Got Expectations?

Some would say I bought the “wrong” dog.

My friend, the dog trainer, would say I got “the dog I needed.”

I certainly didn’t get the dog I wanted.


My dream was a dog just like my other dog. A friend of our family, gentle, sweet, protective, fabulous running companion, best of all…OBEDIENT.

Instead, I got a high-energy, gentle, sweet, hyperactive, friendly dingbat dog that thinks she’s a gazelle half the time and is NOT nearly as consistently obedient as I want…and requires more patience than I can muster sometimes. I literally found myself being angry at her – when she was just doing what she’s been bred to do, and doing it at the age she is with the limited experience she has. And sometimes, I feel like giving up on her completely, after 5 months of consistent training. But I haven’t done EVERYTHING the way the trainer suggested, nor have I done it as OFTEN as I was supposed to… so yeah, this is my own fault. She IS wired to be more difficult than our beloved Daisy, however. Bleh.

And I thought I was actually pretty patient as a person, and while I can recognize the seriously great work God has done in my life in this area, I recognize as well that I still have LARGE room for improvement.


When I look at my marriage, I also see that stark contrast. I didn’t get the husband of my dreams (you know, the one inspired by the Leo DiCaprio’s of the 70’s and 80’s) but rather, I got a nice smart cute guy who was just trying to do what he’d been raised to do, doing it at the maturity level he was/is, with the limited experience he had/has.

And 20+ years in, our marriage is starting to reflect Christ and His relationship with His church, only because we’ve BOTH grown up some, and because I’ve stopped trying to turn him into someone else. Actually, we’re better friends now and our marriage is better now than it was when we were first together (you know that six month twitter pated period of hormonal delusion that wears off when reality sets in? J).

And he calls me last night, just to suggest that he takes us out for dinner, because even though he got 4 hours of sleep a night all week and has been working his tail off, he doesn’t even mention this, but rather, doesn’t want ME to have to deal with dinner, because he knows I’m going to be exhausted from the day I had (that’s another story).

And that’s the best part – knowing and being known by a great friend, released from the expectation of delighting me, because that is God’s hole to fill (and only when I find delight in Him and obey His Word with a heart bent on living my life for the Audience of One) and I can RELAX in my marriage and just enjoy the journey.

And now he does things like dump the kids at home and takes me on an ice-cream date… LOVE this. J

And I nearly destroyed this opportunity about 15 years ago.

Know two things: 1) It’s not the guy you married (you, like me, got what you NEEDED), and 2) with God, ALL things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose – so. Don’t. Give. Up.

I realize when I write about my dog and the horses, not as many people are inspired. I apologize for that, but know I write what He gives me. I pray you can see His teaching in the midst of every aspect of your life – He’s always speaking! We just don’t listen all the time.

At any rate, I’m glad we’re on the journey together, glad you are here.

Love to you,


titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

11 thoughts on “Got Expectations?

  1. After a less than brilliant day (28th Anniversary today) … and an argument last night – this is timely encouragement for a Dog (and husband) lover …
    Thank you Nina : )

  2. We’ve got a border collie offshoot/pitbull mix – a working breed twice over that is notoriously people protective and animal aggressive. Dogs have very very different needs than people to be safe, happy and well socialized.

    An error in teaching a dog their place in the pack, especially in breeds that are valued for their ability to get a task learned and done is an injury waiting to happen, whether it’s a person or the dog. What you do not regulate in a dogs life, they assume to be theirs free of license. (fortunately we have a bit more choice than all that) I have thus far adored every word you have said, and while I get the message, I would have to say you cannot apply respect or tolerance to the dog. You must must must teach that dog to respect you, or it’s just a matter of time till it tries to teach respect to you, or to someone it thinks it is stronger than. (they actually make brain toys for dogs who are home and bored and making messes because you disagree with crating an indoor dog in your absence, or cannot otherwise work a dog on a daily basis.) Leash time off your usual route daily is a doggie wonder drug… they need to learn to listen to YOU, not to listen to their senses. A training harness with a front ring clip was a great tool for us.

    There are errors. Oh man. Like the time I figured it would be okay to walk into a gas station to grab a soda quick and left the dog tied to a seemingly heavy enough chair- (thought I as I ran out of the gas station and into the street without my kid to retrieve my racing panicked dog, dragging chair through people and traffic.)

    I’m gonna say we’re the dogs. Until we find our place in the pack and feel safe with the person above us, we’re aggressive, suspicious of everyone, pushing boundaries, looking for authority and generally misbehaving and wrecking things up. When we learn to respect the pack structure and what our place in our pack is, good stuff starts to happen, even if we don’t necessarily see it as good stuff at first because we’ve mistaken running amok for doing what we want instead of being gratified by our pack for doing what is right.

  3. Wow. Expectations was just what I was chewing on today. God surely does have a sense of humor.

  4. We have a big dog and a small dog and a cat. Plus 3 kids ages 9 and under. I am very much the one struggling to keep patience. Thanks for the reminders that we are given the gifts we are able to handle!

    • Oh, Linda! YES. And the handling comes through what we think about, our level of contentment, and doing it in His strength. Phil 4:8-13 tells it all. 🙂 Hang in there, beautiful!
      Love to you,

  5. I love this!!! Sounds inspired to me! Thanks for sharing your heart, your journey, your example and what God teaches you! Praying God will continue to glorify Himself in your marriage. I also pray for oneness and for God’s wisdom for you both! Thank you for being willing to share and inspire other women!

  6. I am inspired by your dogs and horses! We have 2 dogs and 3 horses and I am thankful for this post. I needed to be reminded that God gave me my dear husband and animals because they were just what I “needed”. I am thankful God gives me what I need and not what I want. Thank You, Lucy

    • YOU are a blessing to me today! Hugely so. 🙂 I, too, am thankful that He loves us this way. 🙂

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