Talk About Marriage - View Single Post - What are your realistic expectations of your spouse?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Re: What are your realistic expectations of your spouse?

Originally Posted by credamdóchasgra View Post
I wanted to post this question in the "long term success" forum specifically.

Having realistic expectatons of each other and ourselves is something our therapist wants us to work on, and whenever we have a tiff, my husband tends to think I'm expecting something from him that is unrealistic. Sometimes I can see his point, but I don't always agree; For example, I don't think it's unrealistic to expect him to want to or be able to talk/chat with me on a long drive in the car when I'm doing the driving and I let him know the conversation would keep me alert, after a night of not enough sleep...but if I express that, he acts like I'm inconveniencing him or asking too much of him. So instead of demanding that he see my point of view, I simply initiate the conversation, and he responded minimally.
While I agree that we need to have realistic expectations, it is concerning to me that your DH does not want to be helpful. In addition to trying to limit your expectations of each other to the "reasonable," do you also talk about the desire to be helpful to one another?

I try to keep my expectations realistic, and I'm wondering the thoughts on this from people who have been married awhile and are happy.
Realistic is defined not by the person doing the expecting but the person expected of. There is no objective set of reasonable expectations. As good will increases, the set of things a person is going to consider reasonable for them to do will also increase.

I expect that he cares for me, respects me, and is happy to be with me (spend time with me, do things with me, talk to me, etc.)
He may perceive that I have unrealistic expectations...but from my pov, it's when i sense he's not expressing one of those 3 basic things, that I have a problem. It's when he sends a message that I'm annoying to him rather than a pleasure to have by his side.
One of the scariest, most hurtful and most productive honest things my husband said to me back in the bad days was that I was being "too needy." But it really made me think. I was spending all my time expecting HIM to make me happy, be with me, prove to me he loved me. I never let us just BE.

Yah sometimes he doesn't want to BE (with big relationship emphasis) with me. Sometimes he wants to veg out and daydream, watch tv, go mountain bike riding with friends.

By increasing my self esteem, by investing in interests of my own, by giving him freedom, I INCREASED his desire to be with me by DECREASING the pressure to do so.

What I can admit is unrealistic for me to expect is for him to agree with me on something if he simply doesn't, say exactly what I want to hear, or respond in a particular way.

So how have you learned in your marriages what your realistic expectations are of your spouse, and do you have any advice for me?
I guess stop worrying so much about what you EXPECT from HIM and start worrying a lot more about how to meet HIS needs. Rebuild a dynamic of mutual helpfulness, etc..
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