How to Love Someone and not Their Expectations
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain - Mathew 5 :41
Some people live with those who are demanding. They demand that strict standards be met. These standards often feel unreachable and ever changing. If a person’s measure of personal success was meeting the standard of the perfectionist, the person would always come up short. Unhappiness in the inability to receive affirmation that the standard was reached, would ensue. Frustration, anger, and rebellion against the standard holder would creep in. The imbalance in the relationship would make one person a ruler and the other a begrudging follower.
When Jesus the Christ was born on earth, He found the Israelites in bondage to the Romans. In His time, a soldier could require a citizen to carry his belongings for him for a mile. This very act made an imbalance in the relationship between the soldier and the Jew. If the Jew rebelled, he would seal the fate of the imbalance in the relationship. If he grudgingly complied, he would perpetuate the imbalance of lord over servant.
If the Jew were to carry the luggage, not out of coercion but out of love, a change in the balance would occur. The Jew that desired to carry the Roman’s luggage an extra mile, did so out of love. It became his choice. He took back the power.
Serving out of love increases energy. It uplifts the human spirit. Serving out of love is achievable. It creates a sense of accomplishment. A person who serves out of kindness can always realize their goal of being a kind person.
The reaction of the Roman to the Jew’s extra mile was inconsequential to the possibility of how the Jew could feel about the situation. The Jew, who served out of love, could feel good about himself simply because he was meeting his own goal of being a good person. His love for the Roman was not requisite on the Roman loving him back. If the Roman responded impolitely, it was the Roman who suffered, not the Jew. The unkind Roman would suffer, because anger always harms the harborer. The Jew’s satisfaction did not come from receiving a positive reaction from the Roman. The satisfaction came from the act of showing kindness. The joy that comes from being a good person and the happiness that comes from loving another, was the reward of the Jew.
In marital relationships, one person can become demanding. One person can take the role of nitpicker, pointing out all the things that the other person is not doing correctly. This leaves the other person in the relationship feeling like a subordinate. If the subordinate rebels or complies begrudgingly, it solidifies the roles of master and follower. This does not create an equal relationship and it becomes very uncomfortable for both people involved.
In a marital relationship, when one person tries to serve the other out of love, it equalizes the relationship. The person is no longer serving out of coercion. The person is serving out of choice. The server can feel good because he is being a good person. The person is becoming something better than he was and the good that comes from that uplifts and gives energy. It doesn’t matter if expectations of the demanding partner is met, because that is not the goal. If the demanding partner does not acknowledge the hard work, it doesn’t matter either. The goal is simply to show love and kindness. If that can be done, the server can experience the happiness that comes from showing love and kindness. The person can feel at peace knowing that he is doing his part in the relationship. The person can feel satisfied knowing that he is becoming the person that he wants to be.
Unless, the demander changes, she will continue to feel miserable. The emotional state of the demanding partner, is not the responsibility of the server. No matter how good a person is at meeting someone else’s demands that person’s actions will never permanently change the emotional state of the demander. The server cannot use his partner’s emotional state as a marker for how well he is doing, anymore than the Jew could use the Roman’s emotional state as a marker for his progress.
In any relationship, a person has the power to feel what he wants to feel. When a person chooses to do something out of love, it restores the balance in a relationship because it gives choice back to the person. When someone enjoys the act of being kind and loving another, it doesn’t matter what the receiver’s response is, because the the joy of loving is the reward not the response.