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A Marriage Without Expectations

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 “to have and to hold from this day forward,

for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,

in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish, 'til death do us part”


Most married couples agree to the limited expectations found in some variation of the above wedding vow. But it is surprising how many people have unspoke expectations about the role of their spouse, their own role or what will change once a baby arrives. Over time, one or both partners start to increase their expectations of each other, often without the agreement or knowledge of the other partner. As these expectations grows, no ever discusses them openly. Both people just believe that their expectations about marriage are common knowledge. But the reality is that their expectations are not universals truths, just individual truths.

A popular saying in marriage counselling is “Expectations are just premeditated resentments”….

As individual expectations of a spouse or partner are not met in the marriage resentments increase and the perception of the spouse/partner starts to change from positive to negative. This change in perception is a critical factor in communication between spouses. Behaviors and words are now seen through a negative perception filter rather than the once positive filter.

When a spouse was once late coming home from work and it used to be seen as taking care of the family by fulfilling financial obligations, it is now, under a negative filter, perceived as not caring and prioritizing work over the family. These changes in perceptions are subtle but build up over time causing individuals in the relationship to turn away from one another rather than towards each other. Once people start perceiving their spouses behavior negative it affects how they act towards their spouse creating a vicious downward negative cycle.

One of the reasons friendships work and last is because we don’t have expectations from our friends or if we have, we have very few of them. There is no obligation and we don’t try to control our friends, yet our friends are willing to do so much for us. In a marriage you want to try and limit your expectations to your wedding vows. Expectations in marriage often lead to resentments, disappointments and counter conditions.

A trained professional marriage counsellor provides married couples with new communications skills and tools for repairing and improving their relationships. One area that almost all married couples struggle with is effective communication. A trained professional marriage counsellor has at least 6 years of training including a Master’s degree and often advanced certifications in theories and interventions. A professional couple counsellor has grounding in the theory of human development and counselling theories and not just counselling tools. A expat marriage counsellor want to help married couples learn more effective communication skills as soon as possible.

Marriage counselling is about providing couples with more effective relationship skills that can help them repair and improve their relationships. No where do we learn how to be effective in a relationship, it is either through observing our own parents’ relationships or trial and error. In a marriage, especially  those with kids  cannot afford error. Marriage counselling is most effective early  when clients  experience problems. The skills taught to couples help them support each other’s dream, build more effective communication and support the couple to turn towards one another for support.

All in the Family Counselling seek to help clients get small positive change in their relationships within in 4-6 sessions though clients may need a few more sessions for better change. Marriage Counselling is more effective when started earlier  in problems rather than waiting till things  turn so bad that neither person is motivated to save the relationship. Ideally couples should learn effective relationship skills before getting married.  Call us to find out how we can help your relationship at 9030 7239.

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