Connecting Families: A Relationship Enhancement Program


Who earns the
There are many other expectations that couples have for their relationship. Can you think
of other important areas where expectations play a role in the satisfaction that couples
have in their relationship? Some additional issues that may surface involve sexual
relations, time spent with in-laws, and/or friends, and religious practice. Introduce and
conduct the Expectations in Action activity.
Expectations in Action Activity
Using Handout 2, Expectations in Action, ask the group’s participants to complete the
handout identifying their own personal expectations for marriage. After the group has
completed the handout, ask each group member to identify one expectation that they have
listed. As expectations are identified, ask the group to share if they also have listed the
same, or a similar expectation. Many of the expectations will be similar. Reinforce that it
is important to be honest and open with your partner about your expectations. Unmet
expectations are a major source of discontent in marriage and will ultimately lead to
conflict. Unresolved conflict can lead to unhappiness and divorce.
Connecting Families Penn State Cooperative Extension
Understanding the Couple Relationship, Session 1 10 2004
are our beliefs that are so
much a part of us we
never question them.
8. Expectations and values ar e reflected in
our assumptions. Use Slide 8 to define
what assumptions are. Our assumptions
are so much a part of us that we never
question them. We act on them because
we believe them to be true. However,
frequently men and women do not view
situations with the same assumptions.
Not having the same assumptions leads to different behaviors and reactions. Men most
typically withdraw when criticized, or put in a pressure situation. Women on the other
hand want to openly talk about the issue at hand. So the woman pushes the conversation
which often is viewed by the male as nagging or whining. The husband withdraws more or
blows up. What are the man’s assumptions and what are the woman’s? As a group, identify
what they could be. Becoming sensitive to our own assumptions and those of our spouse is
a mechanism to improve our relationship. Introduce the Assumptions Situations Activity to
illustrate the concept.
Assumption Situation Activity
Using the materials provided in the Assumptions Situations, Session Materials 2,
distribute the situations to teams of two individuals. Ask the teams to decide who will
represent the man’s perspective and the women’s perspective. Each team is to identify the
assumptions that the male and female in the relationship have about their relationship. As
a team, they are to identify the conflict issues. At the end of the activity, reinforce that
understanding one’s and your partner’s assumptions helps a couple to have a happier
Values, expectations and assumptions are
hidden components of every relationship
9. Use Slide 9 to reinforce the important
role values, expectations, and
assumptions play in a relationship.
Values, expectations and assumptions are
powerful hidden components of every
individual. The be liefs that they create
are part of us. Beliefs guide our behavior
and actions. If we can understand the
motivations behind our actions, we can
begin to see our relationships in a
different light. When we understand
“why” for certain reactions and behaviors,
we can change our response.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Veronica S. Haggerty


"A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best things that can happen to you. However, it can also be one of the biggest drains on you if the relationship is not working. Relationships are like bank accounts. The more you put in, the more you get back. Falling in love is the easy part, but long term relationships take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change through life as a team. Learn about ways to keep a healthy relationship strong, or begin to today to work on repairing trust and renewing love for a relationship on the rocks".

Location: New Hope, PA
Credentials: MA, MFT, RN
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