03 Jan

We all have expectations. Is that a bad thing?

Is marriage really that hard? What do you think makes it so hard? I was talking to my husband’s step-mom recently (she is a licensed marriage therapist) and she mentioned that one thing that affects marriage in negative way is Expectations going into marriage and having them throughout marriage.

What is an Expectation?

Googles definition of expectation is “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.”

Here are a few expectations that people make before they go into marriage:

  • your spouse should fulfill your every need;
  • your spouse should serve as the primary source of your happiness;
  • your spouse should fill all of your companionship needs – and that you should fill theirs;
  • your spouse should mirror what is important to you;
  • you should always be the center of attention to your spouse;
  • the excitement and passion should continue as it was earlier in your relationship.

Wow.. you can see why marriage would end up feeling like a huge disappointment!

But expectations do not always need to be bad. We absolutely do go into marriage with a few expectations and some of them can be reasonable… as long as we realize that it takes both people equally to work as a team on these matters.

12 Reasonable Expectations that Could Save Your Marriage

As the relationship changes and evolves, it grows only by accepting – and fulfilling – reasonable expectations, which include:

  1. Commitment in the marriage,
  2. Verbal affection,
  3. Compassion and empathy for each other’s feelings,
  4. Respect for each other,
  5. Consideration for each other’s differences,
  6. Spending quality time with each other – while understanding that each spouse has other time commitments,
  7. Showing interest in each other and what each is involved with, including opinions and ideas, work and activities,
  8. Physical closeness: hugging, holding hands, touching, and other simple physical gestures count and are vital no matter what the couple’s sexual life is like
  9. Generosity of thought, spirit, and action towards each other,
  10. Acknowledging that there are other important people in each spouse’s life: friends, their family, colleagues, etc.
  11. Making time and creating opportunities to have fun and laugh together,
  12. Open communication and sincere listening to each other – which can easily fail if there isn’t an effort to continually work on it. This includes discussing each other’s thoughts and needs and hopes for the future they share or have individually.

Without expressing these important issues, a couple can easily drift apart as time passes.

This reasonable expectation – open and honest communication – is the most important one for all of the others to happen. (divorcemag.com) Read the full article HERE

“Hurt, disappointment and frustration result when there is a wide gap between what we expect and what actually happens,” says family therapist Mitch Temple in his book The Marriage Turnaround. “The closer we can get our expectations to line up with the truth, the less hurt we will experience.”

Alisa Grace wrote:

7 steps couples should take to address unmet expectations

According to marriage and family therapist Willa Williams, here are seven steps couples (and anyone else, for that matter) can take to turn the nightmare of unmet expectations into a genuine opportunity to grow their relationship and become teammates again!

you can read the entire article HERE

  1. Identify your expectations as well as your partners’.
  2. Try to see each other’s perspective. Validate your spouse’s perspective and acknowledge that it is not necessarily better or worse than yours – it is just different, and that’s OK.
  3. Be willing to compromise. Set aside your own desires and work to meet your mate’s expectations, especially when they’re different from your own. This is the perfect opportunity to put Paul’s words into action: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others..” ­– Philippians 2:3-4 (ESV)
  4. Determine what are deal-breakers for you versus things you can compromise on. 
  5. Collaborate together to determine how “we” want to handle these issues in “our” family from now on. Decide to approach it as teammates – not adversaries
  6. Identify a solution that will make it a win/win for both of you. (Remember, if only one of you wins, you both lose). If it can’t be a win/win, then find a way to equally compromise or take turns compromising.
  7. Then, come back together after a specified amount of time, evaluate your solution and discuss how it went for each of you. Then make adjustments as necessary.

By being aware of your own expectations, as well as your spouse’s, and showing a willingness to not only compromise, but to put your mate’s preferences ahead of your own, you’ll avoid the frustrations and pain of unmet expectations and actually build a closer, stronger relationship.  

Your spouse can’t make you happy.

I love this quote from www.borntowin.net

“We are no longer content with a reliable partner. We want a spouse who will make us happy. And there is no one who can do that. You can have a partner who is as dependable as sunrise, who will be there for you come hell or high water. But if this partner can’t make you happy, you will leave him and take the children with you, right? Well, that is what people are doing every day. All this helped me understand why the divorce rate keeps on climbing. People are entering marriage expecting something that no partner can provide. Happiness is a will-of-the-wisp. It comes and goes with circumstances and has more to do with what is inside you than it does with what your partner does or doesn’t do. If you enter marriage with unrealistic expectations, you haven’t got a chance.”

A few things that can help us overcome unmet expectations in marriage.

  1. Understand that your marriage takes work. …
  2. Know that, “It’s not what I thought it would be,” isn’t a way out. …
  3. Speak into your spouse who they are, not what they aren’t doing. …
  4. Establish marital roles. …
  5. Grace, grace, and more grace.

Are all expectations bad? No.

To sum it up.. expectations are not all bad. There are good expectations a person can have in their marriage, and both partners should work toward them equally.

From psychologytoday.com: Psychologist Jim McNulty of Florida State University drew some interesting conclusions from his studies of newlywed couples over a four-year period (McNulty, 2016). He concluded that high standards don’t work in a marriage if partners have poor communication skills, a high level of stress, or too little time to devote to the relationship. His advice was to match your expectations with your (and your spouse’s) ability to deliver time, effort, and social skills to the relationship. That advice is consistent with Finkel’s work, although it requires being honest with yourself about your willingness to put forth the time and effort. 

The work of couples therapists John and Julie Gottman provides some answers to the question of what is reasonable to expect in a happy marriage. In their research, the Gottmans observed thousands of “happy couples” and identified common characteristics of those marriages (Gottman, 1999). Maintaining a friendship, creating a satisfying sex life together, and arguing in constructive ways were all high on the list. With regard to expectations, the Gottmans’ work pointed out that there will be problems that are solvable and those that are not. Once that reality is accepted, a couple can move on to solving the solvable ones and finding ways to manage the unsolvable ones, with less frustration about the latter.

Many clinicians have also noted the boost in happiness when couples carve out time to have fun together. Maybe it’s a date night, a mutual interest, or a shared sense of humor. If you don’t have fun together, you’re left with only the shared responsibilities. Whether it’s for relaxation or adventure, taking some time for just the two of you helps to build awareness that you and your partner are on the same team. That awareness builds trust. The ability to resolve conflicts improves as the level of mutual trust increases (Gottman, 1999).

To sum up, the happiest couples tailor their expectations to what is realistic for their own circumstances. They do follow basic guidelines of kindness, respect, and trust that the other person has their back. If you want something more from your marriage, put more into it — more fun, more thoughtfulness, and more trust.

As with most things in life, the more effort you put into it, the more you can expect to get out of it.

Don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Intimacy App in the app store to:

  • spice up your relationship with the non graphic bedroom game
  • Improve your communication in the bedroom with the customizable bedroom game
  • better your communication with each other through 250+ conversation starters
  • find cute illustrated 200+ positions to try out together
  • in app private chat feature you can send romantic messages to your spouse
  • read hundreds of articles from anatomy, technique, patience and love in marriage, and so much more
  • take the Language of love quiz to know what your spouse really needs from you
  • so much more!! The app had endless resources to strengthen your marriage

It is a free download in the app store.


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