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April 05, 2017 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

Little Magpie: Bill - He will make meals, get fuel in the car, etc. but though I appreciate him doing these things it doesn't speak anything to me.

Bill: Little Magpie: This is, IMO, where the expectation battle is at its most intense. Let me use your description as an example. Your H is expressing love by doing things for you (because this is the language he speaks). You don't feel the love because it is not the language you speak. If you felt free, you would give H gifts to express love. He wouldn't feel loved because it is not his language. As a result, you are both saying, "I love you" but neither of you is hearing this. The best scenario is for each of you to learn the other person's language and speak it often. This would make both of you feel loved and add confidence to all you do. This is a very selfless pursuit, however, and many couples find this difficult. The next possibility is to train yourselves to recognize the love that is being expressed. To use myself as an example, Pam likes to do things for me to let me know she loves me. I would rather have her sit with me, talk over what is going on in our lives and enjoy a relaxing meal or cup of coffee. This often makes her feel restless. On good days, I accept her acts of service as statements of love. On my less than stellar days, I am just frustrated that she "won't" speak my language.

 

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April 05, 2017 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

Little Magpie: Hello Swan

Swan: Hello everyone, welcome to Wednesday evening chat

Swan: Little Magpie - Hi, how are you this week?

Swan: Hi Bill, hope all is well with you and your family. So how is the boat (home) shopping going, have you decided on one yet?

Bill: Good evening Swan and Little Magpie.

Little Magpie: Hello Bill, good to see you

Bill: Swan: Thank you. The family is doing well. We have narrowed or boat choices and are planning on presenting an offer this week sometime. Thanks for praying.

Swan: Bill - It sounds so exciting. When I worked at Del Mar Beach years back, we had several people that had live on boats in the marina; they always seemed to love it and were off to so many exciting places during good weather.

Bill: Swan: We are excited about it. Waking up to the view of the ocean, kayaking to breakfast on days off, sleeping to the "roll" of the water all sound good to us. "Working" on the boat sounds like chores but I guess we all earn our fun!

Little Magpie: Bill - That sounds exciting that you have narrowed your boat choices.

Bill: Swan and Little Magpie: Can we have a discussion about expectations tonight? I meet so many people who say, "What gets us in trouble are expectations," and then they try to have no expectations which in unrealistic. I would like us to explore how to identify realistic expectations and how to hold onto those while releasing the unrealistic ones. Are you game?

Little Magpie: Swan - Did you start your new job yet?

Little Magpie: Bill - okay

Swan: Little Magpie - I haven't, but it looks like the hiring freeze is going to be at least lifted for those operations that are really short staffed. I heard from the manager this week and she had me resubmit my application, so hopefully soon.

Bill: All: My first thought is that we all have expectations and that some of those expectations actually work. The list begins with the expectations we have for ourselves. For instance, I expect myself to pursue a growing relationship with God, work hard at my career, invest in the lives of my kids and grandkids, and be a better man a year from now than I am today. That is the short list but I expect these things from myself. Thoughts?

Little Magpie: Swan - I will keep praying. My ED's job went by the wayside. Her newest job - she was let go due to a differing of the way to do things

Swan: Bill - If we never have expectations we become stagnant, which often leads to depression which will keep us spiraling down until we slam to the bottom and then have no choice but to either get an expectation to climb back up or give up completely and become forever lost.

Bill: Swan: I assume you are referring to having expectations on yourself - correct?

Bill: All: As far as expectations on others, I find this to be kind of tricky. My first thought: It is appropriate to expect others to be who God made them to be. For instance, once others identify their God-given talents and spiritual giftedness, it is okay to expect them to develop those skills and utilize them to make life better. Another example is related to temperament - compassionate people ought to be compassionate, bold people ought to be bold, decisive people ought to be decisive, precise people ought to be precise, and so on.

Little Magpie: Bill - I agree that all people have expectations and that some are dreams that can be unrealistic but others can have a plan behind them and can work out.

Bill: All: I think the other expectation that is appropriate is clearing communicated promises made by others. We all make promises because we long to be connected with other people. These promises are not mandatory and are usually not manipulated. They are offered freely with straightforward conviction. I see no problem expecting others to keep these freely given promises. It is actually the basis for our faith in God. God promised so we believe He will follow through.

Swan: Bill - Though expectations are healthy for us, we also need to keep those expectations in a realistic foundation. Example: if you are not going to attend school, it is not realistic to expect to become a doctor. I have always found that when I set smaller expectations for myself, I achieve them more often and can then move forward to the next level or on to a new expectation. My grandson once told me a joke: Q - How do you eat an elephant? A - One bite at a time. I have found that little joke to actually fit everyday life, when we expect too much of ourselves or others, we are often overwhelmed and become disappointed and too many times do not follow through, but when we break them down into bite sized steps, we can achieve the end goal.

Swan: Bill - expectations for myself, of others and witnessing people around me.

Bill: Swan: You gave a good description of how goals are related to expectations. I have often heard that goals are dreams with a deadline. Because they matter to us, they lead us to work hard and reach new heights. I like your call to make them realistic. A small goal reached is better than a large goal only dreamed about.

Bill: All: Where expectations get tricky is when we expect from others what we are good at. This shows up in almost every area of life that I can imagine. Those who are good at arriving on time, expects others to be as punctual as they are. Almost all of us are guilty of expecting others to use the same love language in which we excel. One of my sons definitely speaks the language of gifts. He gives gifts on a regular basis and wants others to respond by giving gifts to him. He has had to learn to not be disappointed when others express love without gifts.

Swan: Bill - I think sometimes our expectations are greater than the other person's desire. I know I had expectation for my children, however, it didn't match what they wanted, so we battled and it appeared at first that they won, but in the long run even though they took different paths, they did get to where I had desired them. My daughter isn't in the career I expected for her, but she is in a prominent field and well known throughout as an extremely detailed person, which is required in her field. My son is definitely not doing what I expected of him, but he is highly respected and has been promoted over the years to the highest position available to him. Although he is now bored with his job, he is going back to college to get his degree and is already been getting offers for positions as soon as he graduates. They both married wonderful partners and they are people I am truly proud of, as I said not by the path of my expectations.

Bill: All: The area of love languages is an area of life where grace makes things better. The essence of grace is being other-focused. Jesus didn't die on the cross because he wanted to; he did it because we needed it. We mirror grace when we accept the way others love us rather than prescribe they love us the way we like to be loved. Of course, relationships will flourish if we learn to speak each other's love languages so it is always a worthwhile pursuit. We express incredible grace when we accept love based on the other person's love language even though it doesn't have the same impact on us.

Little Magpie: Bill - You said - “It is appropriate to expect others to be who God made them to be. For instance, once others identify their God-given talents and spiritual giftedness, it is okay to expect them to develop those skills and utilize them to make life better." What if you don't know what you or your mate’s talents and spiritual giftedness are??

Bill: Swan: Wow, what a great statement, "I think sometimes our expectations are greater than the other person's desire." How do you handle this when the other person's desire is obviously lower than it ought to be - not just different?

Bill: Little Magpie: If you don't know, you can't expect this from you or your mate. You can ask God for wisdom to recognize both natural talents and spiritual gifts. You can also deliberately try things out with the intention of seeing if you have the skill and interest. You can ask each other if you are both willing to discuss it.

Swan: Bill - Interesting that you mentioned promises, that is one of the things I think I have had the most issue with regarding my husband. He was my best friend and promised to always be there for me, to care for me and that no matter what we would be together forever and when he decided to leave, I didn't even mention his promises, he did and all he would say was, "I know I am breaking my promises to you, but I changed my mind." I can still remember that night vividly and that night I was stopped in my tracks, couldn't say a word, couldn't even think, I just eventually (what seems like forever) turned and walked out the door, when back to our son's where I was staying. It took him three days before he called and then it was to ask if I was coming back to the house to help him get it ready to sell. He changed his mind!

Bill: All: I have another thought that is a little risky (IMO). I think it is okay to expect people to recognize the influence they have that everyone else is aware of. Someone who sings well ought to sing if everyone is saying they are talented. Someone who leads well ought to lead if everyone is wanting them to lead. Someone who coaches others well ought to coach when everyone else lauds their ability, etc. I think the key here is that everyone else sees the skill without hesitation. There is so much insecurity floating around that we are often the last people to recognize the influence we are already having on others.

Swan: Bill - I am not a gift person, when people give me gifts it actually makes me uncomfortable. This is where I found the book on Love Languages a value.

Bill: Swan: Thanks for sharing the "tough story." As you said, your H made these promises. It probably even looked like he meant them when he shared them with you. When he "changed his mind," he forced you to let go of the promises you were supposed to count on for the rest of your life. Ouch. This is where things get tricky for me because I still think it is appropriate to expect people to keep freely given promises. The risk we take is when they "change their minds" we get thrown into chaos and turmoil.

Bill: Swan: I am the same when it comes to gifts. I appreciate the gesture of others saying, "I care about you," but I prefer quality time to more stuff (LOL)

Swan: Bill - For many years I handled my expectation verses their desire with frustration and lots of disappointment, along with self belittling. I would immediately go into what was wrong with me, what did I do that they wouldn't fulfill, etc. It took my husband going into MLC and leaving along with hitting my own bottle in many ways to start to look at things from another person's perspective and accepting that theirs was equally important as mind. When a person's desire is lower than their abilities, I try to affirm them, but even then you have to be careful that it doesn't come across as just something to be saying, there has to be defined affirmation or it can be met with that brick wall so many put up.

Bill: All: Another thought on promises. We all make promises because we are made in the image of God who makes promises. When we fail to keep promises it confronts us with our need for a Savior. We are flawed and guaranteed to make mistakes. I believe this is why God gave us forgiveness and repentance. It brings honesty to our shortcomings and establishes a new place for the relationship to grow. This is why stubbornness and selfishness are so destructive. They remove forgiveness and repentance from the recovery process so we can't get back to "normal" where promises mean something.

Bill: Swan - you are on a roll tonight. I have found that our affirmations are very effective when they are focused on the truth of who the other person is. None of us, of course, have a perfect view of the truth about others so our affirmation always comes up a little short. The closer our affirmations are to our expectations of who we want them to be rather than whom they actually are, the more hurt and resistant they create. A very imperfect journey!

Little Magpie: Bill - My H and I did go thru the Love Languages book like Swan mentioned. We found out that my H is big on "Acts of Service" - He ran the sound system at church when we met. I tend to be a lot like your son. I gave gifts and appreciate the thoughtfulness of them. I stopped giving gifts and killed that part of me for the most part when I got married as my H would keep me from doing it.

Swan: Bill - My husband has told our children, friends we had together, family members, etc. that he has done too many horrible things for me to ever be able to forgive him. Each of these people has told him, I already have and when they say that he gets angry. My guess is that he hasn't forgiven himself yet and until he does, he isn't going to be able to accept my or any of the others forgiveness.

Bill: Little Magpie: My first thought is I feel a little stress when I hear "Acts of Service." This is Pam's love language so the harder I work on her behalf the more she feels loved. When I am rested this is cool. When I am tired, I wish she "spoke a different language (HA!) I am very sorry to hear that you shut down your desire to give gifts. It is a beautiful love language which is very tangible and doesn't have to be costly. I am praying you find a new freedom in the near future to enjoy the love language God gave you.

Little Magpie: Bill - we are both high on needing affirmation and I do "gift" that often. My H doesn't share affirmations.

Bill: Swan: interesting you bring this up. I have noticed that wounded people use this line of thinking, "I can never be forgiven," to maintain their own pain. They associate pain with love. Forgiveness would ease the pain and make them feel more lonely and isolated than holding onto the pain. For these folks, forgiving and accepting forgiveness is a scary journey.

Little Magpie: Bill - He will make meals, get fuel in the car, etc. but though I appreciate him doing these things it doesn't speak anything to me.

Swan: Little Magpie - There is nothing wrong with your love language and you shouldn't kill it just because it isn't your husband's language, instead acknowledge each of your languages and understand that since your languages are not the same, instead become aware of others language and offer those to them and you know the language of gifts doesn't have to be anything costly (which I know is a concern for your husband), offer to babysit for a dear friend, handmade cards are awesome and usually more meaningful than store bought, if you have a flower garden give an arrangement from it to someone, baked goods are usually enjoyed by others, etc.

Swan: Little Magpie - I am going to go out on a limb and offer this, your husband spends money on these things he does for you, therefore, in his mind they are gifts. They are what are known and comfortable for him and he does have a financial fear that is going to lead him more towards acts of service.

Bill: Little Magpie: This is, IMO, where the expectation battle is at its most intense. Let me use your description as an example. Your H is expressing love by doing things for you (because this is the language he speaks). You don't feel the love because it is not the language you speak. If you felt free, you would give H gifts to express love. He wouldn't feel loved because it is not his language. As a result, you are both saying, "I love you" but neither of you is hearing this. The best scenario is for each of you to learn the other person's language and speak it often. This would make both of you feel loved and add confidence to all you do. This is a very selfless pursuit, however, and many couples find this difficult. The next possibility is to train yourselves to recognize the love that is being expressed. To use myself as an example, Pam likes to do things for me to let me know she loves me. I would rather have her sit with me, talk over what is going on in our lives and enjoy a relaxing meal or cup of coffee. This often makes her feel restless. On good days, I accept her acts of service as statements of love. On my less than stellar days, I am just frustrated that she "won't" speak my language.

Little Magpie: Swan - Oddly enough I am one of those women who don't really have Friends. I have acquaintances to smile and say "Hello" to but no close friends. I have some fly by's. Friends who are close for a short time and then go away, (friend speaking). In response to your last - I don't know if he considers what he does as gifts.

Little Magpie: Bill - Recently I did work on "speaking his language" as a gift for his birthday. I got up, made his breakfast and coffee and brought it to him in bed before he got up for work. I don't know if it worked but I did try

Bill: Little Magpie: Way to go. I am sure he noticed even if he didn't say anything. Our love languages are relentless and work on us consistently. They are tricky, however. We are so attached to them that we will often act "cool" just in case it is short lived. We instinctively keep our initial expectations low as a way to defend ourselves.

Swan: Little Magpie - Are you comfortable in your own skin, enjoy the solitude? Is making friends something that doesn't interest you or you have difficulty with? Our love languages are met by many people around us, it helps to fill our meter so our spouse isn't solely responsible. I ask this because I have a friend that is now a widower and she doesn't have other friends, she began to expect too much of my time and it wore me out. I finally had to sit down with her, explain that I care very much for her, but suggested she get involved in some other things and groups. Since she joined a Bible study group, goes on trips with the local senior center, etc. we are back to our balanced friendship and both much happier.

Swan: Little Magpie - I bet he noticed and went off to his day feeling loved. Sometimes people don't say things because they think we know, just keep doing little things for him and along with the counseling, he should begin to want to return appreciation through your love language. Sadly this is one of those things that patience is required for.

Bill: All: I am having dinner with my dad so I need to sign off. Thanks for taking this journey with me tonight. This is a subject that comes up often so any input is valuable. Blessings!

Little Magpie: Swan - I don't know. I guess some has to do with fear of people due to past trauma.

Swan: Night Bill, see you next week

Little Magpie: Bill - Have a good night and enjoy the time with your Dad.

Swan: Little Magpie - That makes sense, but if you can pin point it to fear, could be something to discuss with the counselor in private and work on. I have trust issues and making friends was extremely difficult for me at one time in my life. I have a few close friends, but mostly I am comfortable in my own skin, but it is nice to know I have those I can spend time with when I just need to be with someone other than me.

Swan: I am going to head out as well; my grandson needs to get to youth group.

Little Magpie: Swan - Thanks. My d's would tell you that I am not really good in my own skin as I ask them to go with me to run errands and always have the TV on for background. Of course in my formative years the TV was my friend and wrote about shows in my diary

Little Magpie: Good Night All

Little Magpie: Bill - He will make meals, get fuel in the car, etc. but though I appreciate him doing these things it doesn't speak anything to me.

Bill: Little Magpie: This is, IMO, where the expectation battle is at its most intense. Let me use your description as an example. Your H is expressing love by doing things for you (because this is the language he speaks). You don't feel the love because it is not the language you speak. If you felt free, you would give H gifts to express love. He wouldn't feel loved because it is not his language. As a result, you are both saying, "I love you" but neither of you is hearing this. The best scenario is for each of you to learn the other person's language and speak it often. This would make both of you feel loved and add confidence to all you do. This is a very selfless pursuit, however, and many couples find this difficult. The next possibility is to train yourselves to recognize the love that is being expressed. To use myself as an example, Pam likes to do things for me to let me know she loves me. I would rather have her sit with me, talk over what is going on in our lives and enjoy a relaxing meal or cup of coffee. This often makes her feel restless. On good days, I accept her acts of service as statements of love. On my less than stellar days, I am just frustrated that she "won't" speak my language.

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