Are you a night owl? Or an early to bed, early to rise type? When you have some free time, do you hit the trails on your mountain bike? Or do you catch up on your latest Netflix binge? Would you rather go out on the town? Or have a few friends over for a dinner party? What about your spouse or partner? How would they answer? If you’re like most people, I’d bet that your lifestyle preferences don’t always align perfectly. If left untended, it can cause problems in the relationship and lead people to feel like they’re growing apart. But a difference of lifestyle choices doesn’t need to ruin a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, if your significant other has decided to get into robbing banks, that would probably be, should be, a deal breaker. But short of that, your relationship can thrive even when you don’t always have the same things on your bingo card.
A relationship is like a living thing. It grows, it evolves, it ages. The people in the relationship also grow and evolve and age. Along the way, lifestyle wants and needs can change, and for the relationship to continue to flourish, expectations need to be managed. And that can be tricky sometimes, especially when we’re talking about expectations of those who are closest to us. You don’t just want your husband to join the book club with you. You want him to want to join the book club with you. You want to share the experience together. It’s important to you. And you can easily move from just wanting him to join to expecting him to join. That can become a slippery slope. When you find yourself in a situation like this, it’s important to remember the criteria for what makes an expectation reasonable: Understanding, Willingness, Capacity, and Alignment with Vision.
Does your husband understand how important it is for you to share this experience together? You can’t just decide that he should know how you feel about it if you haven’t communicated it to him. Even if a book club isn’t exactly his bag, he might be up for giving it a try just because he knows how much it means to you. Which brings us to willingness. Is he willing to do it under any circumstances? If the answer to that question is no, then it’s pretty much end of story. There may need to be a larger conversation about why he outright refuses, but continuing to hold the expectation isn’t going to change his mind and it’s going to make you miserable. Next comes capacity. Unless he can’t read, he’s probably physically capable of joining a book club. Maybe there are other factors. Maybe he has anxiety around strangers or about sharing his thoughts to a group of people. Those are issues that can be addressed, but for the time being, a book club might not be the best fit. Finally, does it align with your vision?
If you’ve committed to sharing more experiences with your husband, then you’re probably on the right track. This just isn’t the right thing right now. Once you’ve analyzed the expectation and accepted that your husband doesn’t have to be excited about it, you can move beyond without resentment and look for something you’ll both get something out of. Like say, a bowling league. Hey, I don't know what you like. The point is, if you’re going to share an experience together, make sure it’s something that’s important to each of you. And if you still have an itch to join a book club, maybe you can find a friend to go with you.
When we hold an unreasonable expectation, WE suffer, and we create an impact for everyone around us. When we realize an expectation is unreasonable, we can choose to hold it and suffer and drive everyone around us crazy, or evolve it... either change the expectation itself, or change the person who will meet it. We dive into expectations in the Power Series. Click HERE to learn more and sign up!