Last week, Mohammed and I were meeting with our coach. No, nothing is “wrong” with our marriage. We believe in having a coach to help us be the best we can possibly be to each other, for our boys, and to keep strengthening our marriage. I mean, what kind of coach would I be to preach to you to hire me but I’m not willing to invest in my own coach?! Seems a little backwards to me.
Anyway, we were discussing expectations, and she asked if we’d ever written our expectations down for our spouse?
I had written down what I expected in a husband before I ever knew Moe existed on this planet and certainly compared him to that list once we met but I’m not sure after we started dating that I ever looked at that list again. He hadn’t ever written his down either.
For the most part, we were both already living into what the other’s expectations for a husband/wife were. However, there were a few key expectations that came up that neither of us had never even heard of but that have caused friction in our marriage in the past. Both of us expected each other to “just know” that’s what we wanted and had maybe verbalized it in frustration from time to time but never actually said “this is what I need/expect”.
We assumed the other would “just do it”. Neither of us are mind readers so how exactly was that going to work? It wasn’t. Hence, the friction, irritation, shame, blame, guilt, anger…etc, etc.
That’s how expectations work. Like a ladder, the behavior of your spouse can only climb as far as your communication allows. Our communication was limited so naturally the behavior of the other was as well. The gap that was left? Shame, blame, guilt, resentment, all the negativity.
Oddly enough, I’m seeing the same predicament in a lot of facebook posts, instagram DMs that are sent to me, and clients I’ve met with in the last week. Maybe you’re experiencing some irritation, resentment and/or anger too.
Here’s how you can help your marriage right now.
1. Write down your expectations.
What do you expect your spouse’s role to be? What does that look like? How do you expect them to act, treat you, treat themselves? How much money do you expect them to make a year? What character traits do you expect them to have and how do they show that out loud?
2. Narrow it down.
Can you take all these expectations and narrow it down to 3-4 buckets? For example, “I expect my spouse to provide and protect, prioritize me and our marriage, and strive for the best version of themselves”.
One of the 6 types of conversations couples must have is vulnerable sharing. Your expectations definitely fall under that category.
Find a time where you and your spouse are in a good headspace and share your expectations of each other. Listen actively. Ask open ended questions to clarify. Make sure you have the mindset that you’re having this conversation to be better as a team. Ask the question “How can I live more fully into your expectations?” This also builds emotional connection when done in an assertive, safe space with a low and slow tone.
Compromise if necessary and don’t be afraid to say “I feel like that expectation is too high for me to live into” if necessary.
Challenge yourself to live into the expectations that are set.
5. Check in Weekly
“How am I doing in meeting your expectations?” or “What’s it like to be with me right now?” These check ins allow for any concerns to be voiced so they don’t fester over time. They also allow for any praise to be given and confidence to be boosted where it might otherwise go unspoken.
Check out this month’s workshop below and I’ll chat with you next week!
May Workshop- May 10th @ 7 PM CST
Are you constantly frustrated, resentful, angry or irritated with the people you love?
Do you frequently say YES when you’d rather say NO?
Do you feel like your needs consistently go unmet while everyone else in your house thrives and lives their best life?
Do you often feel taken advantage of and/or unappreciated?
If you answered YES to any of these questions- you might need help with boundaries. This month’s workshop is going to teach you all about boundaries in marriage! How to set them, what to say, how to recognize when a boundary isn’t in place but needs to be, how to get your spouse (and other’s) to respect your boundaries even when they don’t agree. This workshop can be done as a couple or as an individual and is completely anonymous with the ability to chat directly with me during the workshop.
Can’t make it that night? Sign up anyway and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you a replay link on May 11!
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!