What Do You Expect?

Last updated on: Published by: Recognizing Potential Coaching 0

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”. 

3. Share
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.

4. Challenge
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! 

Your Coach,


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 coaching@recognizingpotential.com. I’ll send you a replay link on May 11! 

Want to be 86% happier in your marriage?

Last updated on: Published by: Recognizing Potential Coaching 0
Ever see a couple that’s obviously in love and been together a while and wonder “what’s the secret to being so happy and in love”? 

The answer may be in how well they answer each other’s call to connection. Throughout each day, we bid for our partner’s connection in one way or another. It can be subtle or obvious, spoken or not but either way, the call is there. 

Whether or not that call is answered makes all the difference in whether we feel fulfilled or depleted at the end of the day. 

Calls for connection can look like: 
reaching for your partner’s hand to hold
asking for help in the kitchen after dinner
sighing because of a heavy heart, stress or exhaustion
saying something like “hey, check this out” 
asking your partner a question
making a nonchalant statement of all you have to do/get done or something you wish you could do instead
In instances like these, our partner has three choices. 1) To turn towards us by answering the call 2) To turn away from us by missing the call or 3) To turn against us by rejecting the call by being rude, picking a fight or making a remark that is belligerent or argumentative. 

Here’s where the research gets interesting! Happy couples answer the call and turn towards each other TWENTY times more than those who are stressed out or unhappy, provided this is in a neutral, non-confrontational circumstance. Additionally, in the study done by Dr. John Gottman in his marriage lab at Washington University, couples who had gotten married and stayed married 6 years after answered their partner’s call 86% of the time while in the lab. Couples who were divorced shortly after getting married only answered the call 33% of the time. 

What’s this tell us? Simply put that every time you bid for your partner’s connection and they turn towards you, the message is sent that you are: 
interesting to your partner
a team
accepted for who you are (even if your behavior isn’t always desired)
WOW! Isn’t the the whole point of marriage in the first place? You marry someone to love, cherish, desire, want, help, find interesting, hear, understand and be a team with? 

Yet somehow, missing or rejecting those calls happens more and more frequently if we aren’t careful, intentional and mindful of our partner over the years. This causes the rejected partner to criticize more, build more anger and resentment toward their partner and feel ignored. Their emotional bank account is depleted so when small things happen, usually a fight ensues. 

When you are actively tuned into the small things with your partner, big deposits are made into your emotional bank accounts. Drops are put into that bucket of trust. So when something happens, a larger life event that would normally overdraft that bank account or dump that bucket out, it’s not as big of a loss. It doesn’t break your marriage but rather allows your partner to show more empathy, compassion, and understanding.

These small habits create a feeling that you’re in control and actively making a difference in your marriage. 

Practice answering the call by actively listening to your partner, asking open ended questions, responding with reflection and interest. 

Also, check out my new monthly subscription! 40 open ended questions/conversation starters to help you and your partner build better communication, deepen the connection in your marriage, and have conversations that are more than just “how was your day, the kids are fine, here’s what’s for dinner”. There are also two previously recorded coaching videos included on the 1st and 15th as part of the subscription! If you’re ready to strengthen your marriage, get to know your spouse again and feel like a united team again, Connected is your answer!
Your Coach,


P.S- Did you catch this week’s episode of the podcast? I interviewed LCMFT Holly Smith! She is such a wealth of information! We talked all about attachment styles and how they play out in childhood and shape our relationships! We talk about how to use those attachment styles to become healthier individuals in marriage and how to understand our partners more. It’s truly a fantastic episode! Search for Recognizing Potential Podcast anywhere you get your favorite podcasts.