We first have to start with the “why.” Why does bickering happen in the first place? The short answer is expectations. What we presume a relationship will look like shapes our contribution to the partnership. Expectations in a relationship are subjective, biased and can differ from person to person. Some may expect their spouse to take out the garbage and they, in turn, may expect you to have breakfast on the table every morning. But if both people assume the other person knows this automatically without ever having a conversation about it, it can lead to tension in the relationship.

The problem with expectations in a relationship is that they’re just like an opinion: Everyone has one – and they don’t always match up to the other person’s thoughts. This is the birthplace of bickering, and it’s where knowing what to expect in a relationship comes into play. When you’re both on the same page about what a healthy relationship looks like, you’re ready to take action and create reasonable expectations in a relationship. When you’re able to articulate your respective needs, you’re in a place to make those expectations work.

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