Simplify Your Marriage: Managing Expectations
Readers! I've teamed up with Aly from Wedshock and she is going to be guest blogging on a series called "Simplifying Your Marriage". Wedshock is a blog devoted to preparing, supporting, and consoling brides and newlyweds on the crazy, stressful, wild ride of engagement and new marriage. If you know anything about me, you know how hard my husband and I have worked to keep our marriage simple, so I'm so thankful to have Aly to put rubber to the road on minimalism and marriage!
simplifying your marriage: managing expectations
Sometimes it’s nice for activities and conversations to be planned and predictable. Thoughts like “Today is Valentine’s Day, so tonight is going to be extraordinarily romantic followed by hot and heavy…” seem harmless enough on the surface. But what happens when your partner only got you a thoughtful card (no flowers, chocolates, or red stuffed bears in sight), the dinner conversation is average, and you’re both too tired to get the ol’ bedroom fire started?
Disappointment happens...and disappointment, often times, leads to conflict.
But is it really possible to prevent disappointment altogether? Not necessarily, but managing expectations is definitely doable. And when you learn how to manage expectations, a bunch of other things get a lot simpler.
From this newlywed to you, here are three ways that you can simplify your marriage by managing expectations.
Simplify your schedule.
It’s hard to connect when you have a calendar packed with plans, and it’s hard to manage your expectations when you don’t have a minute to sit down together. The more you have to do, the less sleep you get and the less time you have to get things done...including things with each other. Simplify your schedule by setting expectations early on with your spouse. Maybe you decide to keep weeknights plan-free or you agree to only see your in-laws twice a month. Whatever you decide together in advance will stave off mismanaged schedule-expectations in the future.
Simplify your social life.
Similar to your schedule, you and your partner will have to manage expectations around your social life. One of the biggest things to consider is whether or not you and your partner are introverted or extroverted, meaning social time either energizes or drains you. If you fall in different places on the spectrum (as most couples do), you’ll have to learn how to find balance in this area. Simplify your social life by keeping a joint social calendar and discussing your plans weekly. Springing social plans on an introvert can have drastic consequences (for instance...a full evening of the silent treatment?) in the same way that too much alone time can drive an extrovert mad. Consistent communication will help you both become more understanding, making expectations easier to manage.
Simplify your “special” days.
Are you worried that your anniversary isn’t going to be everything you’d hoped it would be? Does your wife typically have unreasonable expectations on her birthday? Special days have a way of adding special pressure to your relationships. Mismanaged expectations can be catastrophic in these cases, upending anniversary plans and Christmas travels alike. Simplify special days by communicating your expectations up front and potentially making plans together. If you want to surprise your partner, that’s totally fine, but be sure you know that, when you bought her a box of chocolates, she wasn’t expecting a hot air balloon ride instead.
Married life can get complicated, and disappointment happens. But if you learn how to manage expectations, things get a whole lot simpler. Clear communication and intentionality are key...and if you nail these two things, you’ll be golden.