ERG: Step 3 – Evaluate How Realistic Your Expectation Actually Is
In the third step of our journey through the Expectation Reality Gap (ERG), we focus on evaluating the realism of our expectations and it’s alignment with God’s will. This evaluation is not just about discerning whether our expectations are achievable, but also if they resonate with the spiritual path God intends for us.
The Essence of Realistic Expectations
Realism in expectations is key to a harmonious life. It’s important to distinguish between what is a reasonable expectation and what might be an imposition of our own desires onto situations or people, especially in close relationships like marriage.
Aligning Expectations with God’s Will
Romans 12:2 advises us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This scripture urges us to evaluate our expectations not just against worldly standards, but against the wisdom and plan God has for our lives.
Managing Expectations in Marriage
Let’s consider a practical example from marriage. A realistic and fundamental expectation in marriage is fidelity. Both partners expect and commit to being faithful to each other, which aligns with both Christian values and the mutual trust foundational to the marriage covenant.
Conversely, expecting a spouse to never be late for any event or commitment can be unrealistic. Life is unpredictable, and circumstances often arise beyond our control. An expectation like this can lead to unnecessary frustration and conflict.
In my own marriage, I learned the importance of adjusting my expectations. Initially, I found myself upset when my spouse was occasionally late due to work or traffic. Over time, and through prayerful reflection, I realized that my irritation was more about my desire for control rather than any significant issue. Instead of focusing on the uncontrollable – my spouse’s punctuality – I shifted my expectation towards how I responded to these situations, fostering patience and understanding.
Practical Steps for Evaluating Expectations
Prayerful Reflection: Spend quiet time with God, reflecting on your expectations. Ask for wisdom to discern which are in line with His will for your life.
Seek Godly Counsel: Talk to a spiritual mentor or a trusted Christian friend. They can offer insights and help in discerning the alignment of your expectations with God’s plan.
Assess Impact and Feasibility: Consider how your expectations impact your relationships and daily life. Are they fostering love and understanding, or causing stress and conflict?
Adjust Expectations: Be willing to adjust your expectations. This might mean accepting that some things are beyond your control and focusing instead on your response and attitude.
Evaluating our expectations for their realism and alignment with God’s will is a critical step in managing the ERG. In marriage, as in all areas of life, this means distinguishing between what is essential and what can be adjusted for the sake of harmony and spiritual growth. As we continue in this series, we will explore the importance of clear communication of our expectations, which is vital in effectively managing and bridging the gap between expectation and reality.
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