What Should You Expect from a Husband or Wife?


There are days when expectations creep up and try to rob me of the great relationship I have with my husband. Then I remember what I figured out the day I got my comeuppance, my karmic payback. My first husband died a day after I listed my unmet expectations for him. I was left to meet them for myself. Only then did I take stock of what he was doing for me instead of the things on my list. I don’t ever want to turn away love again.
In case you wonder what you ought to expect from your husband or your wife, there is just one thing: expect love. This is a roundup of earlier posts on why.
The expectations that made a mess of my first marriage
Love me and
What does your garden grow?
10 killer expectations
All the wrong places
Another name for an expectation
Why not expect nothing, then?
Have you let go of any expectations? How did it turn out?

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I truly loved Rod and thought that he was a gem of a friend, father, and husband. And I remember that 12 hours or so before he died so well. I think that both of our guys loved us unconditionally and would be smiling down on us now knowing what we have become, learned from our times with them.

  • I do try to assume love, but what do you do when your husband’s idea of “helping” is only doing what he feels like doing? I wind up spending hours and hours on housework, cooking, laundry, etc. Plus working full time. He hangs out and maybe does the dishes once a month. If your spouse is not interested in being an equal or even some kind of partner, what do you do? I have tried everything. We are now so estranged after 25 years of me just letting him do what he wants because it’s easier than fighting. Now what? He is angry because we are not close, I am angry because he leaves all the work to me…we are considering divorce. Also, he wants a much wilder sex life than I do and he is unhappy about that and I am unhappy that the way I am is not enough. I am at the end of my rope.

  • Kathleen, I feel your pain! It’s an awful zone to live in, cut off from your husband and overwhelmed with work. My advice may surprise you, but it comes from being right where you are and suddenly having the rug pulled out from under my feet. It’s today’s blog post: http://bit.ly/XQk9uB

  • I fully agree that expectation can set one up for constant disappointments and contentions. We should dial our expectations way back or our house can quickly become a miserable place to live. That being said, the basic framework for marriage is well established both Biblically and through observation, experience, and common sense. Once the wife or husband begins to destroy that framework through destructive behavior, the quality of the marriage begins to quickly diminish. If left unchanged over time can quickly lead to some form of separation. So the question remains, when can a wife or husband speak up when dealing with destructive behavior?

  • Chris, I would speak up when the actions are destructive as opposed to not what I expected. I would definitely speak up and protect myself if my spouse committed the sort of act he would protect any person he cared about from if someone else did it: rape, punches, burns, unprovoked tongue-lashings or shoves.
    I would speak up and protect myself if my spouse tried to drive while intoxicated or engaged in behaviors while drunk or drugged that would bring him shame while sober.
    I would also speak up if my spouse failed to do something I expected if I were incapable of letting go of that expectation. I would ask for what I wanted. If I did not get it, and I could not let go of wanting it, I would let my spouse know I would rather not be married than to be married without it, because my resentment would kill my love for him. For some people, this category includes being helped and fed while incapacitated after surgery or during chemo. For others, it includes having sex at least once a week. And for some, it includes hearing the words “I love you” every day.
    When would you speak up?

  • So, Im 63, and he is 70. Hes retired and so am I.
    We were married 7mo after we met on 11/11/17
    I need some advise on a few things.
    1. He expects me to take care of him in every way.. He wants me to go shopping with my money, come home and cook, serve him, and I must give him sex when he desires it.
    He says he does not have money to take care of me, because he only hass SS..His home is paid for, and he elected to move into my home, and is not interested in paying for anything, but maybe food.
    What do I do?

  • Lilian, your new husband’s expectations don’t dictate the terms of your relationship any more than yours do.
    If he has a paid-for home he doesn’t live in, he has a good deal more than Social Security at his disposal. If you don’t want to pay his way, don’t.
    Most couples find marriage a lot easier if they sell or rent both homes and start anew elsewhere. It eliminates a lot of expectations and all the resentment that comes with them.
    If you don’t want to be responsible for all the chores, do only the ones that matter to you or make you feel loving.
    If you’re in the US, I’m pretty sure every state has a law protecting you from forced sex. Say no when you’re not interested.
    Then go read my articles on Finding Third Alternatives if you’re still interested in a loving relationship with your new husband.

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

Assume Love in Your Inbox!

Read About

Recent Comments

Popular Posts

Visit Patty’s Other Site

Enjoy Being Married logo


Social Media