Many couples I counsel say they are disappointed in their relationship because their partner isn't measuring up in some way. But most of the time, the problem isn’t the partner — it’s the measuring stick. “We should have more sex.” “He should do more housework.”
Expectations are the secret standards we set for self and others. And I say secret not so much because they're private, but because they tend to be buried deep within our subconscious where we can’t get at them. But we should get at them. If left unearthed, these buried barometres breed resentment, which (to borrow my colleague's analogy) is like a venom that infects the entire marriage. The anti-venom is awareness.
Here are four of the main areas in which unconscious expectations tend to fester.