Now, with your mind primed from all of the work you have done, consider again the hidden issues. Place a big check mark by each expectation that you feel you have not clearly discussed with your partner. You might now rate that expectation as not very reasonable.
Sometimes we get them from magazines and sometimes we get them from our friends. And if we expect everything to go exactly as we want it to go, or as we’ve seen it go in movies, things are going to go wrong. Not only that, but every good relationship takes work, dedication and a lot of effort. Chances are, once you've been in a relationship for a while, you're going to get a little sick of each other once in a while.I’ve seen many friends dump guys because things weren’t living up to their unrealistic expectations of sunshine and happiness and ooey-gooey love. This is completely normal if you guys spend a lot of time together.I’ve learned from experience, from mistakes, from listening to friends and from reading websites.But I think the most important thing I learned was something I caught onto myself: you can’t expect any kind of relationship to live up to the perfect expectations you will inevitably have. Think about the little things that have irritated you in the past. What do you expect, want, or fear in each of these areas? Talk about the degree to which you both feel your expectations are reasonable or unreasonable and discuss what you will agree to do about these.
What should happen when there is a need for forgiveness? Do you see any ways that deeper issues of yours might influence your expectations? After you and your partner have finished the entire written exercise, schedule times together to discuss each of the areas either of you thinks is important. You should plan on a number of discussions, each covering only one or two expectation being discussed has been shared clearly in the past and how it may have affected your relationship.
This is probably where many of your beliefs about what you want or don’t want come from. What do you expect about fidelity, including whether your partner should have friends of the opposite sex, and so forth?
With many areas of expectation, we have provided some references to key passages of scripture that deal with that area.
Who do you expect will have more power in what kinds of decisions?
Along with the authors, we believe it will be worth every effort you put into learning what you can from this book and mastering these skills because it will greatly help your marriage become the best it can be.
Who should make the final decision when you disagree about a key area? How much time do you want to spend together (versus time alone, with friends, at work, with family, and so forth)? What do you expect about sharing all of your thoughts and feelings?