Jessica was on the phone with us scheduling a Marriage Intensive. “Austin doesn’t really love me because if he did I would not have to tell him to do the things that any man who loves his wife would do.”
For the first few years after Jessica and Austin married, nine years ago, Jessica felt like they were truly in love with each other. But for the last seven years, Jessica has been repeatedly hurt by his unwillingness “to love me”. This has built such resentment and bitterness in her heart that affects everything.
Holding onto past hurts and allowing resentment to build in your heart makes you act in ways that pushes your spouse away from you. Eventually it leads to, at best, a home with two people living independent parallel lives, or at worse, actions that finalize the end of the marriage in very hurtful ways.
Common Sense Is Not Common
Like Jessica and Austin, every marriage has dashed expectations. When the movie playing in your head about how you and your spouse should interact and what each should do does not happen, it can be very hurtful.
You assume that the movie playing in your head about how things should happen is the same movie playing in your spouse’s head. But it is not. And it is not the same movie playing in everyone else’s head.
The Movie Playing In Your Head
Common sense is not common. Every person on earth, even identical twins, have different movies playing in their heads about things. The movie is based on the earliest years in your life. It includes how your parents interacted with you and with each other and how they handled emotions and relationships. It also includes how you and your siblings related to each other.
Your movie is also built on how you interacted with the opposite sex, your first crush and your first love. It is built on all your prior relationships as well as every interaction you have had with your spouse from the first moment you met them.
Common Expectations From Your Movie
The movie playing in your head has high expectations on your spouse in many areas, including the following:
- Sex life
- Engaging with friends
- Dealing with extended family
- Dating each other
- How to disagree with each other
The movie playing in your head about your marriage taints your expectations of your spouse. It feels like everyone should know what is expected. You should not have tell your spouse because in the movie playing in your head, it is common sense.
The Truth About Your Expectations
There are no accurate mind readers. Your spouse is not a mind reader. No one knows about the movie playing in your head unless you tell them. You have to tell your spouse about the movie playing in your head around the thing that frustrates you that “should be” common sense.
You cannot read your spouse’s mind. You cannot know what your spouse’s movie is regarding any expectation of you unless they tell you about it. You have to create an environment in your relationship where your spouse will tell you about the movie playing in their head.
Marriage is a lifelong adventure of helping your spouse share the movie playing in their head about the thing that is frustrating you and being open to share, in a way that your spouse can hear it, about the movie playing in your head about the issue.
Assuming your spouse will know what you expect based on the movie playing in your head sets you up for dashed expectations and will cause you pain. It is as unreasonable as believing two musicians who have never met nor communicated with each other will walk onto stage without rehearsal and automatically begin playing the exact same song at the same time and with the same tempo.
You Have To Tell Your Spouse
It is your responsibility to tell your spouse what you expect in your marriage. It is your responsibility to help your spouse tell what they expect in your marriage.
Your spouse can’t “love you”, as Jessica desired, if you do not tell them how you would like to be loved. You have to be the one to bring it up, ask about the movie playing in their head about an issue, and share the movie playing in your head about an issue.
The best way to do that is to use the Courageous Conversations Rules. If you need help, schedule an appointment with your Pastor, a Christian counselor or coach, or contact us for help.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Do you sometimes feel like your spouse is dashing your expectations? How do you help your spouse tell you about the movie playing in their head about an issue? How do you tell your spouse what you are expecting in a way that they will hear it? Have you ever had a courageous conversation and used the courageous conversation rules? What other suggestions you would add to this article? Do you know someone you need to forward this article to?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. 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 Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.