The unfair expectations I put on my husband became clear when I had to schedule my own oil change for the umpteenth time. It’s true. There was a time that my husband didn’t know much about fixing or maintaining our cars. In fact, he had no problem driving 10K miles or so before getting an oil change. ¡Dios mio!
I married him knowing this. However, I didn’t imagine it would ever bother me. But I realized my anger towards him began to bother me. I was angry when he didn’t change the oil on time or schedule regular maintenance. When he didn’t stop to put air in a low tire, I jumped down his throat. But if I knew these things about him before I married him, why did I expect it to change when we said “I do”?
Read Our First New Car Cost Us More Because We Weren’t New-Car Smart
My dad, my grandpa and my uncle always took care of my cars before I was married. I paid attention and learned quite a bit. Plus, that high school semester of auto-mechanics taught me a thing or two. The point is I expected all men to know about cars since it was men who taught me about cars.
How to Handle Unfair Expectations of Others
I had never said, “Honey, let’s have a discussion about cars, their maintenance and how you think this should work.” I had not asked him his opinion about scheduled maintenance or WHO he thinks should handle it. This situation isn’t about the cars. It’s about the expectation I put on my husband. I expected him to know. I wanted him to want to maintain the cars.
So, here’s the deal. I know what needs to get done. I can mostly figure out what is wrong when a car breaks down. So, I made a decision not to go crazy and expect my husband to know about cars.
Who said that he had to know?
See there, right there. There it is – “Who said he had to know?”
Nobody but me. His vehicle repair or maintenance knowledge didn’t change my marriage. Removing that unfair expectation did.
I told him how I felt and what I had resolved for myself. Then, I gave him the opportunity to tell me about anything he thought I should be doing or knowing that I don’t. We talked it out siting on our couch in the living room. No arguing; just acknowledging the situation. Easy. Facile. After 5 years, we had a simple discussion that continues to make a difference in our marriage.
What unfair expectations have you put on others? Have you clearly discussed them? One honest and open conversation could improve your important relationships.