What’s Really in Your Marriage Contract?
Read the Invisible Print in Your Marriage Contract
When couples apply for a marriage license, they are also entering into a contract. Even if they don’t realize it. Are you both agreeing to the same thing when you sign that marriage license? Join the millions before you who discover it isn’t so.
Unwritten assumptions become the ground rules of our marriage. They are our interpretation of how we think the marriage should operate. Even if they are not not spoken of. Even if we are not aware of them. They include deeply-held assumptions about every aspect of your life. How you handle your relationships with friends. You personal goals and achievements. Who is the prime decision maker. Your sex lif. How to spend leisure time. How to handle finances. How vulnerable each of you is to the other. How you will parent? What religious affiliation you will have, etc. These are unstated, yet precise terms that you base your marriage on.
At some point, an issue arises two opposing beliefs to the forefront. It can be an unmet expectation. One of you assumes the other will fill a need that you have not actually articulated. If your partner is unaware of this and so has not agreed, you’ll be convinced your spouse deliberately didn’t fulfill his or her part of the bargain.
While you may ‘forgive’ this misstep, but still adhere to the invisible contract, this dynamic will repeat itself and eventually damage your marriage. And on the flip side, your partner may be experiencing the exact same scenario, but with you as the one at fault.
Why don’t you know more about what’s in one another’s contracts? Consider the types of expectations that make up the basis of your marriage contract. There are three types:
Expressed Expectations – you may have discussed some needs and wants but they may not necessarily be fully understood by your partner;
Conscious but Unexpressed Expectations – these are things you may be reluctant to discuss with your spouse because you fear an angry, disapproving, dismissive reaction.
Undefined Expectations – These are triggered by something the other person says or does and you vaguely feel it is ‘wrong’. You may not even be able to put your finger on the specific issue, much less explain it.
Give some thought to where in your marriage you have invisible rules to which you hold the other person accountable. And see if you can identify times and situations where you were the ‘offender’ and try to figure out what your spouse’s expectations were.
Want to find out where your blind spots are: Try the Marriage Contract Game at: https://support4change.com/2016/12/26/the-marriage-contract-game/
©2017 Alpha Resource Center