30th June, 2011 - Posted by Myrna - No Comments
June has come and gone and so now would be a good time for couples to assess their marriage and consider ways to enrich their relationship. A key area that may need attention is unmet expectations.
Most couples go into marriage with countless expectations. Many are discussed prior to the marriage, but many expectations are out of the couplesʼ awareness until the time comes when a particular expectation is not met. Disappointment can set in if the expectation is not discussed. If the disappointment is discussed, but there is disagreement and no resolution, then a small resentment gets lodged. Without resolution, the issue will likely come up again and again. Resentment will continue to build. It is these unmet expectations that can lead to a very conﬂictual or unsatisfying relationship.
If a couple does not have the needed skills to navigate their differences in expectations and needs, itʼs time to get some help. Getting help sooner is better than later – before patterns of conﬂict get ingrained in the relationship. It seems that very few couples go into marriage with the needed conﬂict resolution skills. They can be learned. A good way to view gaining the skills is to consider how one would go about gaining skill or competence in any area – sports, technology, language, cooking, etc. First, the couple needs to gain knowledge about the skills and then they need to practice until there is a level of competence. As with any new skill it takes time and commitment to master the skills. Itʼs important not to let pride prevent one from pursuing the needed skills to make a marriage work.
Where does a couple go to ﬁnd help? Sometimes a pastor or mature couple can come alongside to coach the couple. There are communication skills workbooks available for couples to work through together. Many psychotherapists are able help couples gain the needed skills in counseling sessions.
If your marriage is lacking the skills to navigate conﬂict and differences, donʼt let another anniversary go by without getting help.
-Myrna L. Klassen, M.A.
Marriage & Family Therapist