How can you distinguish between expectations and standards? I have been struggling with differentiating the two for a while now. Is there a place where they overlap? Are they two completely different concepts? Here's how I see it.

I am going to use the example of dating.

You are 100% allowed to have standards. Honestly, that is one of the things I promote most in my life. Setting standards for a relationship and keeping them. If you want a man who loves Jesus more than you, opens the door for you, respects you, and texts you to remind you that you are beautiful and loved, then dang it, hold onto those standards! You are allowed to set standards for what you will and will not deal with in a relationship. Don't feel bad about that!

To the people saying, "Oh that doesn't exist", "Good luck finding that", "No guy will do all that for you", or "You might as well get rid of a few things"... FORGET WHAT THEY SAY! Believe me when I say there are guys out there that are willing to exceed the things I just listed. Those are the guys worth keeping and living life with.

However, having standards may leave you dateless for a few weeks, months, or years (I know it sounds scary) but isn't that better than dating someone you know doesn't treat you the way you deserve to be treated? Isn't it better than wasting your time with someone you know you are only going to break up with? Why invest more emotionally and give pieces of yourself to someone who won't even open the door for you?

I can tell you that in my experience, when I did settle for a couple of dates with men I knew didn't meet my standards, I felt worse than when I have not gone on any dates while upholding my standards. When you can say no to someone you're well aware doesn't meet your standards, you will feel a whole other sense of empowerment and confidence.

I have not gone on a date in eight months or really dated anyone in a year because I decided that my standards were what was going to get me where I wanted to go and find the man worth taking on life with. I made a pact with myself that I was not going to compromise them anymore. And then a guy willing to meet and exceed my standards came along. I told him my values and the standards I uphold for myself, as well as the relationship. Can you guess what happened next? He freaking exceeded my standards! And now, we are looking at our future in a way that I feel so at peace and grateful that for being confident in what was important to me.

Trust me, when you create this list, the guys you thought were cute or funny turn out a whole lot less attractive, and that's okay! Standards are meant to guide you forward so don't be alarmed when you stop getting the attention from the cute, flirty boys. It just means your on track to finding a man who is worth it. A little bit less attention at the moment for a lifetime of happiness and growing together to make each other better, heck ya, it's worth it!