My Husband regularly reads my blog. Occasionally I will ask for his input on certain posts I write in order to make sure that I am not misrepresenting things between us, and to make sure that I am not missing things that he feels are valuable or important; this is about the both of us, so his input is important to me.
A while back, after I found that Katja had shared my article titled “Why My Husband and I Have Never Argued” on Facebook, I asked him if he would like to read it. He did, and expressed that there was indeed something I had left out that he felt was important. That was concerning expectations in a relationships.
This hearkens back, actually, to a few articles I was reading when doing research for that article- something which I routinely do when brainstorming and thinking about what exactly I want to write. In one of these articles (I cannot remember which), the subject of expectations also came up… Particularly the subject of realistic expectations.
My Husband and I have always been open about our wants with one another. Before we officially began dating, we knew exactly where each person stood on important subjects like the number of children and preferred parenting styles, sex and intimacy, Polyamory and BDSM, and more.
Included in this was the subject of expectations: What we expected the other person to and not to do during the course of our relationships, what kind of lifestyle we expected to live our life through, and more. We even rehashed this discussion multiple times as we neared our wedding date, ensuring that we also knew each others expectations for Spouses.
What resulted was certainly a hefty list of expectations. However, they were very few, mostly low-bar expectations all together. More importantly, they were realistic ones… And this, in all honesty, is something that I think is key to a successful marriage.
Now by saying this, I am not saying that you must take on the same expectations that we did and abide by a Traditionalist standard. What I am talking about, however, is having realistic expectations in general; expectations that are unrealistic only seek to undermine your relationship. It is important that we prioritize our expectations, then, to decide the basest level or standard that we will accept- and view anything above and beyond that as a positive bonus.
For instance, in my Husband and I’s relationship the most striking example is our marital roles themselves… Even though I did not begin identifying as or start getting involved with Gender Traditionalism until almost a year into our relationship, going into it we still knew that we both preferred more Traditionalist approaches. Thus we had expectations that the Man should be the financial provider and the woman be the domestic one- and we expected the other to fulfill their Traditional Role throughout the course of our marriage.
This is a realistic expectation for us for multiple reasons. The first is that I am, due to health issues, not as capable of being the primary or even sole financial provider for our family. The second is that he, due to lack of knowledge and skill, is not equipped to be the primary or even sole domestic provider for the family… Yet both things are necessary in order to maintain the household. Therefore it is more realistic for us that we take the roles that we do and expect each other to fulfill them.
But also it is realistic in another way as well- and that is in the fact that what we don’t expect from one another is perfection in that role; we have only the expectation that we fulfill the base roles which we have agreed upon and assigned for ourselves- and that we do so to the best of our abilities, as is realistically possible given finances, health, and so on… And though we try to surpass those whenever we can, it is not something we feel obligated to do- and it is certainly not something we expect the other to do either.
What I mean by that is the expectation that I perform the domestics does not come with the expectation that I become a perfect vintage Housewife in all areas. Though I try to be and generally succeed, it is an added bonus for him- one which he enjoys when I am able to perform. When I do not perform to that level, however, there is no conflict because it was never expected that I perform to that level in the first place… Only that I do my best to perform domestic duties when I can and to what level I can, whatever that may be.
Likewise, the expectation that he be the primary financial contributor does not come with the expectation of a triple figure salary. While I am certainly happy when he gets a raise, brings home a bit of extra cash, gets a little overtime, or otherwise… I do not expect him to break his back attempting to be the perfect provider with an amazing professional career. It is nice when these things happen, but I do not expect anything other than the fact that he bring in an income that can support our base necessities.
And this is why it is important to a marriage: If your expectations do not align with the expectations of your Spouse- if they are too high, are unrealistic, or are otherwise in conflict with one another… Then there will always be conflict between the two of you when one or the other does not perform to those expectations. And when there is conflict, a marriage inevitably falters and decays.