrespected. I felt unloved. I felt like he didn’t care about me.
And THIS is where the problem came in. Those feelings. I tied emotions to my expectation that my husband would clean up the house before I got home.
I expected that the house would be clean when I came home. And when it was not clean when I came home, I got angry and felt sorry for myself.
What I have learned since that time is that when we tie our emotions to the behavior of another person we are asking for trouble.
Check this out. James 4:1-2, reads, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it.”
Whoa. I wanted a clean house when I came home, but I did not get it.
I thought my expectation was reasonable. I wanted the toys picked up at the end of the night. We normally did that when I was home at night. I expected it would be the same if I was not home.
A cleaned up living room was important to ME. But, it wasn’t important to my husband. He didn’t care about the toys all over the living room. They were not a problem to him.
So, and this might sound harsh to some of you. But since I’m the one that cares about the cleaned up living room, I’m the one that needs to take responsibility for it. I have two choices – clean it up or leave it messy. Either way it’s not a problem.
Where the problem came in is when I tied my emotions to the messy living room. When I got angry and took his lack of cleaning up the toys to mean much more than it did.
As you can see, tying emotions to how we expect others to act is risky business.
Here’s what I would like to teach you about expectations that will alleviate much suffering in your life. Are you ready?
Each of us is responsible for meeting our own needs. No one else on this planet is responsible for meeting our needs. There are two reasons for this.
First, when we expect someone else to meet our needs, we are, in essence, forcing them to do or be something that WE want them to be. We are trying to change them. And control their behavior. We should ask ourselves, would I want my husband attempting to control my behavior? Probably, the answer is no. So that’s the first reason.
But here’s the second reason. And it’s a biggie. If we rely on another person to meet our needs, that means we give them the power over our emotions. So, if they do something to make us feel happy, we feel happy, but if they do something to make us feel sad, we feel sad.
Do you want to give your power away like that? This means that the only way you are going to feel happy is if your husband behaves how you want him to.
I’m here to tell you, this approach does not lead to happiness in marriage. Because I have been there.
What does lead to happiness in marriage is letting go of expecting our husbands to behave a certain way.
And guess what! This feels like freedom.
I am imagining a string connected between me and my husband. The string represents the tie of my emotions to his behavior. When I let go of expectations, I cut the string and we are both free. It feels so much better than worrying over whether or not he will do something that makes me feel happy.
This doesn’t mean we can’t ask our husband to pick up the toys on a girls night out night. Or take out the trash on a regular basis. Or whatever we would like to ask of him. But. We shouldn’t tie our happiness on whether or not he does what we have asked. AND we shouldn’t make it mean that he doesn’t care about us.
If you’re struggling with this, instead of getting angry at your husband and slamming toys like me, try to ask him about why he is not doing what you are asking of him. And really listen to what he is saying. He likely has a reason that makes a whole lot of sense.
If we truly want to be happy and at peace in this world, we have to let go of our expectations for how we think other people should act. Our happiness should not be dependent on anyone else’s behavior.
And in fact, it doesn’t really. As many of you know, I teach The Model, a concept put together by Master Coach Instructor Brooke Castillo. In this model, a circumstance, happens, we have a thought about it, which causes us to have a feeling about it, which causes us to take an action, which brings about a result.
So, in our example today the circumstance is that my husband did not pick up the toys. My thought was that he should have picked up the toys. I felt anger, which caused me to slam toys into the toy box, which then caused the result of an argument with my husband and killed the intimacy in our marriage for the evening.
So, maybe a sporadic incident like this doesn’t cause too much trouble in marriage, but repeated incidents like these are killing the intimacy in our marriages in a big way.
The great news is that you can stop the insanity and bring the intimacy back!
I know this is a big concept to grasp. And it is so much more easily said than done. If it is resonating with you, start practicing with it on small expectations before working on the big ones. See how it goes.
If this is something you would like to work on cultivating further, reach out to me for a Marriage Coaching session.
That’s all I’ve got for today.
Remember! I have created the Ultimate Guide to Guilt-Free Self-Care to help you feel like your best self every day. You will find it on my website.
Don’t forget to join the Life Designed Community on Facebook!
Thank you! See you next week!