Our society has this strange tendency to lure us into planning and pulling off the perfect “fairytale” wedding. Just about any girl you ask, including me, has at some point dreamed about her picture-perfect wedding, husband, honeymoon and home—with a list of expectations for each.
A friend who recently married had a rule throughout her engagement: one day of the week with no conversation regarding the wedding or wedding planning. I believe those days will prove to be some of the sweetest of their engagement as they used that time to talk about their relationship and marriage instead of the wedding. However, I’ve also watched engaged couples get so lost in the wedding planning that they forget planning for marriage, such as talking about each other’s expectations.
In the marriages of my friends and family, I’ve noticed how easily tension can pop up in unexpected areas—from squeezing the toothpaste and decorating the house to spending money and getting together with in-laws. It’s almost as if husbands and wives think the other can read their mind and know what they expect. For example, a wife often would like to talk about her day without her husband always providing a solution. On the other hand, a husband often desires to make decisions for the household without his wife second guessing him. They both expect the other to respond accordingly without communicating their need; so neither of them ends up satisfied.
Two ways for couples to guard against conflict caused by unmet expectations are communication and having abundant grace each day with one another. Making time to communicate needs and desires, as well as expectations and intentions facilitates openness and will strengthen the relationship. If couples expect each other to meet their every need, they are setting their spouse up for failure. It’s natural to enter marriage with expectations but being aware of them, talking about them, and having a willingness to adjust them is a step toward having a healthy marriage.