Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Got Expectations? Thoughts for Valentine's Day!

Hi Friends,

Happy Valentine's Day!  Today for Valentine's Day I thought I'd share something I learned a few years back that has made this day a lot more special for me since.  So, read on, and may YOUR day be filled with thankfulness, joy, and the wonder of living in GOD's amazing love for you!

Here's how it happened . . .

"Happy Valentine's Day, Honey," my husband murmured, then scooted out the door with his usual quick kiss and bear hug.  "See ya later."  Bryan winked and was gone.
That’s it? I thought.  No candy, no flowers, no delicate chocolates in the traditional bright red heart-shaped box!  Just a hug, kiss, and out the door?  This was supposed to be a day of passion, of romance, of chocolates!  A frown tugged at the corners of my mouth and deepened into ugly grooves.
Bryan never was much of a romantic anyway, I complained.  He just doesn't understand women.  Days like today are supposed to be special.
I sighed and drew my brows together in a deeper scowl as I proceeded to review again all the faults I imagined in my poor, unwary spouse.  By the time I was finished, I was thoroughly dissatisfied.  Valentine's Day was ruined.  And it was all his fault! 
I threw my body crosswise on the couch and swung my legs across the cushions.  Reluctantly, I picked up the Bible for my daily devotion.  I wasn't in the mood.  My eyes fell on the day's scripture, "Serve one another in love" (Galatians 5:13).  Love.  There was that word.  Today was supposed to be the day of love.  I wasn't feeling much love at all.  And it was all Bryan's fault! ... Or was it?  The scripture didn't say to expect to be loved.  It especially didn't say to expect chocolates just because it was Valentine's Day.
Slowly, my temper quelled and I began to examine my reactions.  Bryan had done no more or less than any other day.  He had given me the hug and kiss that I usually counted as a treasure.  So why the difference this morning?  Was it because today I had expected more?  Had I succumbed to the dreaded "E" word - Expectation? 
I began to realize that the problem with my expectations is that I can never win with them.  As soon as I expected Bryan to act a certain way, I set myself up for disappointment.  When he didn't meet my expectations, I was upset.  If he had acted as I expected, then I would have been satisfied.  But how could I have been pleasantly surprised and appreciate his kindness if I had been expecting it all along?
February, they say, is a month for love.  And Jesus showed us what real love is all about -- Not candies, nor flowers, nor sweet chocolates wrapped in a fancy box.  No, love is about laying down our lives for one another, about serving one another in love.
In setting for us an example of servanthood, Jesus " began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him" (John 13:4-5, NIV).  What would it have been like if the disciples had expected Christ to play the role of the lowest of servants?  Imagine Peter lounging there with his sandal thongs untied, wiggling his toes in anticipation of Jesus washing them.  Imagine the others shifting their weight impatiently on their cushions, wishing that Jesus would hurry up and get to the washing since their feet were dirty and uncomfortable.  Surely Christ's admonition that "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet" (John 13:14, NIV) would have lost much of its meaning had expectation roused itself to interfere with the scene.
For Bryan and I, true Godly joy comes into our relationship whenever we can surprise one another with an act or word of loving servanthood.  The more expectations are supplanted by love, appreciation, and acceptance, the richer our marriage becomes.
So, this year for Valentine's Day, I'm not going to worry about gifts of tantalizing chocolates.  I'm not going to cling to expectations of what my husband is supposed to do for me.  Rather, I plan to give my husband one of the greatest gifts of all in a marriage -- I'm going to exchange my expectations for joy and thanksgiving.  This year, I'm making Expectation a dirty word!