Two weeks ago I shared how I was finally dating a godly man, and I was less than enthused. I knew he wasn’t meeting my expectations, but I couldn’t have even told you what exactly those expectations were. So one tear-filled afternoon, I finally forced myself to sit down and identify my expectations for a dating relationship.
I realized how much culture had informed my expectations rather than God’s Word.
You might not have a boyfriend yet, but I’m positive you know what it’s like to feel blue because your expectations didn’t pan out. Maybe that new haircut didn’t transform you into an instantaneous beauty queen like you expected it to. Or that 4.0 didn’t get you the praise you thought it would.
So what should you do when the tears start to fall, and you find yourself head to head with unmet expectations?
- First, grab a pen and some paper, and write down your expectations that aren’t being met.
- Then go back and examine each one. Are your expectations based more on truth or on a lie? Do they line up with God’s Word?
- If they’re not based on truth, confess to God that you’ve been believing lies, and begin to praise Him for revealing truth to you.
Jesus said in John 8:32,
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Here, look over my shoulder at what I wrote down about my (unmet) expectations for dating:
I expect . . .
- His full attention, but he has other interests. For example, he comments on trees and fields we drive by rather than only having his eyes and mind glued on me.
- Magnetic eye contact, but he doesn’t drink me in with his eyes. His eyes seem under control.
- Never-ending interest in me—and all that interests me—shown by question asking. But he doesn’t ask nearly as many questions as me.
- Him to always be pushing the envelop physically, not able to keep his hands and lips off me. Culture has always told me he’ll only want one thing, but he’s self-controlled and can keep his hands and lips off me.
- Fun, romantic, creative dates planned by him. We’ve only been to one nice restaurant, and we haven’t done that many fun, creative things together. But we’re also long-distance . . .
- Him to always want to talk to me. This just isn’t the case. We’re both very busy; him even more so than me.
- Continual compliments, mostly about how beautiful I am. He does compliment me often, just not often enough for my insecurities.
It was eye-opening to see my expectations spelled out so baldly on paper. As I looked at them, I realized how much culture had informed my expectations rather than God’s Word.
I wiped my hand over my eyes, picked up my pencil, and continued with a second list, based on things that are truly good:
A few things I didn’t expect that I do have . . .
- Friendship. He called me his “buddy” when he was here last week.
- Excellent communication. I didn’t know it could be so good.
- I’m totally myself with him. No pretenses, no holding back the truest parts of me.
- Influence. He mentioned this past week (again) how I “inspire” him.
- A self-controlled man. All the stereotypes and experiences I’ve had tell me men will pressure me. But he told me he doesn’t feel right “stealing the cookies out of the cookie jar” before he’s committed to me in marriage (referring to kisses).
- A humble man who’s honest about his weaknesses. This morning he texted me, “I continue to be amazed at how sinful I really am. Yowza!”
- An imperfect man whom I respect. I’ve seen his weaknesses and sin (though I’m sure not all of them), and I still respect him. I believe I see him growing in godliness. I will continue to watch for this.
Now that I’m on the other side of this tumultuous season, I share this with you to encourage you to do the hard work of identifying exactly what your expectations are. Then, if they’re not in line with God’s truth (like mine weren’t!), repent and turn from them. Renew your thinking with God’s truth instead.
Ultimately, Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). He alone will never disappoint. So here’s to not only having right expectations; here’s to our greatest expectations be firmly rooted in Him!