Mark: Last week I was talking with a friend who was reeling from a big argument he and his wife had on Halloween. As we talked through the challenge, it became evident to me that the whole mess happened because expectations weren’t talked through. Been there…done that…learned some lessons!
Jill: So many of our conflicts, particularly in the early years, happened because of uncommunicated expectations. We needed to tell each other what we were thinking, wanting, hoping for as we headed into the evening, the weekend, a holiday celebration, or just managing daily tasks.
Mark: There’s no way Jill will know that it’s been a hard day and I need tonight to be a “veg in front of the TV” night unless I tell her.
Jill: There’s no way Mark will know that I have a home project I’d like his help with unless I tell him.
Mark: Communicating expectations needs to happen on a daily basis. Dinner is a great time to talk through what you’d each like the evening to look like. This helps you understand each other’s needs and work together to help each other. “I’d like to pay the bills tonight and then head to bed early. How about you?” “Could you help Joey with his homework while I work with Susie?”
Jill: Weekend days are important days for communicating expectations. “What do you want tomorrow to look like?” “What’s your plans after church today?” “The kids have soccer games in the morning. What would you like the afternoon to look like after we get home from the games?”
Mark: Of course, going into the holidays is a very important time to talk about expectations. “What’s most important to you on Thanksgiving?” “How can I help get us ready to go out of town?” “Could you help me with food preparation the day before Thanksgiving?”
Jill: None of us are mindreaders. We see life through different lenses and have different priorities so even as spouses, we won’t look at the same time and space and want to necessarily use it the same way. This is why communication is so important!
Mark: As you start this week, take your communication to a new level. Talk about what you hope. What you think. What you desire. And ask your spouse about what he/she hopes, thinks, and desires. Then work together to help each other, bless each other, and encourage each other.
What about you? What have you found helpful for communicating expectations?