Expectation identification is one way to avoid arguments with your spouse. Think about one thing that causes you to experience disappointment or anger in your marriage. Usually, it can be traced back to your spouse failing to fulfill your expectations. Maybe you had it set in your mind that your wife would always wear feminine negligees instead of flannel pajamas. Or you expected your husband to sit with you, baring his soul and chatting for hours. Well, that never happened…it was just wishful thinking. Now you’re expectations are unfulfilled and you’re frustrated, and your frustration leads to anger and conflict.
How do we manage unfulfilled expectations? First, identify the expectation that caused the disappointment or anger. Ask yourself, “What did I expect them to say or do in this situation?” Second, determine if you conveyed that expectation to your spouse beforehand. If you didn’t, then it may be tough to hold them accountable. Third, communicate the unfulfilled expectation to your spouse and share with them how it made you feel that they did not follow through with what you discussed or agreed to, and what can be done differently the next time.