Have You Read the Contract Hidden in Your Marriage License?

Unspoken expectations may be at the root of marriage conflict

Wedding ringsBeen surprised lately by disagreements with your spouse or partner — over things that you thought were already settled in your favor? If so, you may be unaware of an unconscious “contract” to which you thought you were both agreeing when you signed your wedding license and said your vows.

Unfortunately, both of you are operating from a set of ground rules that are not the same. That is because the “contract” upon which each of you are operating has three kinds of expectations:

Expectations that are verbalized. These are the desires and needs that are discussed openly, although your partner may not always clearly understand the full ramifications of what you are really saying.

Expectations that are conscious but not verbalized. These are the parts of your contract that you are aware of but don’t tell your spouse because you fear he or she will get angry, disapprove, or think they’re silly or unreasonable.

Expectations that are unconscious or only vaguely understood by you. You become aware of these expectations when the other person says or does something you don’t like and it throws your relationship out of kilter in some unfathomable way you can’t clearly explain — but you sense the other person isn’t doing what they “should.”

You can learn more about your hidden contracts and their effect on your relationship in an article titled, Marriage’s Invisible ContractThen explore your contracts further by playing the Marriage Contract Game and learn what you and your partner expect from one another. It can be a major step in improving your relationship.

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