We all struggle with communication. You can probably relate to the husband and wife who had a disagreement, and the husband came home and apologized. He told his wife, “Honey, I’m so sorry. I was wrong, and I shouldn’t have said what I said.”

All the time, the wife was thinking, I don’t care what he says. If he really loved me, he would have brought flowers. In relationships, it’s easy to get disappointed over unmet expectations, but we have to be careful about the expectations we set for others.

Sally Harvey shared these comments in her book, More Stinking Thinking:

“There’s a lot of stinking thinking going on. When we fall into thinking ‘should,’ ‘ought,’ or ‘must,’ for ourselves or others, we have set a trap that we can’t get out of.”

If we always expect that others should, ought, or must speak or act the way we would, we’ll be disappointed every time, for two reasons. First of all, people can’t read our minds. Second, and most important, they’re not us. The best way to avoid these situations is to gently let people know how we feel and what we expect of them.

You may be struggling with communication in your relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, boss or co-worker. Instead of getting uptight and hard to get along with, pray that God would help you communicate your needs, desires, and expectations clearly without making assumptions. Then your relationships will greatly improve.

Use your head to handle yourself, your heart to handle others. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder