Expectations. We all have them. The question is are we aware that we have them? When working with premarital couples we often discover expectations that each person has that they had never communicated or even knew they had in the first place. We often assume our expectations are common sense or the way everyone does life. For example, a wife might have the expectation that her husband keepup with the car maintenance – keep the car washed, take it in for an oil change, stay up to date on the registration, etc. Meanwhile the husband may think that each car is the driver’s responsibility. If this is never discussed problems will most likely start to pop up.
There are expectations about life that can be discussed before marriage like whether or notthe couple wants to have children. Zoe and Kevin struggle through this episode and have tocome to terms with the fact that they may have different opinions on this topic. Zoe was self-aware enough to get this issue out in the open. She was willing to end the relationship if they found that they couldn’t come to an agreement on the topic. Other topics that are helpful to discuss before marriage are issues surrounding finances, holidays and other celebrations, location, family of origin, and daily roles and responsibilities. Will you have two bank accounts or one? Is Christmas Eve or Christmas Day more important? Do you want to spend your days in the city or country? Do you prefer to live close by your parents or across the country? Will you each do your own laundry or is this one person’s job? Thesepreferences will certainly change over time and in different circumstances, but it’s good to get in the habit of having these conversations as soon as possible.
There are also expectations that sneak up on us. Randall and Beth both have the expectation that they should be able to do what they love. The pace of this new life has begun to weigh heavy on both of themand they each have different ideas of how to resolve the issue. We can’t see all the twists and turns that life will bring a head of time, but we can purpose to discuss our expectations as we become aware of them or as life presents changes.
Some Things to Consider:
Have you thought about unspoken expectations you have in your marriage, family, or friendships? Make time to discuss these expectations and come up with a compromise with the people who are important to you.
Have unmet expectations caused conflict in one of your relationships? How might you go back to the drawing board and address these expectations in order to resolve the conflict?