A flower blooming in the wrong season won’t thrive because the conditions of the season are not right. God wants your expectations to line up with the season you are in! 

Let’s talk about what happens when you follow after expectations, where they lead you, and the outcome they can produce.

First, what is an expectation?

I am not going to give you the Webster definition, I’m going to provide you with the Sheila version!  

Expectations in the world of Standing…….Creating an expectation in your situation is where you are looking for something specific, a feeling, emotion, action, reaction, behavior…..something from the situation to give you what you need. Give you what you desire to keep your hope alive, or give you encouragement that you are on the right path and to keep going in that direction.  Something that gives you some type of hope that your marriage is not dead and can be restored. Another way to look at the word expect is hope. 

So, with my definition of expectation, what kind of expectations do we embrace?

We expect/hope to see some type of guilt, shame, and regret. A longing to return. We expect to see them look at us with love, desire, and miss us. We expect to see them walk into our home and be touched. Come near us and give off some type of signal that we still mean something to them. 

We expect them to care about our feelings, our children’s feelings. Expect them to be reasonable in their demands, respectful, and considerate of our pain. We expect them to continue to be responsible and take care of everything they used to take care. Pay for the bills they created. Take care of the home, and pets. We expect them to not change a single thing, and continue to act the same exact way they used to.

We expect LOVE and proof they ever loved us. We need deeply to see some form of communication they understand they made a HUGE MISTAKE, and are thinking about how to correct that mistake. 

We are expecting too much!

We will look and analyze EVERY single move they make. Tear it apart. Look closely, under a microscope every single thing they say, not say. Do, not do. How they appear. We are looking for something, anything that gives our expectations some type of hope. This kind of analysis can mislead us. We can find hope that restoration is happening when it really isn’t. When we want to find something bad enough……..we can make it happen. 

Now, what happens when we don’t get what we expect/hope for?

 It brings loss, despair, discouragement, disappointment, and FEAR!

Loss of hope, loss of understanding. Loss of trust. Loss of proof we are doing the right thing and are on the right path. It takes our motivation and instead of being encouraged and strengthened, it brings oppression and discouragement. Not getting what you want can bring you down into a bad attitude where the anger from pain and disappointments take over. 

I have often talked about how impatience is one of the most destructive emotions you can have, well……….having expectations in the wrong thing is in the top 3 of destructive behaviors. When your expectations are NOT met, they can actually convince you to do the exact opposite of what God is asking you to do. You can actually talk yourself right out of the will of God by setting yourself up with the wrong expectations. 

I have seen people quit because they expected the divorce not to happen. Expected their spouse to not move to another state. Expected their spouse to pay child support, keep in contact with the kids. When the expectations were not met, they allowed the failure of what they expected to overwhelm them as PROOF they were never meant to stand, OR they just could not stand any longer. 

Failed expectations pack a HUGE punch! One that is a thief and can steal, kill, destroy your hopes, dreams, strength, and leave you truly angry and disgusted with your spouse, causing you to walk in the exact opposite of love. 

God doesn’t want us to live without hope and expectations. But He wants us to live with them being placed, through wisdom, on the right thing. That is so important. Instead of pinning our hopes and expectations on who they are now, at that season in their life, where they have fallen into darkness, we need to put our hopes and expectations on Jesus and who He is working towards transforming your spouse into. Sometimes, we can look back at the person they were, their character, morals, belief and be reminded that is who they truly are. Not the person they have temporarily turned into during this dark time. 

Why do you fall into the snare and trap of expectations?

I have found that when I was in the dark about what was really happening to my spouse, to our marriage, and why it was happening, I placed huge unfair expectations upon my spouse and our daily life. I wanted my lost, selfish, blind husband to ACT exactly the same exact way, handle the daily situations the same way. Think the same way he had before the storm came. I wanted him to handle every single thing like the person I had always known him to be. That was MY mistake and my blindness. 

Once God showed me that I needed to stop expecting a lost person, who was in the dark, to act like he was walking in the light of truth, I was able to get a better grasp of how I kept setting myself up for these huge pitfalls of disappointments I kept falling into.

He was snared in his own temptations, rebellion, selfishness. I had to stop expecting him to do what I would do and handle a situation the way I would. Think and feel about something the way I would feel. Believe the way I believed.  I kept falling into the “This makes NO sense to ME at all. That is not how he used to act, why is acting this way now?” trap. I had to stop expecting my husband to act like how he had always acted. This was no longer the man I had come to know, it was an entirely different (temporary) person. One that had a hard heart and was not capable of seeing the truth. 

Laying down expectations and hope was a scary thing. And I didn’t lay them all down. Instead, I laid down the unrealistic ones that kept biting me in the butt, and picked up some really excellent ones with the help of the Holy Spirit!

My old expectations yielded to Kingdome ones! I chose to put my hope in the plan that God had. His purpose was to save my husband and create a real, true relationship with him, so that is where I focused my expectations, and then I had to yield that it was happening even if I didn’t see it. I had to trust God had His very own set of things He was doing and expecting my spouse to react to.  I also found hope that this was a temporary season. I may not get what I want NOW from my spouse, but I expect after God’s will comes to pass, I will get that, and so much more! And I did. God has surpassed my expectations when it comes to who He returned back to me. 

God doesn’t want you to become weak through failed expectations. He wants you to grow STRONG in the hope of what He is working on doing in you and your spouse. He wants you to expect repentance. Expect a real, relationship to come from this, one where both you and your spouse recognize Jesus for exactly Who He is. God has HUGE expectations for both of you. Those are the ones YOU need to figure out what they are, hold onto them, and be patient as you wait to see them come to the light. 

Standing with you,
Sheila Hollinger


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(~Marriage Revealed Ministries Inc. is committed to helping bring healing and restoration to couples who are struggling in their marriage. We do this through the revelation of Who God is and His heart and design for marriage which never intends abuse in any form. If you suspect abuse in your relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit them online at thehotline.org~