One of Terrie’s early, unspoken expectations of marriage was that I would help around the house. Shortly after we were married, we had invited company over for dinner. I noticed she was stressed with the preparations and offered to help. I was pleased with how delighted she was at my offer and silently congratulated myself on my sensitivity and kindness.
Then I rolled up my sleeves and tackled what looked to me like the biggest project—alphabetizing the bookshelf.
Although we both laugh at that incident now, it didn’t strike Terrie funny then. But it was one of our early discoveries of how easily expectations collide in marriage.
It is expectations and misunderstandings like these that set couples up for an ongoing stream of disappointment. In marriage counseling, we almost always find that marital disappointment comes from unrealistic, and often unspoken, expectations spouses have one of another. (more…)