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The danger of expectations
Constantly fighting with your partner? Here's why
Pointless arguing in a relationship: Many people do it, some don’t understand it and others are just perplexed by it. Everyone knows that couple who constantly bickers or has conflict — maybe that’s even you and your partner.
But what if the amount of bickering in your relationship could be substantially reduced or stopped completely – almost immediately? Well, it can. By shifting your mindset, your relationship can become happier, peaceful and more productive.
Addressing the “why”
We first have to start with the “why.” Why does bickering happen in the first place? The short answer is expectations. Relationship expectations are subjective, biased and can differ from person to person. Some may expect their spouse to take out the garbage and they, in turn, may expect you to have breakfast on the table every morning. But if both people assume the other person knows this automatically, without ever having a conversation about it, it can only lead to tension in the relationship.
The problem with expectations in a relationship is that they’re just like an opinion – everyone has one – and they don’t always match up to the other person’s thoughts. This is the birthplace of bickering.
Dealing with relationship expectations
Fortunately, there is a solution for dealing with mismatched expectations in a relationship! When our focus is centered on our differences in expectations, rather than our appreciation for the things the other person does “right,” conflict is always inevitable. The way any two people decide to fold the towels, for instance, will probably differ… but does that make one of the ways wrong? Of course not. Expectations with no appreciation leads to nagging, which leads to frustration, which leads to, you guessed it, bickering.
Think about the things you and your partner have fought over. How many of these fights are actually over something important – have any of them had a productive resolution? Most likely, the answer is no. It’s often said, “We argue about the smallest things.” Consider your expectations in a relationship. Are the towels really worth the emotional turmoil? Probably not. Chances are, there’s something you could be doing with your time that’s not only productive, but more beneficial to the strength and longevity of your relationship, too.
Appreciation over expectations
Appreciation for the things you like about your partner will take you much further in a relationship. They may not have folded the towels the way you wanted them to, but at least they tried to do their fair share by putting the laundry away. And maybe they did the dishes after dinner or took the dog for a walk because you had a long day at work. If you pay attention, there’s always something to be appreciative about. What was it that attracted you to them in the first place? It wasn’t their towel-folding abilities – it was their warmth, kindness and love for life.
“Turn your expectations into appreciation and your whole life will change.” – Tony Robbins
That sentiment can apply to anything in life, but if we apply that same thought to our relationships, appreciation can be the trigger that puts an end to your unhealthy relationship expectations for good.