Relationship Expectations: What We Expect & Why

Amy EdelsteinRelationships

“But I’m Open, I Don’t Have Expectations”

We all have expectations in relationship. That’s not a bad thing. We want to direct our lives, live meaningfully and purposefully. Experience growth, development, happiness. Expectations include questions like these:

  • What do we want our life to be based on?On expectations
  • What do we want the quality of our relationship to be?
  • What do we want our partner to do for us?
  • How do we structure our home? Our time? Our finances?

Mostly, our expectations are unexamined. We don’t know exactly why we hold them, or whether or not the particular expectations we hold line up with what we most deeply believe and aspire to. In more cases than not, our desires, needs, aspirations, and goals are not created intentionally to mesh with our higher ideals.

What’s Wrong with Unexamined Expectations?

Unexamined expectations mean we’re not conscious of what we value and why. And that lack of awareness can create unintentional friction. Sometimes the unexamined expectations are wholesome, supportive of our shared intentions and deeper goals. And others are not – they are more expressive of wants, needs, desires that if we looked at more closely, we’d tweak the up quite a bit!

Unexamined expectations in marriage often go like this: We expect our partners to fulfill us. We expect to be relieved of an existential loneliness. We expect our partners to always be in tune with us, to anticipate our needs even before we do . . . Sound familiar? Understandable, and not necessarily bad in and of themselves, but there is an approach to our expectations that establishes a broader, more stable, unifying, and inclusive environment for our relationship to flourish within.

Purpose-driven Expectations

What we expect from each other has to do with how we define the greater purpose of our lives and our marriages. What is the greater context for our lives which defines the context–and the expectations–of our relationship?

The first question to ask when we define our expectations in our marriage is: what is the framework—or context—within which we look for meaning and purpose? What are the philosophical and spiritual guidelines which we set our life goals?

  • Do we aspire to discover unity, Oneness, or awakened awareness?
  • Is our context one of traditional observance and worship, with its set of guidelines for spiritualization of our lives?
  • Do we see our lives as part and parcel of the unfolding process of development?

When we’re clear about the guiding values and aspirations of our life, and the context that guides us, we can shape our expectations in our marriage. As we articulate our more fundamental life’s purpose together with our spouse, we’ll find ourselves able to navigate the currents of our life together with far more ease, fulfillment, and directionality.

* * * Read more on setting expectations, download your free copy of Love, Marriage & Evolution.

What do you think?