What's the Number one Killer of Marriages? It's not What you Think

Financial problems aren’t what destroy most marriages. Communication issues aren’t what destroy most marriages. Infidelity isn’t even what destroys most marriages. What is the number one killer of marriages?


Unmet expectations.


Unmet expectations are often the result of a lack of communication and an inability to define your needs. They are often the result of an unspoken, need, want, or desire.


Unmet expectations create unhealthy caverns of coping which eventually lead to the demise of most marriages. Within those unhealthy caverns are the unhealthy coping mechanism that seemingly numb the pain. However, they often become deal-breakers when they lead to addiction, infidelity, financial issues, abuse, severed communication, and more.


Unmet expectations seem to offer people the excuse that certain behaviors are somehow acceptable. Unmet expectations cause pain, frustration, and disappointment which eventually lead to the erosion of relationships, not just marriage, but all relationships.


Unmet expectations can be lethal, but they don’t have to be. Understanding how unmet expectations happen can help us avoid them or navigate them more gracefully. This is how it works:


We have an expectation of how something will look, get done, or be, and then real life happens and it’s almost the exact opposite of what we expected. The outcome of that equation is disappointment.


Expectation - reality = disappointment


Unmet expectations are a part of every facet of our lives so how can we solve this equation in our favor? We must learn to have grace. Sometimes we need to let go of expectations (especially the one's others force onto us) and other times we need to have healthy, yet realistic expectations. There must be balance. We’re human, perfection is reserved for Jesus.


We must expect (see what I did there) the unexpected. We have to learn to roll with the punches. If you are tired of feeling frustrated, consider changing your expectations or the way you communicate them. When reality smacks your expectation in the face you have a choice to either hunker down and get through the moment and communicate your expectations on the backend or allow yourself to become frustrated and say things in the heat of the moment which will have splintering effects. One will build up your relationship and the other will tear it down.


Ask yourself these questions:


Are my expectations realistic?


Did I communicate my expectations and ensure they were understood?


Does the reality of the situation indicate that I need to remove the expectations for the moment?


In the end, you must communicate what you expect and why. Be prepared to let go of the small things that don’t matter. We tend to make mountains out of molehills when we have an abundance of uncommunicated, unmet expectations.


How are you dealing with your unmet expectations? Is it healthy? Will it lead to the decay of a relationship you value?


Consider digging deep to understand what unmet expectations might be causing you to engage in unhealthy coping strategies; then remind yourself of the following:


If you expect your spouse to make you happy, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to make you whole, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to love you in a way no one else has, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to fill the empty void in your life, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to be your biggest fan, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse will never hurt you, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to know what you want, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to want what you want, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to do things like your father or mother, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to always take your side, your marriage will fail


If you expect more of your spouse than you do of yourself, your marriage will fail


If you expect perfection of your spouse, your marriage will fail



If you expect your spouse to pick up your slack, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to think, act, respond, or work like you, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to treat you the way you treat them, your marriage will fail


If you expect your spouse to feel the way you feel about something, your marriage will fail