I made online friends with this incredible man, Corey Allan. He has a terrific blog – SimpleMarriage.net, and I asked if he would write something special for us – here it is:
When you get right down to it, you hear what you expect to hear, you see what you expect to see.
Expectations change the experience.
If you walk into a conversation with a friend and expect it to be a litany of complaints about their job or relationship or the state of the world, then more than likely that’s exactly what you’ll get. At the same time, another friend could enter the same conversation with a more open approach and interest in connecting with their friend and walk away from the conversation feeling energized and excited.
So what’s the difference?
Expectation change the experience.
And this rule applies to relationships.
The patterns that infect every important relationship comes from your parents. Like it or not, the way your parents modeled marriage and family influences what you do in your own marriage and family.
If you had an affectionate relationship modeled by your parents, you will most likely carry the model forward or perhaps go to the other extreme in order to break the cycle, either way the influence is there. If your parents were good communicators when it came to the sticky topics; money, discipline/parenting styles, intimacy, then you most likely can handle the tension most people try to avoid when it comes to talking about some of the tough things in life.
If this information gets you down, don’t worry. You can change the pattern if you choose. When you understand some of the forces at work in your relationships and life, you attain the possibility of being able to have your past no longer dictate your future.
When some light is shed on this process it’s easy to see why important relationships are so much work. There are two family systems fighting to gain control of this newly formed system. Coupled with the idea that you see what you expect to see and hear what you expect to hear, no wonder there are times of conflict in your relationship.
There are many people I have worked with that are shocked at this fact. Apparently they have held on to the fairy tale version of marriage for too long. Maybe you have too. Movies and TV portray relationships as an alluring time of romance, love, laughter and joy.
You know what I mean, “and they all lived…”
If you can complete that sentence, you’ve had that illusion as well.
What do you expect from your relationship and marriage?
The onus rests on your shoulders to make the most out of your life.
If you expect things to be tough, most likely they will be. If you expect your marriage to be rocky, it will. I’m not advocating that you don’t examine reality honestly, but when you get right down to it, expectations are really just planned disappointments.
What if you change your focus or outlook on things? I’ll bet some aspects of life will begin to change as well. Problems in life and relationship are inevitable, struggling is optional.
Rather than spending a lot of time trying to change the wind in your life, adjust your sails.
Let this phrase sink in when it comes to your relationship, “I can only control me!” When you have the right view of things, you can spend less time worrying about what he is doing or why he’s not “in to you” or whatever and more time growing and improving yourself.
It’s like what Rori has written on several times before, “what you think about yourself goes a long way towards what he thinks about you.”
Try it. The next time you have a conversation or encounter with your boyfriend or husband, go into thinking “I can only handle the way I react and interact and free him to only handle himself” and see what happens. I think you may be pleasantly surprised. Let me know how it goes.
Read more from Corey at SimpleMarriage.net, and be sure to subscribe to SimpleMarriage.net’s RSS feed when you get there. Love, Rori