Great Expectations

Daily life involves thousands of expectations; so much so that we get used to having them constantly met, but if the gap between our expectations and the reality we find ourselves living in grows – that is when the challenge of disappointment begins.

If we make an effort to keep our expectations reasonable, then it is reasonable to assume that they are going to be realized. Right? Well, not always. The problem with being reasonable is that what is reasonable to you is weird or extreme to your husband/wife. And what is reasonable in the first year or two of marriage may not be after five years of marriage and a couple of kids.

For example, you might have an expectation that your wife is never late, or that she must look like she has just walked out of the salon. You may expect your husband to always give you the sympathy and empathy that you deserve. These are not reasonable and if you create a set of rigid expectations like these then your marriage is going to struggle.

I will throw out two reasonable expectations. Firstly, that the man of the family spends quality time with the children on a daily basis, and secondly that he works to provide us with a nicely comfortable life style. If you have both of these expectations at the same time they are very often going to come into conflict and you may find yourself with increasing levels of frustration.

This idea was investigated in a study of female doctors. They categorized the women into three groups. Those that put career first, even to the determent of their family, those that put their family first at the risk of not progressing professionally and thirdly those that intended to have a successful career and balanced family life without having to sacrifice either of them. Those that thought they could perform the balancing act were the group with the greatest levels of depression , anxiety and marital problems.

When choosing your priorities and the way that you expect your life to play out, make sure that you are being reasonable and consistent.

To learn more about this topic email us at the Jewish Marriage Institute.

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