Some friends of ours were married Saturday, and when any of our friends get married, we tend to get asked, “what’s one piece of advice that you would give to newlyweds?”. After two and a half years, we’ve finally developed a good answer (the first couple of times, we didn’t know the best answer). We were asked once again a couple of weeks ago, and Katie’s answer was so good, that I (Mitchel) thought that it needed to be shared.
During the first year of our marriage, 99% of our arguments stemmed from problems with expectations. We had a lot of problems with what one of us expected and what the other delivered. Katie had an idea of how the bed should be made, and I didn’t know those expectations, which meant that I didn’t make the bed the way that she wanted.
I don’t have any problems with making the bed her way, but I needed to know what she expected. I would do several things, trying to help out around the apartment, but she would have to go behind me and do them again because of her expectations on how they should be done.
She didn’t mean harm in having these expectations and there is nothing wrong with having expectations in a relationship. But you can’t have those expectations, not express them, and then be upset when the other person doesn’t meet them. Not only would it frustrate her because I wasn’t doing it the way that she expected I would, but it would annoy me when she would go behind me and do it her way. There was nothing wrong with the way that I folded towels, but it wasn’t the way that she was used to them being folded. It was irksome to me that I spent time doing chores around the house, just for her to do the exact same thing that I did.
We had to have several conversations about this and Katie now gives some sounds advice on the topic…
One wise thing that Katie mentioned to the soon-to-be married couple the other day was, “you have to realize that just because things that are not done the way that you expect them doesn’t mean they are necessarily wrong.” She went on to say that she learned to decide what things were worth redoing or what she would just let go of so that it didn’t start a fight. Later on, she would then tell me how she would prefer when it wasn’t a heated moment, or she would change the way that she looked at it. She also mentioned to the couple that she is more intentional about being grateful and accepting of things that I do, regardless of if it’s the way she prefers it to be done. It’s a work in progress.