Category Archives: Expectations

What’s Real About Romance?

masks

The idea of romantic love has been expressed in an infinite number of venues. When speaking of romantic love I am not talking about being romantic in your relationship; these are two different things. Let’s differentiate. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a great literary example of two star-crossed lovers whose family feuding prevents them from being together, leading to their ultimate ends. This is wonderfully romantic stuff. The movies are obsessed with the idea of romantic love and that our love for one another will conquer any adversity.

During dating and courtship, it is hard to find any flaws in the “most beautiful person on the face of this planet.” Well, we tend to ignore the flaws. It’s the whole “rose-colored glasses” syndrome. Romantic love certainly has a place in the development of relationships. One of the problems with romantic love is that it tends not to be very realistic. Romantic love typically does not allow for imperfections. This is not to say that people in romantic love are perfect, it’s just that many times neither party is willing to assess or address imperfections in the other person. We allow the relationship to run the course, believing (unrealistically) that things will get better in time. They don’t get better, and they often get much worse as your mate becomes more comfortable with you. However, since you never addressed the issue to begin with, they are baffled by your frustration with the behavior now. After all, they have been consistent.

In your opinion, what do you think is a key element in reducing surprises based on denying flaws? What reasons might you give for not opening the door to communication in dealing with some of the “red flags” in your relationship? What fears do you think drive the response to the previous question?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Behavior, Emotions, Expectations, Love

It’s YOUR Job to Make Me Happy…isn’t it?

angry

When a spouse takes the responsibility for their mate’s happiness problems are bound to arise. The flipside of that coin, and just as unreasonable, is the spouse who expects their mate to make them happy. This is an interesting but absolutely implausible belief founded in faulty thinking. First off, do you really have that much power, the power to make others happy? Some people believe so. Happiness as an attitude; it is a matter of personal choice. This is not to say that things won’t happen to you that will make you unhappy, but that is situational and involves temporary setbacks. These tend to be short-term, and you don’t live your life there.

Unfortunately, some people live their lives unhappily as a matter of choice. Your obligation is to honestly assess how much your behavior contributes to their unhappiness—things you are responsible for.

Secondly, a problem arises when we view our marriage through a filter of faulty beliefs that put our spouse in a “no win” situation. When we do not consider the validity of our beliefs, when we simply accept them as they are—without understanding they may come from dysfunctional roots—we leave ourselves open to taking things personally. When we operate in our default mode we tend to view all of life’s events from only our own perspective (healthy or not), rather than challenge our beliefs or consider the perspective of others.

We stack the deck against our spouse when we take everything personally and expect our spouse to make us happy. It’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy! Consider that maybe there is a greater call that ultimately results in happiness. Remember that your perception of the outward appearance can be skewed (just food for thought).

When you expect others to make you happy, what does that say about you? Nobody is perfect. Do you ever feel validated when someone lets you down? In other words, do get some sort of satisfaction when someone fails you (example: “I knew it would happen eventually!”)? Are you always looking for the “other shoe to drop” in your relationships? Could you ever live up to your own expectations of yourself? Although it sounds noble, “I never expect anything out of anyone else that I don’t expect out of myself,” are excessively hard on yourself…on others? Where does that attitude come from?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Behavior, Beliefs, Emotions, Expectations, Self-Talk

Do You Have Evidence to Support That Belief?

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Think about your favorite Agatha Christie mystery movie. The apparent villain has been apprehended by the steadfast constable. The astute old lady, who has spent years reading detective magazines, has done a little research of her own. Turns out the chief inspector was a bit hasty in pointing the finger of guilt. Our elderly armchair detective has been less hasty. When all is said and done, and after our dear lady has presented the pieces of the puzzle to the reluctant and often frustrated chief inspector, he has no choice but to reconsider his stand. The real culprit is apprehended after, no doubt, an exciting confrontation with our amateur sleuth, guns a-blazing.

What is the point of my dramatic buildup? Ask yourself: what is going to be necessary to convict the criminal, the actual perpetrator of the crime? Evidence! Your objective is to challenge those beliefs that you have about your relationship and your spouse. Are they beneficial or destructive? If you believe them to be accurate, upon what evidence do you base them? If you have no evidence in support of a belief, why are you holding onto it? What might happen if you choose not to accept that belief?

Remember, it is okay to examine what you believe; in fact it is highly recommended. This is one way to address the lies that lead to faulty thinking. The continual gathering of evidence to support what you believe will only expose the lies or reinforce healthy beliefs, neither of which is a bad thing.

We cycle through hundreds, even thousands of thoughts every day.  Think about some of the disagreements/arguments that keep surfacing in your relationships/marriage.  Can you identify what belief you are holding onto that perpetuates these conflicts?  Plug them into the questions asked in paragraph two; are you being reasonable?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Expectations, Self-Talk

Your Child Is Not An Adult…Yet.

Parentification

Too often parents approach their children as if they were at the same maturity level that they are. Your child is a child, so adjust your expectations of their behavior, reasoning ability, and emotional state. Remember, they should not be acting just like you. If your expectations of your children are unrealistically high you run the risk of doing considerable damage to their sense of self. They will feel defeated by the fact that they can’t attain the goals you set for them. Feelings of failure are sure to ensue. Be clear about your expectations for your children. If expectations are vague and unspecified you place the child in a lose-lose situation. As with adults, it is vital that children can benchmark success in their lives. If they don’t know what is expected it is unfair to punish them when they fail to reach the goal.

Where do your expectations of your children come from? Did your parent(s) have unrealistically high or unspoken expectations of you growing up? How does this affect you today? Need to make some adjustments?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Expectations, Parenting

Great Expectations!

expectations

What expectations do you have for your marriage? We all have expectations: about our careers, our relationships, our families, our futures, you name it. It is important to know where we are heading so that we can benchmark our progress. And we should assess those expectations from time to time because otherwise they could derail our progress in life and relationships.

Are your expectations for your marriage heading you toward divorce court or marital bliss? Please note that if your expectations lean toward the negative, that will directly affect the way you behave toward your spouse. It will certainly minimize your ability to communicate positively in your relationship. A problem many couples have is that they build on the negatives in the relationship and over time simply stop looking for the good things in their spouse and their marriage. When we feel emotionally distraught, we often look for the things that will support our negative emotions—rather than things that will lift us up.

I encourage you to never forget those things that first attracted you to your spouse. If things have changed, assess yourself and your current behaviors and attitudes. What are you doing to contribute to those negative aspects of your marriage?

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted

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Filed under Expectations