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So What Did You Expect?

By: Donna Martin

The weekend was coming up and Margaret had something that she wanted to do.  She shared that idea with Matthew.  “Do you really want to do that?”  Matthew said unaware of the explosion that would follow.

“Never, mind.”  Margaret snapped.  “I knew you wouldn’t want to do it.  I don’t know why I even brought it up.  You would just spend the day pouting about it.  Forget I ever mentioned it.”

Matthew felt disrespected by Margaret’s reaction, snapped back in anger, and the conflict began.  The weekend was ruined and neither he nor Margaret got the weekend they expected.

Expectations - we encounter them every day.  We wake up expecting our day to go a certain way.  We expect to get something done.  We expect our spouse or children to do certain things and to act certain ways.  Many times we share these expectations with someone, many times we keep them to ourselves, and many times we don’t even realize that we had a certain expectation until it wasn’t met.

Expectations are not bad, but they can cause a lot of conflict in a marriage especially when our spouse does not meet our expectations or has differing expectations.

Margaret and Matthew’s conflict began, as all conflicts do, over expectations.  But the conflict could have been avoided if they had talked to each other as adults instead of reacting to each other as selfish children. 

Marriage is all about communication and compromise.  Communicate your expectations to your spouse in a calm and loving way.  Avoid accusing or belittling your spouse if your expectations are not the same.  Do not hold grudges over unmet expectations.  Be willing to compromise because one person cannot have his or her way every time.  A happy marriage just does not work that way.  If you feel that your spouse is overbearing or demanding his or her way, then do not be afraid to talk it out even if it is hard and causes a conflict.  When handled in a calm, appropriate way conflicts can actually make a marriage stronger and help you learn more about each other.

Something to think about - The only thing that we know for sure will be better than we expect is heaven.

The Martins currently present “Happy Together” marriages seminars for churches and organizations.  To schedule a seminar call Michael at 940-735-1515. They also publish a weekly “Happy Together” Blog about family and marriage issues.  You can order copies of their new books Dancing With Death and 366 Tidbits We Have Learned in 14,610 Days of Marriage, read, and subscribe to their “Happy Together” Blog by logging onto the Martin’s website at


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