Writer, finance coach, and speaker Derek Harvey of Portland, OR thought he had all the answers. He had just gone through marriage counseling and was an expert in his own mind.
So when the presenter at a seminar asked what the biggest causes of divorce are, Harvey shot his hand in the air.
“Sex, money, and communication!” he said when the presenter called on him.
He was pretty shocked when the presenter said, “Wrong,” and told him that, “Those are the symptoms of the real problem.”
“Not only was I given a sharp lesson in humility, but what followed changed my life,” he wrote in an article for InspireMore. “I was about to be told the best piece of marriage advice that this young, prideful, newly married man-boy could’ve ever asked for.”
Harvey’s mind was blown when the presenter told him that the reason marriages end in divorce is because of unmet expectations, which he called a “marriage killer.”
“My newly married man-boy brain couldn’t handle the revelation. I don’t remember much of what was said after that,” he wrote. “I was too busy thinking of all the unmet expectations I was already experiencing after being married a month.”
Since that seminar which was about six years ago, Harvey has seen unmet expectations negatively effect marriages as well as all types of relationships.
“It’s a deadly venom that flows to the heart and wreaks havoc in relationships,” he explains. “But having unmet expectations isn’t just a marriage problem. It’s a life problem.”
He goes on to explain that when the expectations you create in your mind are unmet it only causes frustration.
“Here’s the answer: Let your OBSERVATION take precedence over your EXPECTATION. Period. In other words, go with the flow,” he writes. “Some would say to not have any expectations at all. But I wouldn’t go that far. I think healthy, realistic expectations that are communicated are good to have. They’re something to reach for.”
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He recommends letting your observation take the lead when your expectation isn’t met and dropping that expectation to deal with the reality of the current situation.
“Tired of being frustrated? Then set aside your unmet expectations and face reality head-on,” he advises. “Then, after the fact, have a conversation with whoever is involved about what you expect and why.”
Are we the only ones that think this should be required reading for when you apply for a marriage license? Because it TOTALLY should be.
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