How Unmet Expectations Cause Problems in Marriage

Unrealistic, unspoken, and unmet expectations can ruin just about any relationship. Today, we talk about how they impact the marriage relationship.

Transcription:

Keelie

Welcome to the love of adventure podcast where we talk about the marriage relationship, intimacy of marriage and how you can go deeper with your spouse. And today we’re talking about how met or unspoken expectations can wreck your marriage. Oh, boy. So unmet expectations is when you expected something to happen. And it didn’t. And it could be unmet because you didn’t actually communicate that to your spouse. Or maybe it just wasn’t feasible or possible. But either way, that’s what we’re talking about today. So, Austin, can you think of any expectations that you had? Like, when we first got married or whatever, that wasn’t? Happening for whatever reason?

Austin

Hmm. Um, I would say my most naive was that we would have amazing, glorious sex every day. Starting on our wedding night and continuing forever. Oh, yeah. Every day, every day.

Keelie

Yeah. You know, a lot of people have that expectation.

Austin

Um, yeah, I mean, I think a lot of guys probably in particular, not just guys, but but, uh, it’s, I don’t know, that was just there. I think part of it was kind of the culture there that you and I spent our high school years in sort of the the purity culture of the 90s youth groups have, you know, sex is only for marriage. So that meant, you know, like, well, what, once you check that box, man, it’s like, Am I boring? You?

Keelie

Just tired 

Austin

Oh, isn’t real-time. It’s it’s like two days after Christmas. So we’re kind of tired. But yeah, I think that, you know, as I said, you check that box, you get the rings. And like, here you go easy. All of a sudden, right? Yeah, of course. And I think that was one of the, that was maybe one of the failings of the purity culture, and an expectation that they got set for a lot of people was, you know, you, we were told, you know, save sex for marriage. But that was a lot of times all we were told. So it was just kind of like, well, I guess that means you get married, and then you just everything else just falls into place naturally and on its own, and everybody wants the same thing. And you know, there you go. And so we we had different expectations for that. So

Keelie

I guess that’s true. I didn’t really expect that. Right? That wasn’t my expectation. My expectation was, it would take time, and it would take work, right, which

Austin

is a proper healthy expectation for sex and marriage, unlike, which was just like, hey, here you go.

Keelie

Sometimes the expectations are unrealistic because you simply don’t know any better. So there are a lot of people who write in and they’re confused, like, why is my sex life so difficult? And I thought it was going to be like this or that? Well, that’s because there is a lack of experience. Then there are other types of unmet expectations because it’s how you grew up are what you’re accustomed to. Like, I expected that you would want to rap all the presence because my mom made my dad rap all persons. And when I found that you did not have that ability, and you hated it, I was confused. What? When we first got married, you hated rapping presence. In fact, you will grab a bag any moment you can. At this point,

Austin

I’m not remembering that quite the same. Unless you just had a lot of weird, I think you had a lot of weird things to wrap. You give me a box at a full roll of wrapping paper and, and scissors and tape. But the problem was a lot of times we had like random scrap stuff that we had to just patch work and figure everything out because we’re broke, and you didn’t have anything on

Keelie

My dad didn’t wrap things in boxes, most of the time you consider that to be a waste and we have name tags, you just like tried to hide initials, and then we spent all Christmas morning, you know, with him handing out stuff to the wrong people that’s not yours right here. I’m trying to think of other expectations, you know, like, I don’t know that I had a whole lot of unmet expectations. But I think in certain situations, there is always going to be that. So you and I have gotten way better when you say to me, you asked me what my expectations are almost every single weekend. I think that I have some expectations for the weekends that I’m not clear about.

Austin

You always have unspoken plans for the weekend. You have been plotting and scheming all the live-long day about what the weekend is going on. Yeah, I accomplish, and I don’t have those, or I have other plans in mind, and we haven’t communicated that to each other.

Keelie

You think I spend so much more time thinking and planning than what I actually do.

Austin

I think you spend more time thinking and planning than you realize that it could be.

Keelie

Well, the weekend happens so that I’m immediately like, oh, we need to do this. And now I need to do that. And so you’ve actually been very primitive on that and been like, what are you thinking about doing this weekend? And then I have to think about it.

Austin

I’ll be like, so let’s talk about what this weekend look like looks like in your mind. Versus the kids and what everything else.

Keelie

Yeah, there is a lot of difficulty in that. And I think that the difficulty with expectations is you don’t always know that you have to say something. You know, like, you don’t always know. Well, I have to explain to my spouse. 

Austin

Yeah, I think that I have this expectation, that’s probably the trap of expectations is you expect it I You could almost say you assume it. Sure. And the assumption part is what gets us in trouble? Because, like, why why would it be any different? You know, and you don’t, you’re not even thinking why would it be any different until the conflict arise? Right? Yeah. And then your spouse is like, Well, why would we do it that way? And you go, why would we do it any other way? And then you go, oh, there’s an expectation here that hasn’t been communicated or whatever.

Keelie

We have expectations on this. And we didn’t really go over it. And I would say that no matter how long you’ve been married, on spoken, an unmet explanation, unmet expectations will continue to be a problem.

Austin

Yes, I think, as a couple, you figure out each other’s assumptions and expectations that are like ongoing ones. Sure. And you can sort of, you know, take that into account on a regular basis. But there are going to be individual occurrences, events, new things that come up in your marriage, you know, what I’m surprised about as long as you and I’ve been together, how much new crap keeps happening in Atlanta all the time. I just the other day, I told I think I finally voiced it. I was not ready for Corbin to go to work. And I don’t mean that in the sense of, oh, I can’t believe my little boy, not like that. Just it altered our lifestyle in a way that I did not see coming. I did not expect. And so when those things come up, you and I have to sort of check-in, you know, we’ve got our second one working on getting his learner’s permit, which means a license and which means a car. And so we’ve got to have a talk about what does that looks like? Why, what do you expect? What do I expect? What does he expect? You know, and by the way, you can have unmet expectations, not only in your marriage but with your kids.

Keelie

With so many people? Oh, my goodness, I mean, yeah, every single relationship, and I think that is definitely like an added thing that we have dealt with as parents is just our expectation of what we want our kids to do or not do. And yeah, so I mean, like, we helped the oldest buy a vehicle, and we had to talk about our expectations with each other of how he was going to pay it back, and all these different things. 

Austin

And like, there is so many layers deep of conversation that has to happen when you bought your first car, you went about it one way financially, I went about it a slightly different way financially, and, you know, subsequent vehicles, you know, and all those kinds of things. So, yeah, we had to talk about okay, this is how you did it. This is how I did it, what was good and bad about that, what do we want to see happen? What do we think is gonna be the best route and, and we ended up going around with our oldest that was unlike anything you and I had ever experienced, but I think was great. But it was because we talked through that with each other, and then presented that plan to our kids, and you know, and got them on board with the expectations and set up some matters. But even then, even then we planned all of that out. Yeah. And we were like, Wait a minute. Part, by the way, part of the plan was that we would be sharing the use of this car for a few years. We as in our oldest and us as our secondary vehicle. And then it’s like, oh, he’s going to have it all the time. Yeah. Oh, I didn’t realize that. 

Keelie

Well, okay, let’s, let’s adjust now we have to make a different decision. Yeah. So we’ve talked a lot about how unmet expectations we’ve been dealing with it and our own marriage because obviously communication is the key. But we are going to also talk about what kinds of Fallout can happen when expectations aren’t met and then it’s not actually coming Okay. So when, when a couple, first of all, when a couple doesn’t get what they expected out of a situation or out of there’s now one of them, you mean, yeah, one of them when things didn’t go the way they expected them to, but then they don’t communicate what they expected, and now they’re just dealing with. Okay, we’re going to talk a little bit about what happens in those situations. So, for example, I have couples come to me all the time. And they talk about how they expected their sex life to be one way or the other. And they, it’s very obvious that they didn’t communicate to the spouse, that the expectations for sex aren’t being met. And what little bit they have communicated has probably caused fights between them and the spouse. Yeah, yeah. Oh, my goodness, the number of times I deal with those kinds of questions. And the first thing I always try to tell people is you are not alone. For sure, yeah, you’re not alone. And you’re not wrong for having these expectations, but you have to be willing to talk to them. So when you don’t have the ability, or the understanding to speak to your spouse about those expectations, is going to continue to happen. So they’re going to continue to fail the meet your expectation, and you’re not going to adjust it. And if you do, you’re likely going to end up, you know, just being really resentful to them, because you’re sacrificing, giving up this thing that you really wanted to have. And they don’t even care. But they also don’t know.

Austin

Right? Yeah, you can be experiencing all kinds of pain and disappointment and being let down and everything and they don’t they’re not even aware, because you still haven’t communicated that that unmet expectation.

Keelie

So that would be possible, I don’t know if this is what the right word is here, like believing some kind of lie that if your spouse loved you that they would just No, I’m not sure. Like, I feel like yeah, people who really, this is how they feel like if my spouse doesn’t know that I’m upset, or disappointed or struggling or whatever, then obviously, they’re not paying attention to me. Yeah, love me.

Austin

I see a lot of new couples fall into that trap. And I just think there hasn’t been enough time, there has not been enough time for your spouse, or even you know, your partner, maybe you’re not even married, maybe you’re dating or engaged, there hasn’t been enough time for them to be able to read you that way. And, you know, you and I have been together for so long we were together, we were together before we got married longer than some people are married. I mean, we were together, what, five and a half years. And so we spent a lot of time getting to know each other and understanding each other before we even moved in and, you know, started a family and, and all of that. What brought a whole other set of, you know, things to learn about each other. But I see these couples that, you know, dated for a year and have been married for two years. And they’re like, how come? How come they don’t get it by now? And I’m like, yeah, like they’re still getting to know you. You’re still getting to know them. There’s stuff about them that you’re not picking up on yet. And they probably don’t like that either. And if you can, if you can get out of your own way long enough to just say the thing, instead of assuming or expecting them. You know, speaking of unmet expectations, expecting your partner to know what you expect, yeah, is a trap in and of itself. That’s the problem that if you just say they should know this about me by now, it’s like,

Keelie

Why? Why would they know that about you? Yeah.

Austin

How many? How many times have you said it? How many times have you not? And I’m not saying how many times have y’all thought about this? And how many times have you been angry about this or let down about this or disappointed about this? But how many times have you actually verbalized it in real words, by the way, not during a fight? Yeah. I mean, if you got to do it during a fight fine. But how many times have you talked about that expectation, that thing about you that you feel like your spouse doesn’t get how many times have you talked about it outside of an argument? Because if the answer is, is one or fewer, then they don’t know. They don’t get it. You can really be married to someone for 10-20 years. And there’ll be things that they don’t really know about you because you’ve concealed it or you haven’t made it clear in a way that they can understand. Let me say on behalf of the people who like to show instead of telling which is great for TV shows and theater productions, but bad for relationships is if you’re showing, instead of telling, your spouse likely doesn’t have any clue, they know that you get angry, but they don’t. They’re not sure why. And it will take years to figure out the pattern. And you can shave all those years of fighting and disappointment and unmet expectations. You can shave all those years off by just saying it up front. When you say this, I feel this or when you do this. Yeah, fill in the blank, whatever. When you say this, when you do this, when you don’t do this, I feel this. And it seems to me like you’re communicating this to me, don’t blame don’t say whenever you screw up and do that. You make me feel this way. When you don’t say thank you, when I cook your meal, I feel unappreciated. Yeah, it’s not blaming them, it’s not condemning them, but it is letting them know what the expectation is. Because if you’ve never said that before, then they don’t know you feel under, they probably love that you do that thing that you do, and appreciated every time and they’ve just never vocalized it for whatever reason, or they vocalize it at the wrong time or the wrong way or the whatever. By the way, tell, tell your spouse, something like that. And then when their answer is, but I always say, babe, this food is great. And you go well, that’s not the same as Thank you. Maybe they didn’t realize that, that was them showing their gratitude, and they just were doing it in a different vocabulary. And, and so they all these years, they’ve been thanking you and you haven’t been hearing it because you didn’t take it to mean that. And so now you’ve spent years feeling horrible about this thing. And if you set it at the beginning, you know, that’s very hard to do it is it’s hard to do, because you actually have to understand what you expect. 

Keelie

And that is so hard. Because when you like so for example, if you grow up in a family, where your dad, like, in my case is an electrician, I think that it was just expected that at least a couple of my brothers would go into the electrical, you know, apprenticeship trades or whatever. And because my dad was always teaching us all how to work on cars, or to build or do all these things. Like I didn’t even know a world outside of that. I didn’t know to expect that I would, you know, have friends, you whoever in my life, people that needed more teaching or whatever, because that’s just how I grew up. Right? You don’t even know what you don’t know, really.

Austin

I heard somebody the other day on a podcast saying that. I’m trying to remember the context, maybe it was like telling, telling their family that they had an addiction problem or something like that. And they said the hardest person that I ever had to admit that too was myself. Yeah. And I was like, Whoa, man, there are some truth bombs there. Because if you don’t know what you expect, your spouse has no chance whatsoever. Because if you’ve never admitted it to yourself, you’re certainly not communicating it to them outwardly. Or directly. Maybe you maybe like I said, showing without telling and not even realizing it. So sometimes when there’s a fight, the first thing that I Okay, when you and I have a fight, or we have some kind of an ongoing problem, one of the things that I have to do is I have to go Why am I upset about this? Because if I go, you know, I’m upset about this because I was mad about something that happened the other day. And I’m not actually angry about this particular situation. Or I might say, you know, I’m mad about this, because she didn’t do what I thought she was going to do. And then I have to go, but did I ask her to do that? And then I realized, there’s an unmet expectation because it was an unspoken expectation. And so sometimes some and by the way, sometimes that conversation internally goes, Why am I mad about this? And I go, I don’t even know. And I sit and go, Okay, I think this bothered me. Because she didn’t do this, or I expected this or it was supposed to be like this. And I go, Oh, I didn’t even realize I had that expectation. So I know I’ve never communicated it to Keelie and so now I’ve got to do that and by the way, sometimes I don’t know if this goes both ways. But I know sometimes you get me there. We’ll be discussing. Okay. Hi, are we fighting right now? Because sometimes I got to do that with me. And sometimes we’ve got to do it together, right? And sometimes you’ll come to me and be like, Honey, what’s the problem right now? Like we’re fighting, but I don’t know why. So what’s the problem? And as we walk through it, I go, I’m mad at you because blah, and you’re like, Yeah, but why? And then I, I don’t know. And then we walk through it, and I go, Oh, it’s because of this. And we’ve discovered something. And sometimes I walk myself through it, sometimes you help me through it. Sometimes it’s some other time I’m in a conversation with a friend talking about something and I go, Oh, wait a minute. That, right. And so if you, if you admit it to yourself, or figure it out for yourself, that’s like step one. And then step two is then communicating that either sorry, either communicating that to your spouse or adjusting your expectation, because sometimes the problem isn’t with your spouse at all right? Sometimes it’s you have a bad expectations.

Austin

Yeah. And by bad expectation, here’s a bad expectation. The expectation would be that my spouse should know that what they just did or said, what upset me? Yeah. And they can’t do that anymore. And then I get, they tell me they’re sorry. And then they do it again? Yeah. Well, the truth is, your spouse is sorry for making you upset, they just don’t know. And if you are, if you have a frame of mind that your spouse should just know that what they said was crossing a boundary line with you without you actually setting the boundary. That’s unrealistic. If you expect your spouse to just, you know, know how you want them to respond. In a certain situation, that’s also unrealistic, like you didn’t marry a copy of yourself, even if your spouse is exactly like you, in many ways, it doesn’t mean they’re going to say, do whatever you want them to. And I would say that is probably one of the most difficult, unmet unspoken expectations to work through. Because one person or both people are being very prideful and saying, I’m the only I’m right. And my opinion and my point of view is the only one that is out there and is right, and everyone else should recognize that and know that. Yeah, unfortunately, I see that happen with couples because one person will just say, they should have known better anytime that you say that about your kids, your spouse, your co-workers, or whoever else that should be assigned to you that you have a thought or desire and expectation, understanding of how things work. That does not mean other people have that same philosophy, or thought process. So whenever you say they should know better. Now, I’m not saying if you haven’t told your kids a million and a half times to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, they shouldn’t know better. But I am saying that even if you have tried to teach them a lot of things in like, man, by this point, they should know better. There’s still a disconnect. And when you’re talking about grown people, that is a whole other story. Because you had no, you had no influence over their upbringing whatsoever. And what we found in our marriage is that we’re different personalities. So we just interpret the world 100% differently, completely. Yeah. So if Austin’s saying Keelie, you should have known better you should have known that saying that would have hurt me. That is super unrealistic because I wouldn’t know that. So unrealistic, unmet, unspoken expectations can wreck the marriage because it builds resentment. But if you actually lean into that, and do soul searching, figure out why are you upset? What was my expectation, clearly, sharing with your spouse, your expectations, working together, changing your expectations, when it’s just not realistic? These are the things that help you to relate better, to communicate better, and actually to just grow as a person. Instead of living in this bubble world where everybody has to do and feel and think the way I am you actually like to open up and can see the world from other people’s point of view. So that’s our encouragement for you today to really start figuring out for yourself what am I What do I expect? And figure out how to share that with your spouse in a way that does not make them feel like no, you thank so much for joining us today. Guys. Go to love hub imager.com Check out what else we’ve been blogging about. We blog about very different content over there very sexual intimacy based very relationship-based, as well. sign up for the newsletter loves adventure.com/newsletter and I will send you a copy of our free sexy drinker their bedroom game thanks for joining us this week to talk to you later.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.