Recently, I overheard someone say, “Many times, anger is the result of unmet expectations.”

An expectation is like anticipation. One looks forward to a specific outcome and feels disappointed or cheated if it does not happen. This can lead to anger. Relationships are filled with expectations, expressed or unexpressed.

Some expectations are realistic and some are unrealistic. Media can foster unrealistic expectations. Here are some expectations related to media.

A soul mate is found.
Sex is always good.
If I don’t feel love it’s gone.
I will be the center of my partner’s universe.
A deep friendship is created over time.
Sex matures with patience and attention.
True love is a commitment beyond feelings.
I will share my partner’s universe.

Some expectations are communicated while others are merely assumed. It’s really hard to understand expectations without communicating about them. Here is one way to discover an unspoken expectation: think about the last time you were angry. What was happening? Was there an expectation linked to that anger, one which your spouse did not fulfill?

Action: Identify areas where you have felt angry even if you have not expressed it. Are there spoken or unspoken expectations connected to the anger? Pick one that you can discuss together. You might want to explore expectations related to work or family that are causing anger/disappointment.

Read More: Anger: Definitive vs Distorted

Written by Mike Woodard

Mike Woodard

Mike is married to Karen, he is father of 4 and grandfather of 2. Backpacking is his favourite past time. Science and theology are his educational background, a biology degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in Christian Studies from Trinity Western Seminary. Mike is the Associate Director of FamilyLife Canada. For more of his story visit