Soon he, too, discovers that not only is she unable to charge his battery, but being around her produces a brownout. Like her, his insecurity increases, and he may begin to think he married the wrong person. He may even begin to look around for another woman he thinks will better meet his needs and become his ultimate "battery charger." An affair for either spouse may well produce a momentary charge-but it doesn't take long before there's a major power shortage as the spouse attempts to keep the affair a secret. Affairs are a lot easier to start than finish. Repairing the damage from an affair is like trying to rewire an entire house after it's been hit by lightning, blowing all the circuits.

Husbands and wives are by no means unique here. Most everyone experiences frustration because they look to people to fulfill their expectations. Children may long for greater love from and better communication with their parents. Parents may feel "taken advantage of " by their children. Employees often feel that employers do not care about them as people. Employers may feel that employees have no sense of loyalty or gratitude. And many Christians feel betrayed when certain "super-Christians" succumb to temptation and turn out to be just as human and just as prone to failure as anyone else.

In the book of Proverbs we read, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (13:12). Many husbands, wives, children, employees, employers, and friends put their hope for fulfillment in other people, which eventually leaves them empty and frustrated inside. Researchers like Albert Bandura and other sociologists believe this looking to other people to supply our happiness is a major cause of many social problems. Their research on anger and acts of violence related to anger shows that a key contributing factor is "frustrated expectations," the same thing that leads to divorce, runaway youth, suicide, battered mates, kidnapping, and drug and alcohol abuse.

I am grateful I finally began to see this principle, because my unrealistic expectations of others kept me from gaining the fulfillment I was desperately seeking. No matter how "perfect" they might be, people would never be able to charge my life battery.

But if that is true, where then can we turn?


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