Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thoughts on Marriage: Expectations

Several weeks ago I wrote this in my journal:

"Unvoiced expectations that go unmet are no one's fault but your own."

Recently, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the idea of "expectations".  I've come to realize that a lot of my major disappointments and frustrations come from an expectation that I have that has not been met.  I could give you several examples from my life, but I simply ask that you consider the last several times you've been upset and see if it wasn't because you were expecting one action/outcome, and received another.  It's brought me on a journey of honesty with myself and with the people in my life. Most importantly, my husband.  I've realized that it is unfair to be upset over something that I didn't even share with him.  After all, Josh can't read my mind, and neither can anyone else.

So, I have been focusing on vocalizing my expectations to him.  Not in a, "THIS is what I expect you to have done when I get home...the dishes washed, the floor swept, my favorite movie waiting to be played and movie theater popcorn and a diet coke waiting for me. Slave."  

No, more of a, "Hey babe, I'm really excited about the Harry Potter premiere."  (This isn't a hypothetical example, ha, this an actual conversation we had.)  "I know in the past, you've been really tired/bored/uninterested at midnight movies, but I'm just so excited about this one that I am really, really hoping you will be excited too."

Before that brief conversation, I wasn't sure if he knew how important this silly movie was to me.  After it, though, I knew that he knew that it meant a lot to me that he was there, and that I felt like he was engaged in the experience with me. (Not just 'putting up with' the late night antics).  And you know what?  It turned out to be an awesome night.  Sure, it might have been an equally awesome night if I hadn't shared my expectations with him, but it didn't hurt for him to know, without a doubt, how much it meant to me and what my vision of how the night was going to go really was.

I am excited that this is something we're learning about.  I think it is an example of healthy communication and, if we continue honestly sharing our expectations with one another, this practice could save us from a lot of disappointment and arguments in the future.  

I highly recommend it!

"Anger always comes from frustrated expectations." 
Elliott Larson

1 comment:

  1. Ah the joys of communication. I am really glad you did this post. It actually came in handy with Mike last night as some of our thoughts and feelings changed about the upcoming wedding. Thanks for sharing like usual!! This is a "starred" post on my google reader :)