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Feb 4

Don’t Fear Love – Pt 1 of 10 – Ten Days Of *Loving* Advice

Posted on Friday, February 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

I cannot begin to guess how many people have trusted me with their relationships.  They’ve shared their triumphs and their troubles.  As I’ve  listened I’ve learned.  Some lessons I’ve learned better than others.

Excursus – Ahem, I’M SORRY Amy, you’ve deserved better!

This week while listening to the insights and wisdom of our TreeHouse teens as they discussed — or should I say “disgust!” — the subject of LOVE I felt both sad and hopeful.

What if they knew what I’ve learned from so many others?

What if they applied principles, practices and standards to their relationships that help others love one another?

What would their relationships be like?

How blessed would the generations that followed us be if we determined that our lives would be led by love?

What have I learned?


Expectations.  We all have them.  They may be spoken or unspoken.  They may be known to us.  They may be known to others.  Whether anyone is aware of them or not, they are there.

Expectations can be private — “I know I care about this, you don’t” — or public — “We both know that I can about this”.

Expectations can be mutually agreed upon — “We both care about this” — or they can be a personal concern — “I care about this, you don’t”.

Public or private, shared and agreed upon or not, we all have expectations.

As I think about my own conflicts it’s often unclear expectations.

Here is a communication tip to help you express your expectations more clearly:  Communicate, as much as possible, on an interest level rather than on a position level.

What’s that mean?

A “Position” can be defined as what you say, assert, argue for, or demand.

An “Interest” is what you really care about – consciously or not – around this issue.

Far too often we focus on our positions rather than our interests.

Position – “You always make me drive!”

Interest – “I want to play Angry Birds on my phone too!”

Position – “You never talk to me!”

Interest – “I’m not suspicious, there is no one I care more about than you.  I want to know more about you.”

Position – “We need to talk!”

Interest – “I don’t want hurt feelings getting in the way of our love. Let’s try hard to settle fights within 24 hours.”

Ask yourself: How often do you hold back what you are thinking in a conflict?  Why is that?

How often do you wonder what the other is thinking after she or he says something in the midst of a conflict?

Why do you think he or she is holding back?

Fear.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of abandonment.  Fear of loneliness.  Fear of you!

One of the keys to overcoming those fears is having clear expectations.

Decide together the expectations you have about conflicts.

When I provide premarital counseling one of their first assignments is to separately write down twenty-five expectations that they have for one another and their relationship.  Twenty-five seems like a lot, but we usually have far more than that if we really think about it.  The expectations are there whether we know it or not.

Train’s song If It’s Love talks about shared expectations.  You can enjoy it here:

Bring on the comments

  1. […] Yesterday I wrote about the importance of having clear expectations in your relationships.  If you have not read it you might want to do so now.  Here it is: […]

  2. Good stuff there brother!
    I enjoy the:
    Position – “You always make me drive!”

    Interest – “I want to play Angry Birds on my phone too!”
    If you change the interest to: ” I can’t see above/past the snow banks and am afraid to drive out of the parking lot”…we are in business. Hahah

  3. Bwah-hah-hah! And, you’re welcome Angi THANK YOU for reading and commenting!

  4. Agreed. One of the best things my wife and I did before we got married was discuss our expectations of each other. We discussed everything from little things like who’s going to take out the garbage to big things like are we going to have children and how many?

  5. Thanks Troy! I so agree. We learned how important communicating expectations is then. We continue to realize the list lengthens and we need to re-visit the dialogue so that we don’t let anger rise and bitterness reside when our expectations are unmet.

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