Lowering your expectations is sound advice for preventing arguments, anger and disappointment!
A husband or wife discovers that after mentioning something man y times, the thing they asked for didn’t happen or the situation didn’t change. If it’s not something of paramount importance the right thing to do is to lower your expectations. For example a wife is really irritated by the fact that her husband does the home purchases really much later than she needs them which stops her from running the house properly. When she mentions it delicately he reacts as if deeply insulted: “I’m too busy and I forgot…” and this episode repeats itself often. Instead of the constant nagging (even though she is right!) and his constant discomfort and apology this woman can decide; “the purchases will always be late, that’s the way it is. Now, how can I find ways to organize after accepting this as fact?” Now that there are no expectations the frustrations and disappointments disappear. Life becomes calmer and happier.
Not only that, but when the husband sees that his wife stopped mentioning it and decided to reorganize without bothering him, he may be motivated to surprise her and make an effort to make the purchases the way she wants at an earlier time. But even if nothing changes it’s easier in this case to let it go and lower expectations and be rewarded with peace and calm.
Get your priorities straight
Each spouse must accustom themselves to always remember what is important in their marriage and to ignore what is less important. Everyone should take into account and remember that whenever 2 people get together there will always be differences of opinion how to get things done and that sometimes there are unpleasant surprises that can even cause disappointment, pain and even shame to the other spouse. But when you pay attention to what’s important everything else seems petty.
When Boaz announced he was marrying Ruth those present blessed him with a unique blessing as the verse says: “All the people in the gate and the elders and witnesses said: “may G-d grant that your wife be like Rachel and Leah that both built the house of Israel” (Ruth 4, 11). The word ‘both’ is written in the masculine form and the commentaries ask that if it’s talking about Rachel and Leah it should have been written in the feminine form?
Rabbi Shalom Cohen explains: “Rachel and Leah were both wives simultaneously competing for Jacob. Even so they still intelligently gave in to one another because they always saw their priorities in front of their eyes and they knew their mission which was to establish a family where all the children would grow up righteous and follow the true path and it would be a truly glorious family. They made themselves as if they were 2 men not competing against each other and they actually helped each other as Rachel gave her secret codes to Leah on the night of her wedding allowing Leah to marry Jacob not knowing if she would ever marry him afterward. That’s why the people blessed Boaz with this blessing specifically understanding that this wonderful wife should always have her priorities in order and in that way there would always be peace in their home. That’s why they blessed Boaz using the names of Rachel and Leah out of the 4 mothers.
When a couple concentrates on what really matters which is the spiritual goal of establishing a faithful home in Israel the Jewish nation, a house of joint growth in serving G-d and establishing a glorious home, then everything else falls to the wayside and doesn’t matter. Why did he say or she say… why wasn’t the food ready…or any other complaint that’s not high priority disappears when focused on the great goal of building an amazing family and they merit that peace will dwell in their home.
Rabbi Zamir Cohen's book on marriage is already available in Hebrew and an English translation is coming soon. Stay tuned!