Lowering Expectations in a Marriage


There is a fine line between learning to lower your expectations in a marriage and when to fight for what’s “right.”  Keep in mind that what’s considered right is all about perspective.

Your right might not be my right…just as your spouse’s right might not be your right.

One of the ways I try to gauge my “rights” is by how critical the issue really is; not how important it should be or I would like it to be.  But looking at it in a realistic and selfless manner.

That isn’t easy, believe me.  It requires stepping back from the issue at hand and analyzing it from every angle.

Let’s consider a fictitious scenario that could very well be played out in a marriage.  The wife comes from an abusive childhood.  She has spent years working through the difficulties of this.

Whenever she gets into an argument with her spouse, he brings up something from her abusive past.  He uses it like a knife, to cut her where it hurts.

I would think that most of us would agree that expecting the husband to fight fairly is “right.”  It’s reasonable and it’s certainly understandable that continuing to use someone’s painful past is going to destroy the marriage.  This expectation is one that make sense.

Sometimes we develop expectations about things that are not only inconsequential but downright silly.  We get worked up over the littlest things—dirty socks on the floor, overgrown weeds and whose turn it is to bath the little ones.

We come up with all these things that we believe we have rights to.  And when they aren’t met by our spouse, we are ready to duke it out.

I believe that for many of us who are married, our expectations really do need to be lowered.  We need to differentiate between critical issues and ones that make very little difference.