How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t know what you want from me?” Some the most discouraging arguments occur when unreasonable expectations are made upon one or both individuals in a relationship. Often, when couples come into therapy the underlying problem is not HOW people communicate, but the way they want the other person to conform to their expectations.
If one person was raised in a rigid family system, where there was “a place for everything, and everything in its place,” they are going to have similar expectations for their own home. If someone was raised in a “messy” home, where it was okay to leave a trail of clothes on the floor, or dishes in the sink, they are going to expect the same for their home. If one person was raised in a home with a lot of “rules,” they are going to expect rules be followed in their own home. If another was allowed to run free of rules, they are going to expect a more “relaxed” environment where rules are more like guidelines for expectations. The differences in expectations are limitless; Religion, Politics, Money, Children, Family, Paper or Plastic, Hot or Cold, Brief or Boxer.” So, what do most people do? They marry each other and expect the OTHER to change. When resistance happens, fights happen and unhappiness follows.
The Bible refers to this irrational expectation as being “unevenly yoked.” We are warned that if we are not paired well together, that problems will arise and conflict happens. Why do we overlook the differences when we are dating, and then expect those differences to just go away because we’ve said, “I do?” Red flags could be waving around our heads, and we carelessly deny the truth and seek to live a lie. Then when the honeymoon is over (which could be only hours after taking that vow) the truth smacks us right in the face. This is the beginning of a long series of unhealthy attempts to correct the problems which were present all along, but we didn’t want to address prior to making the commitment. Society today wants everyone to jump into relationships without any commitments, and the result is more single parenting, children being abused, abandoned, and suffering for the choices their parent’s made.
What is the solution to this problem? Well, the first thing would be to accept responsibility for the expectations you have and acknowledge the differences you have with your mate. Address the expectations BEFORE you make any life altering decisions, and chose wisely what you are willing to live with and what you are not.
If you are already in a relationship and experiencing difficulty because of the differences, then seek professional counsel. You got yourselves into this mess, and you’re not going to be able to get yourselves out of it. Even divorce doesn’t change your irrational expectations you place on others, and you’ll repeat your patterns over and over again. Save your marriage with the help of a trained therapist and avoid dragging your children through a divorce situation.
At Encouragers Counseling & Training Centers, Inc., we are trained professionals who are ready to help you with your relationship difficulties. Won’t you give us a call today, so we can help you have a better tomorrow?