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This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Video YouTube channel.

It’s important to understand how expectations affect marital conflict. If you’re going to have healthy communication, and the ability to resolve conflict, you have to start by getting on the same page.

[Related Series: Marriage Basics]

Everyone Has Expectations

We all have expectations. We expect certain things from our spouse and about what the marriage should look like. When expectations aren’t met, problems arise.

Conflict Often Starts Over Missed Expectations

Because we all have expectations, we are disappointed when our expectations aren’t  met. We become angry or hurt when our spouse doesn’t do or say what we expected. Then, we react to that disappointment by lashing out at them. Here’s the problem, your spouse was likely unaware that they had messed up.

You Have to Articulate What You Expect

Communication is the key. You have to talk about your expectations so you can avoid unnecessary conflict and can get on the same page. Try three steps for talking through missed expectations:

  1. Discover the missed expectation
  2. Talk about the missed expectation
  3. Make a plan to do something about it

[Related: Don’t Let Bad Communication Derail Your Marriage]

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. What are some of your expectations for marriage? How have some been met and how have some not?
  4. What are some expectations you have of your spouse? How have they been met or not?
  5. Identify some arguments you’ve had that can be traced to missed expectations. How were those resolved?
  6. On a scale of 1-10, how often do you feel like you’re not on the same page with your spouse? Why?
  7. How can using the three steps help you in your next conflict?
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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