If there is one source of grief, anxiety, and stress I would spare my friends and loved ones, it is of distress due to the behavior of someone from whom they had no reason to expect anything better. We women are particularly prone to this.
That is not to say that men can’t fall into the same trap. They often do, and almost always when it comes to a woman they have romantic feelings for, but it’s not the focus of this post. Men, in general, seem to easier brush off slights from people whom they have only known for a short period of time, have only a working relationship with, or have always known were shady characters, even family members. I remember in childhood how boys would duke it out, brush off the dirt, and play basketball together the next day.
Disputes between girls however, would bitterly last the entire middle school year -or longer. Since few of us wake up at 30 years old to magically become more sane, mature human beings, we have to develop the right mindset early on. Or as I used to tell my oldest girls: A woman doesn’t simply one day wake up foolish. This is why, as a woman raising women, I want my daughters to internalize a measured attitude in their encounters with various people.
It’s extremely important to recognize that you can live the golden rule and extend kindness to others without prematurely extending trust. Additionally, when people give you a clear and unambiguous view of who they are and what they are capable of, believe them.
This is another blind spot we often fall prey to, brushing off what we know about people to replace it with what we wish they were or what we believe they can be as a result of our belief in their innate goodness and unseen potential. The good girl who saves the bad boy with her love is more than a cliche, but this extends far beyond the realm of romantic relationships and into many other relationships. It almost always produces more heartache than good fruit. When your expectations are reasonable and measured, you save yourself many of these troubles.
On the other hand, it is in no way ungodly or selfish to have expectations of those from whom you have every reason to expect a certain standard of behavior. It is reasonable to expect your parents to protect you, though not all do. It’s perfectly acceptable to expect your husband to treat you in the ways that he vowed to treat you on your wedding day. It’s reasonable to expect your best friend to keep a secret or be there for you when the chips are down.
It is not in the best interest of those who have a responsibility to love and protect you for you to pretend as if you don’t need them to fulfill the obligations that they voluntarily took on. You didn’t ask to be born. You didn’t force your husband to marry you and make vows. Heck, even the boss who hired you to work at his company did so with the understanding that the company would fill certain obligations as you fulfill yours.
The whole notion that “true godly women expect nothing form anyone” is foolishness. Long suffering and forgiveness are Christian virtues we must cultivate, but if you don’t expect anything then how can you describe the result of that as long suffering? What is there to forgive is the person had no obligation to do right by you in the first place?
However, the list of people from which we should have such lofty expectations is usually much shorter in reality than it is in our own mind.
Don’t place expectations onto people from whom you should have none.