4 Great Ways to Deal With Unmet Expectations in Marriage

BY: - 7 Mar '13 | Marriage

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Every one of us came into marriage with certain expectations. And every one of us has dealt with the disappointment of unmet expectations in marriage. It is one of those things in marriage that will happen. When it does it can make you or break you.

An opportunity to develop a better marriage

This year my wife and I were asked to be a part of a group of seven couples all looking to grow our marriages. The group is led by a couple who have been married over 30 years. All the other couples have a similar family makeup. Most have been married 7-12 years, have young children ages 3-13, and are 30 somethings.

The couple leading the group views this group as their way of paying it forward. By them sharing the ups and downs of their 30+ year marriage, they are equipping another generation of marriages to be successful.  My wife and I are very thankful for the group and for this couple.

This past weekend we discussed the topic of unmet expectations in marriage.

What happens when marriage expectations go unmet?

As I mentioned above, all marriages will be met with some level of unmet expectations. It is what happens after this which determines how it affects your marriage.

Your natural reaction may begin at disappointment. The disappointment may turn to hurt. After the hurt comes anger. Once you get angry you turn that anger toward your spouse in the form of punishment. In other words you make your spouse pay for not meeting your expectations.

Unfortunately these stages happen without us being aware. It is very hard to change something which you are unaware of. Well, now you know. So, what should you do about it?

There is a better way to deal with unmet expectations

You can be sure if the above pattern is followed in your marriage, it will be a rocky marriage at best. However, once you make yourself aware, you can be intentional about changing that pattern.

You can better deal with the unmet expectations and grow your marriage, even through them. I encourage you to put into practice the following four ways to deal with unmet expectations, and watch your marriage change for the better.

4 Great Ways to Deal with Unmet Expectations in Marriage

1) Love and forgive your spouse. When you exchanged marriage vows, you committed before God and your spouse that you would stay committed through everything. Honor this commitment, in spite of your spouse’s failures, and him/her falling short of expectations.

The need for forgiveness will never go away in your marriage, so get good at it! [Tweet this]

2) Communicate with the intent of understanding your spouse. Many times expectations go unmet in our marriage, the other person wasn’t even aware of what was expected.  The only way to know what is expected, is to talk about it. Make regular communication a part of your marriage.

Don’t make knowing your spouse’s expectations a guessing game…talk about them. [Tweet this]

3) Change your perspective. In the real world of marriage you will never be able to meet all of your spouse’s needs and he/she will never be able to meet all of yours. We were never intended to do so.

Some needs can only be met by God alone. Develop this perspective and allow your spouse some grace in some areas.

4) Don’t throw your expectations out the window. Some expectations may be unrealistic and unfair to your spouse. That doesn’t mean lose hope in them or your spouse.

Part of your marriage purpose is to help one another grow. [Tweet this]

Continue to strive toward your hopes and aspirations. Work toward them, pray about them, and do it all together.

BMWK — Have you had expectations coming into marriage which your spouse has exceeded? Please praise your spouse by sharing them in the comment section below.

About the author

Jackie Bledsoe, Jr. wrote 62 articles on this blog.

Jackie is an author, blogger, and speaker who helps men better love their wives and lead their families. He is the creator of The 7 Rings of Marriage™. You can receive his latest BMWK posts in your inbox, plus his latest marriage and parenting posts from around the web by subscribing to his weekly newsletter!


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12 WordPress comments on “4 Great Ways to Deal With Unmet Expectations in Marriage

      1. JAD

        I think what is means is, what is you say what your unmet needs are and your spouse does nothing to “try”. I agree that there are somethings that only God can satisfy but I truly believe that the journey of a marriage is a journey for two. Its easier dealing with a failed attemtpt at being there for you that having never tried.

  1. Yolanda Moore- Dukes

    Allowing the Lord to be the Head of our household,works for us.
    Unmet expectations exist in both of us. However, forgiving him requires anger control management (never a problem before) and prayer!

  2. Pingback: The Single Life: Dating Laz Alonzo | Black and Married With Kids.com - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

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  5. Vic Victor

    I found this to a very helpful article. I like the suggested way of overcoming unmet expectations. Just wondering whether there is a difference between unmet expectation and unfulfilled expectation. Was there any particular reason why you chose one adjective over the other?

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Do Nice Guys Still Finish Last?

BY: - 7 Mar '13 | Marriage

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How many of us have had a crush on the “bad boy?” There was something about him (besides the fact that your mother and/or father hated him). He was mysterious, a risk taker, and a master of words. We would find ourselves hanging on to every one of them. He was also usually a jerk and forget heartthrob, he was a heartbreaker.

And then somewhere along the road something clicked. You realized that he wasn’t worth your tears or your time. The allure of mystery faded as you learned what he was all about. Most likely it wasn’t you. And his words — well eventually he would have to eat them. Why? Because you grew up and you realized that dating “bad boys” was a bad idea. You decided that you wanted a nice guy. A guy with all the qualities you often overlooked in your younger days. The guy you brushed off because he was too sweet or not tough enough but made the perfect friend. The guy who could be found praising the Lord during Sunday morning worship and was not well versed when it came to good pick up lines. The guy who was more focused on taking care of you than you taking care of him. The guy who knew a lady and a good thing when he saw one. The “nice guy.”

A 2009 article from Clutch Magazine asks, “What’s wrong with the nice guy?” These days I can tell you there is absolutely nothing wrong with the nice guy. Ok, so he — the nice guy — drives me crazy from time to time but that’s part of being in a relationship. My husband is known for being a “nice guy” and while he is far from perfect (as am I), he is both what I want and what I need. And those bad boys? All of them prepared me for him. They helped me to see what I deserved, what I should and shouldn’t accept, and to be grateful for a man who is strong yet sweet. A man who in my opinion finished first and by marrying him I did too.

BMWK — Did you used to have a thing for bad boys? When did that change? Did you marry a “nice guy?”

About the author

Krishann Briscoe wrote 32 articles on this blog.

Krishann Briscoe is a child welfare professional turned freelancer with a background in child and adolescent development and social work. In addition to authoring her personal blog His Mrs. Her Mr., Krishann is a contributor for Disney's Babble, The Conversation and The Conscious Perspective. Krishann resides in Southern California with her husband and their two daughters.


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