Could Your Expectations Be Causing Conflict In Your Marriage?




How many times have we let our expectations get the better of us??

The problem is, you may not even realise you are doing it.

I had an interesting realisation this past weekend about expectations. I noticed I tend to fight more with my husband on the weekend, while week days seem to be a breeze.

Why is this?

Is it because during the week we hardly see each other and therefore cannot fight? Or is it because I don’t have expectations for our evening time, and merely accept it for as it is.

I noticed recently that I have expectations for the weekends.

Some expectations or rules to do with weekends could be:

Weekends are time for relaxing
Weekends are MY time to relax
Weekends are time to spend as a family
Weekends are a break from work
Weekends are a great time for cleaning
Weekends are a time to get out of the house
Weekends are just for family
Weekends are for socialising with friends
Weekends are for recreational activities
Weekends are time for some quiet me time

Any of these rules sound familiar?

What happens if your rules don’t match your partner’s rules?

Conflict may ensue, and consequently the weekend is ruined for everyone.

I had a realisation that my expectation was that ‘weekends are time to spend as a family’. Now I don’t have this same expectation during the week. For the most part, my husband and I will spend time together in the evenings, naturally together, I would respect his tiredness from his day and not have any expectations for the way we would spend our time. We would relax, have a hot drink, maybe watch some tv, chat and early to bed (because he rises early for work).

But on the weekend… does he get this same privilege?? Oh no brother!!! You better put that phone away, stop reading that book. I want your full attention. I want you to be engaged and present. I want you to make eye contact with me when I speak to you. No I do not want to talk about work (happy to during the week). And you better be prepared because we are getting out of the house and engaging in some family bonding activities!!

What response could my husband give to this? I know he is tired, he had a big week and he works SO hard. What do you think he wants to do on the weekend?? Most likely he just wants to lay on the couch, get lost in a book and perhaps have a nap.

So why does it annoy me so much to see him doing that?

Because as it turns out, I had EXPECTATIONS. What were mine?

“Weekends are time to spend as a family!!”

I never realised how much I carried this expectation around with me. But I did expect him to follow it, and with little or no communication on my part — because, he should know! Right? …

How many times do we let expectations bring conflict into our relationships?

I would suggest taking time to become aware of your expectations. Decide:
Is this expectation helpful or harmful? What would happen if I tossed it in the trash?
Or how can I best communicate this expectation to my husband?

* * *

Some time has passed! And I look back on these writings of mine and laugh. Just this past weekend, I decided to change my expectations. Which was so simple because I was so aware of what they were – so I was aware of the warning signs.

When I saw my husband laying on the couch reading an article on his phone, I had a choice to make, do I ALLOW this to annoy me or do I choose to respond with compassion?

. . . I could let myself get frustrated and think
“Why isn’t he helping me? Is he really going to lay there all day??”  

or I could think. . .
“You know what? He has been running around like a mad man all week, I am really happy he is making time to relax”

By becoming self aware, we have an opportunity to grow in virtue.

Last weekend was one of the most lovely weekends I had had in a while, and as we were approaching bed time Sunday night, it dawned on me – was this weekend any different from any other weekend?? I started prodding my husband. . .

“Was this weekend different for you?” “Did you enjoy it more than any other weekend??” — He responded confused, “What on earth are you going on about?!”

He even got a little frustrated thinking I was trying to corner him into an argument!

I chuckled to myself, it was as simple as changing my expectations…


Filed Under: Family LifeFeaturedMarriagePersonal Growth

About the Author: Mother of 4 beautiful girls and 1 beautiful boy. Co-Founder of the website and dedicated stay-at-home-mum. "Our inspiration for the website was to create a platform for Catholic Mums to be able to connect with each other for support and to facilitate growth. We wanted a safe place to share thoughts on different family issues, with an underlying Catholic value system."

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