Communication & Expectations | Guest Post

Communication & Expectations | Guest Post

Communication is something we have been doing all our lives. We communicate with our words, our actions, our face, our body language. You would think that by our 20s, we are pros at this. Not quite yet. I imagine we will never fully have our communication under control until we have reached perfection in heaven.

Mr. M and I spent the first two years of our relationship with intention. While we were dating, we decided to have the hard conversations that most newlyweds wait until after the engagement or the wedding day to have. Working through the hard conversations beforehand allowed us to spend our first year of marriage available to grow and mature in ways that would not have been possible if we decided to wait until the “I Do’s” to start having the hard conversations .The hard conversations gave us a foundation in communication. And although we’ve been together for 3 1/2 years, we’re still finding out more about how we give and receive in our communication styles.


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Communication & Expectations

Older men and women, along with every marriage help book will tell you the biggest key to a strong marriage is COMMUNICATION. And beyond communication, it is communicating your EXPECTATIONS. We all have different expectations when it comes to housework, finances, parenting, sex. You name it, you have an expectation for it.

In my ignorance and bliss, I thought, “I won’t need to communicate ALL my expectations. Especially when it comes to the dishes.” I thought that if he saw the dishes, he would do them. If I had been working all day and he was at home, he would do the dishes. However, I quickly learned that he didn’t always see the sink full of dishes. But I did. He didn’t always register when it was time to dust the living room. But I did.

And the more I noticed all these things by myself, the more resentment built up inside of me. And when the resentment thermometer hit the top, I blew off the top. I exploded. I said things I didn’t mean. I loaded the dishwasher in frustration. I stomped around the house, making sure he knew that I was cleaning.

But that didn’t communicate to him that I needed help. That communicated to him that I was angry.

I wish I said this only happened once. But it happened again. And again. And again.

My anger didn’t open the door to a safe space to have the kind conversation: “I’m really stressed out at work; can you help me at home with some of the chores?” Instead, it escalated the problem. There was an evening where neither of us were talking to each other and when Mr. M saw me furiously cleaning, he knew that it was best to duck down and furiously clean as well. By the end of the night, the house was clean but our hearts were hurting.


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Conveying Tones

Each of us have power with our words to ignite or diffuse any situation. Marriage is teaching me that not every thing that pops into my mind needs to be said.

There are times when what I have to say is OK. It’s my tone, though, that has conveyed more than my message. It’s conveyed my attitude and my opinion of my husband in that moment.

We all know that our attitudes and opinions don’t exactly match up with the truth in our hearts 100% of the time.

When I speak in a tone that oozes utter disgust at my husband, I’m denying the truth that this is my man, and he makes me the most joyful woman in the world most days. Instead, my tone tells him that I hate who he is in that moment.

Have I ever truly hated my husband? No. So why does my tone say so?

So often I hide my pain behind my hateful tone as a defense mechanism. But when I have my armor up, he can’t get in and we can’t build our marriage. Rather, we are in a stalemate.

On the other hand, if I were to speak with my husband in a loving tone, even when I am highly irritated or hurt about a situation, I allow him to see into my heart. Being kind in my tone – even when I’m hurting – opens the door to a more productive conversation.

The moments where I have been honest and vulnerable have been the sweetest moments in our marriage. The fighting is hard, but the make up is so so good.

Thankfully, marriage is forever. Which means we have years to practice. Years to forgive, and years to grow.

What has been your biggest challenge in marriage?


Christina (or Nina to her dearest friends) is a lifestyle blogger at Hugs & Lattes. When she isn’t blogging, she’s cooking a new recipe, cuddling up with her husband and Netflix, and reading her book club’s latest novel. You can find her on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. October 20, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    I agree that managing expectations is one of the hardest things to work on together in marriage. Having these inner expectations that we don’t express makes us hold our partners to standards they don’t even know they’re supposed to meet. It leads to a lot of friction and miscommunication. Very thoughtful post!

    • October 23, 2017 / 8:26 am

      That is so true – especially when we have non-communicated or miscommunicated standards! It makes us resentful and our significant others frustrated!

  2. October 21, 2017 / 10:29 am

    This is so spot on! I’m not married, but my boyfriend and I have been together for 5+ years and lived together for 1 and I’ve found that we expect the other to read our minds all. the. time. It’s led to a lot of frustrated evenings, just like your night spent furiously cleaning with your husband. Finding that balance between what needs to be said then and what can be saved until emotions have calmed is key. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • October 23, 2017 / 8:24 am

      Thanks for reading! I think living with your spouse really opens up your mind to expectations you didn’t even know you had (like reading your mind πŸ˜‰ ) Best wishes as you two continue the journey of learning to live together!

  3. October 21, 2017 / 10:59 am

    So many couples don’t even know how they communicate best. Its a growing process for sure. As long as both parties are willing to listen and grow its a win. I find now that I am older I can communicate how I best communicate in marriage, friendships and business. Its a great quality to have. And one I look for in other com-padre’s. I am glad you mentioned tone of voice and approach. Because that is super important. We need to be sensitive to those things and be willing to realize when we didn’t do it right. There is much to be forgiven and to forgive in marriage.

    • October 23, 2017 / 8:23 am

      That is so true! Much to be forgiven and much to forgive – I love that. It shows the true humility it takes to have a healthy marriage. I’m always having to watch out for my tone. I’m very reactionary whereas my husband is very silent until he decides what he wants to say. πŸ™‚

  4. October 12, 2018 / 5:34 am

    “Being kind in my tone – even when I’m hurting – opens the door to a more productive conversation.” which I like most as this happened between us at every irritating situation. I don’t even care how much he hurt me that time I always treat him in a soft voice.
    Thanks for your article! great to read.

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