Don’t you just hate paper cuts on your fingers? It’s when your fingers accidentally slide across a piece of paper, cutting the top layer of the skin on your finger slightly open and revealing blood from the deeper layers… followed by a twinge of pain that comes just seconds after. Ouch! Just thinking about it now makes us cringe, doesn’t it?
We’re all familiar with this feeling — the feeling of inevitable pain. Hurt is a universal human experience. Perhaps you’ve never even had a paper cut your entire life (lucky you!), but you know what it feels like to experience physical or emotional pain.
It’s easy to understand when the pain we feel is caused by something that happens or something that is done to us. But, uniquely, we sometimes also feel hurt for the things that don’t happen to us, or things that are not said to us… for the expectations that are unmet and unexpressed.
Setting and managing realistic expectations are healthy for a relationship. Of course you can’t expect your partner to be perfect, to be your only source of happiness, or to respond to things in the same way that you do; But you can expect your partner to treat you right, to give you time, and to grow with you. These expectations aren’t harmful… unless they’re uncommunicated. As you communicate your personal boundaries to your partner, don’t forget to communicate your expectations while you’re at it.
No relationship is perfect, and friction is inevitable as a relationship progresses. Great relationships are not great because they have no problems; they are great because both people nurture it together.