After days of scrolling through social media, I HAD to blog about my experience and thoughts on a few posts. They all had a similar tone. If your girl or man don’t (fill in the blank), you can’t marry them. Here’s the most recent post that sent me running to my blog. “If yo mama cooking and she don’t go in there to help you can’t marry her.” Of course there were thousands of responses, but you know I had to go to my husband to see what his thoughts were. His response (not verbatim), “The fact that he associates a woman in the kitchen being wife material is a problem to me.” He totally stans for women and I adore him for it!
As we dove deeper into conversation, I began to think about the difference between having standards versus expectations. We both agreed that there is a difference between the two, and find it to be one of the leading causes to men and women missing out on a good woman or man.
In my opinion, standard is the measure of the quality or value of someone. It’s the determining factor in whether you decide to pursue someone or allow them to pursue you. Expectation is what you believe someone should be or will do. If one does not meet your expectation, you may be disappointed, but not completely turned off.
Here’s a snippet of what my standards looked like:
- He can’t smoke cigarettes.
- He has to believe in the same God as me.
- He has to have good hygiene.
- He has to be taller than me.
- He has to be able to hold an intelligent conversation.
Here’s a list of what my expectations looked like:
- He must be able to cook like my father.
- He must be great with his hands (plumbing, mechanic, building, DIY).
- He must have a nice haircut. (Preferably like Morris Chestnut in The Best Man)
- He must be a football player.
- He has to be bigger than me. (Gotta be ready for this jelly)
I wouldn’t budge with my standards, but my expectations were things I could soften up on. Maybe he’s not the best cook, but he’s responsible with his money. Okay, so he’s not that great at fixing things around the house, but he’s willing to learn. I love haircuts, but men with curls and locs are just as handsome. He may not be a football player, but he’s healthy and athletic. There’s a rebuttal for them all.
In the post earlier, I immediately thought “what if his girl didn’t know how to cook, but planned on helping her set the table and clean up?” Is she still not capable of being a wife? Maybe she’s not confident in her cooking skills, but is willing to take lessons? What if her mother never allowed her in the kitchen growing up, so she doesn’t even think about helping out in the kitchen? There are so many factors. I believe it is when we set high expectations in individuals that we become severely disappointed. Humans disappoint all the time! We’re not perfect. That’s why we have to simply view our expectations as a hope, but not a determining factor.
For example, a woman who is pregnant is not told that she will have her baby on a specific date. She is given an estimated due date. A date that she can expect to have her child(ren) on, before or after. When a business has a job listing posted, they list skills that are required and skills that are preferred but not required. That means that if one does not possess the preferred skills, the business will not turn them away. They simply hope that that the candidate will have them. In my experience, the employer will say something like, “skills are preferred or candidate must be willing to obtain training.” What if we applied that in our relationships? I prefer my girlfriend to be able to cook, but if she’s not able to in the beginning, she must be willing to learn. That is actually a mix of expectation and standard. It allows each individual involved to be honest and determine which direction they will go in.
Now, as usual these are my thoughts and opinions. Some of my standards may sound like expectations to others and vice versa. All in all, I think we as people need to know the difference between standards and expectations, and make sure that we are putting emphasis on the more important one. I believe that expectations can be discussed with one another, while standards cannot. We also tend to set high expectations but take offense when we do not meet another’s expectations. “My man has to make sure that my hair, nails and toenails are always done,” but you can’t even take the car to a drive-thru car wash. Honestly, sometimes our standards are a bit extreme too. “My man has to make more than me, and I make $70,000 per year.” Okay, so this woman marries a man who makes $115,000 per year, but he loses his job because the company goes bankrupt. What next? Do you divorce him?
This post is not to persuade anyone to lower their standards. However, I am definitely one who says, lighten up on your expectations of humans and shift them toward the Lord (or whoever you believe in).