Are You Arguing More Than Most Couples?

There are no perfect marriages.

There are no perfect marriages because there are no perfect people. The last perfect person was crucified and people have been talking about Him for about 2,000 years.

There are no perfect marriages!

Married couples, on average, have about 21 disagreements a week. You may have just read that and it makes you feel very good. Or you may have read that and thought, “we need to reduce our number of disagreements. We believe that couples do not have 21 different arguments a week. They have about 5-7 arguments that they do not resolve and therefore they keep repeating them over and over again.

Dashed Expectations

When you believe that any one with common sense ought to know how to do, or not to do something, it is an expectation. And when we experience people not doing what we expect them to do or doing what we do not expect them to do, we experience frustration as our expectation is dashed.

Many frustrations in marriage relationships are due to dashed expectations. Each spouse has an expectation of how that specific thing should be done, or whether it should be done at all. When the other does not do it that way, we are sad, angry, or frustrated because it does not fit our expectations of our marriage relationship.

Hidden Expectations

Unexpressed expectations cause frequent disappointment. Most of the time our spouse does not know that they did not meet our expectation. They know that somehow they hurt us, but they do not understand why.

Not expressing our expectations to our spouse is hiding them, whether we hide them intentionally or unintentionally. When we do not express our expectations to our spouse, we are setting them up for failure within our relationship. We are setting ourselves up for frustration.

Expecting my spouse to know what I want without speaking it is like two musicians who have never met nor spoken to each other stepping into a room and beginning to play the same song from memory at the same time.  It will never happen. And your spouse “reading your mind” and figuring out what you want before you express will likely never happen either.

How To Have Healthy Expectations

  1. Communicate your expectation as a request. Healthy expectations are expectations that are communicated. As you experience a frustration due to an unexpressed expectation, make sure you have a discussion to request what you expect for the future.
  2. Listen to your spouse’s expectations. Give your spouse full body attention and hear if they have any expectations around the issue. Listing to your spouse’s expectations around the issue will help you negotiate a way forward.
  3. Negotiate the future. Keep your future together at the forefront of the conversation as focusing on what happened in the past, or who was right or wrong, will be futile. Be open to hearing from your spouse if your expectation is unreasonable for them to do. Find your win – win together.
  4. My way or the highway is unhealthy. Dictating to your spouse what you expect and making demands that put your marriage on the line should be reserved for the most dangerous behaviors a spouse could experience. Issues like family violence, infidelity, financial mistrusts, and untreated addictions and mental health issues should be the only times when such language is used.

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded and show sympathy, love, compassion, and humility to and for each other—not paying back evil with evil or insult with insult, but repaying the bad with a blessing. It was this you were called to do, so that you might inherit a blessing. It is written in the psalms, If you love life and want to live a good, long time, then be careful what you say. Don’t tell lies or spread gossip or talk about improper things. Walk away from the evil things in the world—just leave them behind, and do what is right, and always seek peace and pursue it.” I Peter 3:8-11 (VOICE)

Communicating your expectations, and hearing your spouse’s expectations, and negotiating will decrease the number of arguments in the marriage. If you want to argue less, look at what your expectations are and communicate them to your spouse.

What Do You Have To Say?

We always love to hear from our readers. Were you pleasantly surprised that you argue less than most couples? What other ways have you experienced dashed expectations in your marriage? If you tried to communicate your expectations to your spouse, how did it go?

This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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