When most people hear the words ‘expectations’ and ‘standards’, they believe they’re one and the same, which (I recently discovered) isn’t actually the case.

Expectations are based on personal opinions

Expectations are a belief that someone will or should be/behave a certain way or do certain things. They can be rooted in an individual’s personal opinion on what they believe they deserve, e.g, “Bae better get me 9 gifts this Easter, minimum!”

Truth moment. I remember getting quite upset at bae because of my misplaced expectations. It was early on in our relationship, Valentine’s day was approaching, and because we were living in different cities we’d agreed to make weekend plans. I should mention I’d underplayed the importance of the actual day and led on it wasn’t a big deal to me. The 14th came and I was definitely salty that I hadn’t received the big display of affection that deep down I’d expected. In this example, my expectations in and of themselves weren’t outrageous, but expecting him to read my mind and know what I wanted was.

The problem with having high expectations (and not communicating them) is that they can create a pressured environment your partner shouldn’t have to live in. It’s a setup for disappointment.

Keep your standards high

Now, standards are a set of guidelines or basic criteria that you have for yourself or partner. These are non-negotiable and should be rooted in scripture and healthy principles surrounding self-worth, e.g “A God-fearing partner who is honest and treats me with respect”.

Whilst expectations may require you to compromise, standards are different. They’re non-compromisable, deal breakers.

I’m a huge advocate for women having high standards when it comes to dating, especially when it comes to what they tolerate behaviour-wise from guys. With that said, it’s still important to note that when determining what we want in a partner, we should look for general patterns of behaviour, not a flawless being. That would be Jesus and newsflash: I don’t think He’s looking.

Don’t lose your standards, keep your expectations in check

Be with someone who will surprise you in both little and big ways. Someone who will go the extra mile because they want to, not because you tell them that’s what you expect.

Admittedly, I don’t have the secret formula to a happy relationship or marriage, but what I do know is relationships take work.
Successful relationships are ones where both partners don’t expect the world from each other, they love each other, have mutual appreciation and respect, and they show each other this by their actions and words. I’d imagine the formula to it all includes a whole lotta patience, honesty and compromise.

What expectations and standards do you have for yourself and your relationship? How do you differentiate the two? Drop me a comment below!

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