We all know that communication is a vital component to healthy relationships, but many people undermine the importance of communicating their expectations. What is it that you expect from your significant other and is that realistic? More importantly, is your significant other even aware of your expectations?
If what you experience is less than what you expect, you are going to be frustrated. Frustration often leads to relationship issues. This does not mean to throw away your expectations. It is extremely important to have healthy, realistic expectations as long as they are communicated to your significant other and you both come to some sort of middle ground. Keep in mind, however, there will be times where you just need to go with the flow and deal with the reality at hand.
Let’s say you are exhausted from being up through the night with your newborn and chasing around your toddler all day. By the time your husband rolls in at 6:00pm, you’re ready for a break. But when he asks “What’s for dinner?” you lose it and blow up on him. You both are exhausted after a full day of work and you both expect the other person to give you a break. The problem here is lack of communication of expectations. Perhaps you both need to sit down and come up with a plan where certain days of the week are your days to cook, certain days are his, some evenings are frozen meals and some are take-out. Also, it is important to be able to go with the flow. Perhaps on one of his evenings to cook, an unexpected meeting comes up and he has to stay late. Pull out the box of Cheerios and some milk and call it good.
Let’s look at another example. Everything was going great in your relationship until your significant other lost his job and now you’re struggling to make ends meet. Immediately there needs to be an open conversation with both of you on how to get by on a tighter budget. You might both need to give things up. Perhaps he needs to stop the beer drinking and you need to stop the salon visits. For the next couple of months, there might be no more restaurants, but beans and rice instead. Make sure to set aside time for researching and applying for jobs and ask family and friends if they know of any job openings. Remember, you are in this together and together you can get through this.
When frustrating events happen, talk to each other openly about it. Don’t finger point or cause blame. Instead, come up with a plan on how to get through it together. There will be some rough times, but you need to react appropriately. You can both rise above the situation and come out stronger or you can let it consume and tear the relationship apart.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather come out stronger.