Since Kate and Rick were progressing well in marriage counseling, we talked about what we needed to see to indicate it might be time to spread the sessions out. Rick said, “If we fight, I only want that to occur occasionally.”
I told them a healthier goal was to rarely fight. It’s natural to disagree in relationships but fighting indicates a couple is escalating, which is corrosive to a relationship. I was encouraging a higher expectation—occasional fights becoming a rarity.
Research demonstrates that higher expectations for a relationship are indicative of more successful relationships. Reasonable expectations for a relationship include: exclusivity, honesty, trust, respect, responsiveness, friendship, and intimate conversations.
If one is not getting their expectations met, it’s important to discuss this in a respectful and responsive way. Couples counseling facilitates these conversations if needed. Expectations raise the relationship bar to a higher standard and nudges individuals to a higher level.