As life evolves, so does marriage. And for a relationship to grow successfully, accepting the fact that change is imminent is key to a successful marriage. One aspect that must evolve is developing healthy expectations.

What are Unreasonable Expectations?

Before looking at what healthy expectations are for your marriage, let’s look at how early behaviors in a relationship can become unreasonable expectations over time as the relationship dynamics change. Relationship conditions that likely existed early on can become the key culprits contributing to an unhappy marriage if the change isn’t accepted as normal and probable. These expectations include that your spouse should:

  • Fulfill your every need
  • Serve as the primary source of your happiness
  • Fill all of your companionship needs – and that you should fill theirs
  • Mirror what’s important to you
  • Always be the center of attention to your spouse
  • The excitement and passion should continue as it was earlier in your relationship

Some or many of the above were likely a part of your early relationship. However, these relationship conditions don’t usually maintain at the same intensity over the years.

12 Healthy Expectations to Accept and Fulfill

As the marriage changes and evolves, it grows by accepting – and fulfilling – healthy expectations, which include:

  1. Commitment in the marriage
  2. Verbal affection
  3. Compassion and empathy for each other’s feelings
  4. Respect for each other
  5. Consideration for each other’s differences
  6. Spending quality time with each other – while understanding that each spouse has other time commitments
  7. Showing interest in each other and what each is involved with, including opinions and ideas, work and activities
  8. Physical closeness: hugging, holding hands, touching, and other simple physical gestures count and are vital no matter what the couple’s sexual life is like
  9. Being generous of thought, spirit, and action towards each other.
  10. Acknowledging that there are other important people in each spouse’s life: friends, family, colleagues, etc.
  11. Making time and creating opportunities to have fun and laugh together
  12. Open communication and sincere, active listening to each other – which can fail if there isn’t an effort to continually work on it. Communication includes discussing each other’s thoughts and needs and hopes for the future they share or have individually.

No matter the stage of a marriage, you may need to revamp the way they treat each other: agreeing to sit down and discuss your relationship and what each of you needs from the other.

Healthy Expectations is Vital for a Marriage

Couples often hold on to expectations fulfilled at the beginning of their relationship. But these expectations can become unreasonable as the marriage moves through the years. Accepting healthy expectations is vital for a marriage to be satisfying and a happy one.

While each person has their own needs, some healthy expectations should be foundational. These expectations focus on how you treat each other and will vary with each partner.

Accepting the fact that everything in life changes – including marriage – can help you focus on reality and what the possibilities are for you both. Letting go of what was and working toward what can be is the answer to rebuilding something beautiful.

Do you need help developing healthy expectations in your marriage? Through Christian marriage conferences, retreats, relationship coaching, and premarital counseling, Eagle Family Ministries help you build or maintain a marriage that lasts a lifetime.