Letting Go of Expectations

We were sitting across the living room from each other. Me on one couch, Matt on the other.

“You’re much easier to live with now.” Matt’s face was honest, and his words true.

There’s no doubt this very statement would’ve offended me at one time, but now I can handle the truth about myself. My own ugliness doesn’t repulse me anymore.

Looking at my husband, who not too long ago was clawing to get out of our home, I saw a man full of love and contentment. I was staring into the eyes of happiness, and I know he was looking back into eyes of happiness too.


“I used to walk around on egg shells, and I never knew how you were going to be when I got home.” He continued his reminiscing.

“I know.” I didn’t try to stop him. We sat for a few minutes in silence, we both pondered life before I changed, then we finished our tender moment with a kind smile, and I left Matt alone while I went on the wild ride of putting the kids to bed.

My change came in the wake of pain, wounds and devastation. What may have taken years or even a lifetime for me to change, happened within months, because of the crisis of Matt’s affair.

What happened? How did this change for the good happen? I let the wounds change me. I could’ve blamed Matt, and all the ones who came before him that wounded me, for my plight, but I didn’t.

I opened myself up to my own darkness, and I let go of control of everything else. Sounds crazy even to myself, because I’ve never been described as a controlling person, but the more honest I was with myself the more I realized just how much I had certain expectations that left me in a control lurch when things and people didn’t fit my expectations.

The perfect example is Matt. Walking into a Christian marriage, I had a certain image what a Christian husband should be. *cue Leave it to Beaver*

A God-fearing man should be home by 6, tenderly nurture his wife and children around the dinner table, and pray a blessing before bedtime. He should plan weekly dates with me just to talk the deep things of God, the condition of our hearts, and evaluate our life plan.

Except, our life looked more like Everybody Loves Raymond.

I couldn’t handle the disappointing reality, so instead of letting go, and letting Matt be the man he was, and is, I built up anger and resentment. The more I suggested, prayed, and tried to make him be the perfect Christian husband marriage books told me a husband should be, the more he failed my expectations, thus causing more anger and more resentment. And so things went, me caught on my Merry-go-round.

Then, I let it all go. I’m serious. I blew up the Leave it to Beaver image in my head. I then spread its ashes over the ocean of Love. I accepted Matt, “the imperfect, not always praying blessings, not always talking the deep things of the heart, but loves us deeply” Matt, and I’ve done the same with my kids, and with myself.

It’s astounding how just letting go of my expectations, my control, and accepting the beautiful messy reality has made me and my journey so much happier.

What expectations can you let go of that will make room for more happiness?

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9 thoughts on “Letting Go of Expectations

  1. Christy says:

    Oh man, I have wrestled with expectations of other people’s roles in all capacities–bosses, family members, boyfriends, etc. and have realized the my skewed expectations often set them up for failure in my own eyes. I was reminded of this again last week and am constantly having to lay these things down, step out from under the hurt of past experiences and hold open hands towards the relationship. Thanks for being honest and vulnerable and reminding me to do the same.

    • Charity says:

      Yep. I’ve had so many people fail in my life, not because of their complete failures, but because I had unrealistic expectations! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Faith Raider says:

    Yes yes and yes! For me it was one day listening to the radio about credit card debt and I felt God tell me that this was what I was doing to my marriage – I was loading it down with relational debt. I felt like my husband “owed me” attention, help etc/ when I let go of that God moved in and began teaching me what unconditional love really means and it Rocked My World – I am so thankful for what God has taught me by laying down my expectations of what my husband should do/act and just love him because he is the man God gave to me to love. I stay open to be loved when I’m not shut down angry & bitter… okay, I’m rambling.. just wanted to say YES. And I loved this post 🙂

  3. Laurie says:

    I want to let go but I can’t seem to. My life sucks at almost 40. It’s a huge disappointment. I’m single, in debt, lonely and afraid. This is my life and I refuse to accept it. I want to because I know that would lead to relief, freedom and maybe (gasp!) happiness but, I can’t seem to let go of what I think my life should look like in comparison to the real thing. I’m glad you were able to and that you are happy. You deserve it. I think I do too but, I’m still waiting. Love you!

    • Charity says:

      You deserve happiness and goodness! I know it’s hard not to look at the current circumstances, and think this is how it’s always going to be, but it won’t always be like this. Keep your chin up and keep working on accepting it all! Love you too!

  4. Sarah Day says:

    It can be so freeing to let go of expectations, but it is so hard to do. It took me years to make peace with the idea that I could not change other people. (And I still try sometimes.)

  5. Pingback: Seven Ways to Practice Forgiving Yourself - The Wounded Dove

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