Watch out for this subtle 'relationship killer' that often goes unnoticed
Think infidelity is the only major reason marriages fail? Think again. Here's one insidious relationship killer couples often don't even notice.
Failed relationships are messy and there is often no singular cause for its demise. Infidelity and betrayal are some of the most common marriage killers, but there are more insidious dangers to watch out for.
Let’s take a closer look at one such danger that often goes unnoticed: Unmet expectations.
Think about the last time you felt disappointed in your spouse: that time they didn’t come through on a promise, or the time when you felt they betrayed your trust. Being let down by the one you love is a natural part of relationships, but when it builds up over time without being dealt with, it can cause lasting damage.
Constant disappointment results in resentment and contempt. Over time, couples can either choose to fight it out, opening up about unhappy they are, or they simply settle, suck it up, and sacrifice for the sake of their family. However couples cope with it, there’s no denying that not having expectations met can lead to disillusionment.
Author Derek Harvey recounts how he stumbled upon this realization in his blog.
As a newly married man, he was overly confident that he knew how to life-proof his marriage, but he soon found out that he had much to learn. Sharing his insights, the author and self-confessed “math person” came up with one interesting equation, which he says helped him make sense of this new knowledge the best way he could.
Expectation – Observation = Frustration
Expectation – Observation = Frustration.
Harvey’s advice is to observe rather than expect, in order to avoid constant frustration. How? Say, for example, you expect your spouse will cheer you up because you are in an awful mood and nothing seems to be going your way. When they don’t, you end up frustrated and disappointed. This is expectation.
But what if you change how you approach the situation? Try observation, instead. Is your spouse unable to be there to listen and make you smile because they are going through something of their own? Realizing it is not always about you will help you treat your better half with empathy and help you avoid feeling neglected.
Replacing expectation with simple observation means seeing life for what it is and being okay with it. Grounding a marriage in reality helps couples better deal with its difficulties.
This does not mean couples must not strive to be the best versions of themselves for one another, it simply means they should be fair to one another, freeing each other from unrealistic expectations.
Managing expectations and embracing one another for who you truly are can help improve the chances of your marriage to stand the test of time.