I have thought about it often: expectations in a marriage. Should you have high expectations? Should a mate assume their spouse knows them so well that they will know what to do and what not to? Is this faith and hope? Are mates being realistic?
I told you, I have many thoughts on this subject. Let me set the expectation for this article. I simply want to raise a conversation surrounding expectations in a marriage that will lead to greater clarity on the subject. After you read this short piece, leave your comment and be a part of the conversation.
She expects him to do this. He expects her to do that. Everybody is expecting somebody to do something. That strong belief your mate will come through on what you are believing is an expectation. Yet is it realistic? Most times we know our partner well enough that with great accuracy, we can predict their behavior. For example: You want a big deal made over your birthday. Friends, cake, drinks, the whole nine. You have hinted at this for the last four years and nothing. Yet and still, you have the expectation that this year will be different. Is this false expectation or not facing reality? I’ve talked to couples that believe this is faith, while others see it as a realistic expectation of their husband or wife.
I am a true believer in faith and hope. Yet, when it comes to expectations in a marriage, communication has to be in the forefront of the relationship. Expectations need to be communicated. For example: you want the dishes done this week because you’re tired. You expect your mate to help out. They see you’re tired. This is a silent expectation. Dropping hints doesn’t mean you have communicated your heart’s desire. Setting silent expectations can backfire like a ticking bomb.
We can’t assume our mate knows everything about us. God is all knowing, our mate isn’t. Faith and hope in God vs. faith and hope in our mate are two different things. It’s just not the same, and it’s unhealthy to place that type of demand on your spouse. Even God who is all knowing, tells us to talk to him and make our requests known.
This gives encouragement that straightforward communication sets the bar for expectation. There is a proverb that says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” If hope deferred can make the heart sick, so can unfulfilled expectations within a marriage relationship.
With conversation, expectations and longings are more readily met. They will be like a little tree of life, nourishing your relationship. However, unfulfilled expectations will mess up your marriage.
BMWK: What do you think about all this – expectation, hope, facing reality and assumptions within a marriage? Are husbands and wives putting undue pressure on each other to meet silent expectations?