How Your Expectations in Marriage Can Help or Hurt YouJackie Bledsoe
Is marriage more about your head than your heart? Did you know that your thoughts could be the biggest deterrent to a healthy marriage? Our expectations and mindset are linked to the success and failure of many different areas in our lives, including our marriages and relationships.
An article I read on YourTango makes the point that “if you can harness the power of expectation, you can dramatically change your relationship and your life.” Think of it like this …
You weren’t ready for that
Have you ever been given a beverage that you assumed was water, but when you had a sip, you discovered it was lemonade, or tea, or worse? It could have been the best tasting lemonade or tea in the world, but your expectations ruined it for you.
When we prepare for one thing, our mind is set on it and we react accordingly. The same thing goes for our relationships. When we expect our spouse to be angry at us for backing the car into the garage door, we prepare our defenses. We may not even listen to the words, “Are you okay? We’ll get it taken care of!” because our expectations have caused us to put up our defenses and to be ready to fight.
You can control your expectations
If you have done this, you don’t have to anymore. There are a few things you can do to set your expectations to where they help your marriage, not hurt it.
Here are 7 ways to gain control of your expectations and change your marriage for the better:
7 Ways to Change the Expectations in Your Marriage 1 of 8
Invite generosity into your marriage 2 of 8
Change your expectations by inviting generosity into your marriage. You do this by allowing your partner to change, and not holding them hostage to past behaviors.
Photo credit: iStock Photo
Change your words 3 of 8
Have you said this before: "You are ALWAYS ..." No matter how much your spouse is late, loud, or unloving, they are not "ALWAYS" this way. Change that word "always" to something like "sometimes" or even "usually." Make "always" a banned word when referring to something negative your spouse does. Changing this one word in your thoughts and speech allows the possibility of something different to happen.
Think about what you are thinking about 4 of 8
Pastor and author Joyce Meyer says this in her bestselling book, Battlefield of the Mind. She challenges us to think about the thoughts that are going through our heads. Many of us will be surprised when we become aware of our thoughts. Once you begin to expect something, the experiences have already begun. Don't start out on the wrong foot.
Choose what you want to expect 5 of 8
Do or be what you want to expect 6 of 8
If you want your spouse to be on time, then be on time yourself. Also, help them to be on time. My wife and I are usually late to events. One way I can help is to make sure I get myself together with time to spare so I can help her or the kids get ready. This will change my expectations of her and will change the experience altogether.
Don’t condemn; just expect to do better next time 7 of 8
I'll stick with being late as an illustration because that is the struggle in my relationship. I admit I have been negative and pretty condemning when what I "expected" to happen actually happened. Instead of condemning her for our being late, a better approach would be to admit we fell short this time, but make some changes so we can do better the next.
Discuss your expectations 8 of 8
Sometimes the problem may be you don't know what the other expects. Maybe your spouse (or mine) believes being "fashionably late" is fine, or even being there five minutes after is fine. On the other hand, you may believe if you aren't five minutes early, then you're late. Discussing both your expectations will set the bar for you in each experience.
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