Expectations are critical for the success of any good relationship—especially a marriage. If you have false expectations, you will have trouble in your marriage and in every other relationship in your life.

If your marriage is struggling, here are four expectations that may be injuring it:

Unspoken Expectations

A lot of couples assume they are on the same page until a problem arises and they find out otherwise. I have found this especially true with upcoming life ventures such as parenting. Couples naturally assume they will discipline the same way. They don’t.

Couples naturally assume they will discipline the same way. They don’t.

When a couple never lays out what they expect in their marriage, at some point, one spouse or the other will be disappointed. The more you can communicate your expectations, the better prepared you will be to face life as it comes to you—or as you are living it.

Unclear Expectations

Everyone communicates differently. When a couple thinks they’ve communicated expectations, but they didn’t use language each could understand, there will be problems in the relationship. I have sat with couples who thought they made things clear—or thought the other spouse surely “read their mind.” It’s important to ask questions such as, “What I hear you saying is _____. Did I understand correctly?”

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Expectations must be clear. And, many times they have to be tested before we understand them.

Unmet Expectations

Even when a couple has clear expectations (everyone understood them) and they’ve been tested, if one spouse isn’t holding up their end of the deal, there will be trouble in paradise.

I borrowed from a cliche, because marriage isn’t necessarily always paradise. However, it certainly should be a relationship where trust is unquestioned. Commitments made in a marriage should be kept at the highest level possible.

Unrealistic Expectations

Some couples have expectations that are impossible for the other spouse to meet. Our spouse is not our savior. They are not perfect. They can’t read our mind. They will make mistakes.

Great marriages major on grace and forgiveness, because we all need lots of it.

Used by permission of Ron Edmondson. Visit his site for more blog posts like this at ronedmondson.com