Mark: We’ve shared before about the challenge of expectations in marriage. Unspoken, unrealistic, and unmet expectations are dangerous in any relationship.
Jill: However, there are some expectations that can actually be helpful for marriage. These are things that will happen in most every marriage.
Mark: Once you say “I do” it’s healthy to:
- Expect Conflict: You are two different human beings with differing personalities, temperaments, opinions, and preferences. Conflict will happen. This was one expectation I didn’t have and then I became disillusioned when conflict happened.
- Expect Disappointments: Your spouse will make mistakes. He or she will let you down. They are not perfect and disappointment will happen.
- Expect to Be Annoyed: When you live in close proximity to someone else like you do in marriage, there will be things that annoy you. In fact, the very things that drew you to one another in the first place will often be the things that will annoy you later on!
- Expect to Need Continuing Education: Marriage requires a lifetime of learning. In order to have a deepening intimacy that lasts a lifetime, you’ll need to keep learning about yourself, you spouse, God, and about marriage. You can do that through books, marriage conferences, counseling, and reading blogs like this together.
Jill: But that’s not all, here are four more:
- Expect to Over-Communicate: Your spouse can’t read your mind. He or she has their own balls to juggle in life. You’ll need to work hard to make sure you listen well and communicate clearly. I confess that too often I have thought, “I shouldn’t have to tell him _____________. He should just KNOW!” Don’t make that mistake! Make no assumptions and over-communicate.
- Expect to Lose That Loving Feeling: Feelings will wane and that’s a normal part of a lifelong relationship. Feelings of love and attraction will come and go. There will be seasons where you’ll have to choose to love because the feeling just won’t be there. However, the feeling almost always follows the choice in time!
- Expect to Keep Investing: Your marriage relationship will need to be invested in on a regular basis. You’ll have to continue to date, to flirt, to communicate, to learn, to play together, to spend time, to listen well, and to have fun together. Is time together on your calendar? If not, put some time on the calendar today!
- Expect to Ask For Help: It’s very possible that there may be times where you need to seek accountability or perspective or help from a mentor, another couple, or a professional counselor to get through a tough season. Asking for help is not a weakness. In fact, it is a sign of wisdom and strength.
Having the right expectations can make all the difference in the world.
What about you? Do you have any more healthy expectations you would add to this list? Of these 8 expectations, which one(s) do you need to figure into your thinking?