There has never been a marriage of two people who are exactly alike. Opposites attract. Therefore, it’s not if you will have conflict in marriage, it’s when you will have conflict in your marriage. One of the biggest conflicts Aleta and I had early on in our marriage was the wide range of difference in our expectations as we entered certain activities. We would go camping and have different expectations of what a “good time” would look like, and then we’d have an argument. We would go to a friend’s house and have different expectations of what time we should head home, and I would get mad (because introverts always want to leave earlier than extroverts). We would go to parties and have different expectations of what we would do at that party, and we would have an argument about it. We never took the time to explain, in advance, what each of us expected out of the event we were about to engage in. As a result, every un-communicated expectation became a source of strife between us, until we learned to ask a simple question in advance of life’s events. The question we learned to ask was simply, “What do you expect?”
Asking “What do you expect” in advance of camping, visiting friends, or going to parties erased our biggest fights. By asking that question, Aleta and I were able to understand what each person desired, and maybe even needed, and then enter that experience “on the same page” with each other. It took a little more conversation in advance of entering an experience, but Aleta and I were amazed at how many fights were avoided just by being on the same page about how long we planned to stay, and what each person wanted to experience. Try it with your spouse sometime. It really works.