Christian Living


Family Matters 10/12/18

Do You Know the Expectations in Your Relationships?

Reflective woman

Do you expect good things to happen in your life? What about in your relationships?

Expectations make a difference. When they are positive, it helps a relationship grow. When you don’t know the expectations, problems arise. And when relationship expectations aren’t met, it leads to even more problems.

Some people think that if you expect little in a relationship, you become pleasantly surprised when an expectation is met. But, those who have low relationship expectations tend to be treated poorly, and the reverse is also true. Even when you have high expectations, they need to be reasonable. For example, do you expect your partner to understand you without ever having to explain yourself? This is an example of a relationship expectation that needs to be adjusted and made more realistic. You can’t be understood if your feelings and needs aren’t communicated.  

Here are a few relationship expectations to discuss in order to decide what is reasonable:

  1. How much time should your partner spend with friends versus you?
  2. Are your demands too high? (Name a few and see the reaction from the other person.)
  3. Do you see conflict as a normal part of every relationship?
  4. How much do you compare your relationship to people you see on social media?
  5. Do we have to have the same interests? If not, is that an issue?
  6. What are expectations around the sexual relationship?
  7. How important is trust in the relationship?
  8. Do you expect to be loved unconditionally or are their strings attached to love?
  9. Do you expect the other person to fix all your wounds from childhood?
  10. Do you expect a relationship free from any type of abuse?

Discussing expectations like the ones above can prevent lots of problems. And this type of discussion may make a difference as to whether you pursue a relationship.

Once you put expectations on the table, you can see if the other person is reasonable or is up for negotiations. But, if you never talk about expectations and they don’t get met, you build up anger and resentment towards the other person.

Most people in a loving relationship will do their best to meet reasonable expectations. The problem for many relationships is not making them known. So, verbalize your relationship expectations and see where you have agreement. On points of disagreement, talk about how your expectations formed and how your family handles differences.

While these conversations can be hard to do, working through differences can make the difference in your relationship health.  

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