Happy Thanksgiving! Today is a day that we can focus on how much we have to be thankful for. It is also a day that can create serious family drama. Holidays are challenging for some families.
We were talking about expectations on the Restored & Redeemed devotional this week, so I would love to continue the conversation here with you.
In our pre-marital counseling, our Pastor asked Scott and me to decide how we would spend the holidays. He asked us to think about which family we would visit with and how often we would have extended family dinners. At the time, I couldn’t understand why we would need to decide about extended family functions before it was an issue, but that was just the reason. He was asking us to lay out our expectations to avoid problems later.
Unmet expectations can often be the cause of many disagreements in a marriage. We all have expectations, even if we aren’t aware of them.
Your spouse cannot read your mind.
It is so important to understand your expectations and be able to communicate them to your spouse. I was shocked the few times I had a meltdown over something and wondered why my husband didn’t see things the way I did. I just assumed that Scott knew what I was thinking.
I came to realize that I had to communicate my needs and expectations. I had to let him know when I felt overwhelmed or had needs that I wanted him to meet. I also had to pause and make sure my expectations and needs were realistic.
Share your expectations
Think back about the times where you have been frustrated and upset with your spouse. What caused it? Did you have expectations that were not met? Did you communicate those expectations?
Be consistent about sitting down with your spouse and communicating your needs. How can you avoid a blow-up today by sharing your needs ahead of time? What do you need from your spouse today that would help make it a peaceful holiday?
When you talk through things with your spouse, you can also listen to their expectations and figure out ways to help meet those needs.
Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. Proverbs 18:2
Make this a way of life
The initial talk about expectations may feel awkward. It may feel silly to express your needs. I promise if you are vulnerable, it will be a step towards better communication in your marriage.
Don’t just be a taker, be willing to listen to your spouse. Ask them what their expectations and needs are as well.
Once you start this process, this will quickly become a way of life. You will begin working as a unit, making sure that there are no unmet expectations or needs.
God wants you both to walk through this life as one, connected not only to Him but to each other as well. Marriage is a beautiful relationship where you can encourage and bless each other.
When I started recognizing that my husband was not intentionally trying to hurt me, but instead he was oblivious to some of my needs, it changed things in our marriage.
Now it is rare that we enter into a holiday, event, family gathering, or vacation without a clear understanding of each other’s needs, desires, and hopes. We try to take this so far as planning out our weekends ahead of time. I can’t tell you how often Scott was looking forward to a weekend of football and relaxing, and I thought we could put an addition on the house by Saturday evening.
Do you have disappointments that you are holding on to? Pray and ask God to reveal areas that need to be discussed with your spouse. Here are some topics to get you started:
- Household Chores – Do you need more help keeping up with the chores of the house?
- Extended Family – Are you on the same page regarding time with extended family?
- Spiritual Life – Do you desire a different spiritual life with your spouse? Do you want to do devotions together each day or pray together? Are you sharing your spiritual victories and struggles with your spouse?
- Finances – Do you agree on how the budget is handled and how your money is spent each month?
- – Is your spouse meeting your physical needs? Do you need to talk about how you can create more intention in this area?
- Love Languages – Do you know your spouse’s love language? Are you doing a good job of meeting those needs?
Watch your communication and patience with one another change as you start being intentional in discussing your wants, needs, and desires.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18