Do you love your husband without expectation? Or do you act, expecting something in return? I always thought I loved without expectation, but today Davi of Homegrown Simplicity is sharing her story of learning to love without expectation and I realize that I have lots to learn. Let’s see what she has to say.
It’s 3:00 AM at my house. My 6-week-old is down to only one wake-up at night, but that 3:00 AM wake-up is brutal. It’s too early to get up and get the day going, but it’s too late to get much sleep afterward. None the less, the crying starts as if she has a self-timer to alert her when it’s 3:00 AM. I don’t jump out of bed immediately. Instead, I lay there for a few more seconds next to my husband. I’m tired. No, I’m exhausted.
“Please get up this time instead of me,” I say to myself. “I put the kids to bed and cleaned the kitchen so you could watch your tv show uninterrupted. Please let me sleep.” After a few more seconds of her crying, I crawl out of bed to nurse my baby. Now I’m not only exhausted- I’m angry.
Why am I angry? Because I expected. I expected something in return for my “sacrifice”. When I offered to put the kids to bed and clean up the kitchen, I did so because I knew how much it meant to my husband to watch his favorite tv show “live.” I offered because I love him and I love to see him happy. Or so I thought was the reason.
Did he offer to wake up at 3:00 AM with the baby in return? No. Instead, he said “thank you”, gave me a quick kiss, and hurried upstairs to turn on the tv just in time. The expectations were built up in my head. To be honest, I didn’t even know in that moment that I would be expecting him to wake up with the baby. But at 3:00 AM, putting a screaming toddler to bed and scrubbing dirty dishes so he could have an hour of peace had a price. I expected.
We expect. We expect our spouse to wake at 3:00 AM to feed the baby. We expect a thank you. We expect a good job. And when it doesn’t happen- we get angry.
These expectations go both ways. I’ve fallen short of my husband’s expectations many times. The other day I left to run errands. After returning home, my husband said, “I got up with the kids this morning so you could sleep in, and you didn’t even notice that I picked up all the toys and vacuumed while you were gone.”
These expectations breed contempt and resentment. We do these acts out of love, but we expect love in return. Expectation is the result of the need for validation. My husband needed me to confirm that I appreciated his work in the house. I needed validation that he appreciated his hour of peace watching his tv show.
Love is Free
The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is greed. Love is free and when we expect something in return, we are being greedy.
Marriage isn’t 50/50. Sometimes it’s 90/10. Other times it’s 10/90. Sometimes we scrub the plates so our husband can watch his tv show, and he doesn’t wake up to feed the baby. Sometimes our spouse picks up all the toys and a “thank you” is never said.
Do these things anyway. Pick up the toys. Scrub the plates. Do these things because you love your husband and because he loves you. Do these things without expectation.
I challenge you to love your spouse without expectation. Here are a few ways to express your love.
10 Ways to Love Your Spouse Without Expectation:
- Give him a kiss, hold his hand, or some other physical sign of love.
- Send him an encouraging text during the day or a simple “I love you.”
- Surprise him by cooking his favorite meal for dinner.
- Say thank you.
- Watch a movie that you know he will love, but you would never watch otherwise.
- Take his car next time you run errands and surprise him with a full tank of gas.
- Make him a cup of coffee in the morning.
- Give him alone time. Whether it’s to play video games, read, golf, or whatever he enjoys.
- Do the laundry, iron his clothes, take out the trash, or whatever chore he hates doing.
- Admire him in front of the kids.
Davi writes at Homegrown Simplicity about intentional living, motherhood, and minimalism. She is passionate about helping mothers find joy in the ordinary by removing the clutter from their homes, minds, and life. Follow her on Facebook for simple living inspiration.