Problems in marriage often start with unreal expectations that husbands and wives have of one another. Unreal expectations become unmet expectations that become unsettling issues in a marriage.
So, here are five expectations that husbands need to realize could be hurting their wives and their marriages:
1. Expect That She Always Needs Your Help. Many of us have known the pain and frustration of a micro-managing boss. This is the boss that assumes you don't know what you're doing or that you're probably doing it wrong. Husbands can do the very same thing to their wives, and it hurts. What you may assume is being helpful, she might see as a lack of trust or an assumption of weakness.
2. Expect That She Never Needs Your Help. It's amazing how often the words "Always" and "Never" are associated with unreal expectations. Yes, I just said that a husband shouldn't expect that his wife always needs help, but it's also unfair to expect that she never needs help. Whatever the issue or task, it's best to ask your wife first whether or not she needs your help, and, if so, how you can best help her.
3. Expect That She's Always Ready for Sex. Generally, women don't think about sex as often as men do, but husbands are apt to forget this. A man compounds the problem when he views his wife like a video game ... expecting that with a few pushes of the right buttons, she'll be turned on by him instantaneously. Men, we all need to be reminded, sexual intimacy is not just mechanical; it is emotional and even spiritual.
4. Expect That She Will Agree with You on Financial Matters. Financial issues are one of the biggest sources of marital conflict. Husbands may assume that it is their responsibility and that they'll make all the financial decisions. I grew up in a home like that. My dad handled the finances and generally handled them well, but my mom really wasn't involved in those decisions. But a better way is for a husband to sit down with his wife and discuss things like how much debt, if any, they are willing to incur, what their spending priorities are, and how much they want to save and give to others. In our marriage, Susan and I work closely together on financial matters and neither one of us moves forward on any major purchase or gift without consulting with the other.
5. Expect That She Should Always Know You Love Her. As the joke goes, "I told you I loved you when we got married ... if anything changes, I'll let you know!" It's not fair for you to assume she knows you love her. Wives need to hear it from their husbands, see it in their actions, and feel it in their interactions with them. And through those married years, a wife wants to know that her husband still finds her attractive.
Wives, your turn comes on Friday with "5 Unfair Expectations of Your Husband."
What are some of the unreal expectations you've had with your spouse, or they've had with you, that have created struggles? How have you dealt with them? Please share your comments.
Mark Merrill is the president of Family First. For the original article, visit markmerrill.com.
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