Hope vs. Expectation

Jewish Premarital Counseling - Hope vs. ExpectationDo you know the difference between a hope and an expectation? Most people would probably say yes. Hope is when you want something to happen, while expectation is when you, well, expect it to happen.

But hopes and expectations are more similar than many of us realize. They both involve us having a desire that needs to be met by someone else. Because of this, the realization of both hopes and expectations is largely out of our control.

Despite this, one of these things (hope) can bolster your relationship for the long term, while the other (expectation) only serves to tear down your connection. Why? Because of how we internally approach hopes versus expectations. When you expect something to occur, it’s no big deal when it happens. But it can be incredibly disappointing or frustrating when it doesn’t.

Because of this, having expectations in a long term relationship can be a problem whether they are met or not. If your expectations are not met, it’s going to cause you to feel negatively about your partner – and possibly even treat them poorly. If your expectations are met, it won’t cause you to offer praise, which can lead to your significant other feeling unappreciated and not meeting your expectations in the future.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Common Relationship Expectations – and Why Hope Is Better

Most of us come into our relationships with expectations, but we need to mentally reframe them as hopes. These desires we have are unique to us, but a number of expectations are fairly common in couples I’ve worked with in New York.

By and large, we all expect that our partner will be:

  • Honest
  • Tidy
  • Friendly
  • Timely
  • Considerate
  • Appreciative

Now these aren’t bad things to desire. Partners should be honest. They should be considerate. But that’s not the point.

Expectation pulls you apart because it doesn’t see the good – merely the bad. In contrast, when you hope for something, it puts you in a state of appreciation when you get it.

Imagine it’s your birthday. You could think, “I better be getting a  gift.” Or, you could think: “A gift would be amazing.”

Can you see the difference in mindset? Even the wording – that a gift “would be amazing” – carries the promise of excitement. Of happiness. Of appreciation.

And when we feel appreciative – and especially when we verbalize appreciation – it helps create a relationship culture which will result in more of the same behavior we hoped for. Because appreciation itself is a reward. It creates a positive feeling in the person on the receiving end, which is going to make them want to do more things to win your appreciation.

Beyond this, feeling appreciative will actually make you more inclined to engage in activities that will please your partner as well, because you’ll want to reciprocate. When both partners act in this way, it creates a potentially endless cycle of connection and positivity that can keep your relationship strong indefinitely.

Interested in seeing what else you can learn in Jewish premarital counseling? Reach out today, and I’ll be happy to talk to you more about my methods and beliefs.

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