A Better Kind of Anticipation in Marriage

There is much anticipation during the engagement period about the wedding day. Both the man and the woman (and their respective families and friends) have high expectations of this special day.

But what happens the day after? And the month after that?

Anticipation in Marriage at Ferguson ValuesYes, throughout life there are many moments of great anticipation, including:

  • Moving to a new area.
  • Buying (or building) the first house.
  • The arrival of the first child (and each one after that).
  • Seeing your child go off to school (and later on to university).
  • Paying off the house (and other major debts).
  • Your grown kids getting married.
  • The arrival of grandchildren.

But what about the relationship between husband and wife? Is there a way to preserve a sense of excitement in a marriage on a continual basis?


This requires a shift in thinking and a deeper understanding about the value of anticipation.

The Value of Anticipation

Photo by Christie EnglishAs a differentiating value, Anticipation means an expectation; or considering something beforehand. Most of the time, this is about us.

Anticipation is about our expectations. It’s about how we think and feel as we consider something before it happens – to us.

It’s natural, of course. We’ve been thinking about ourselves since we were born.

But here’s the problem in marriage: thinking about ourselves doesn’t enhance the relationship. In fact, the more we think only about ourselves, the more it can damage our marriage.

The solution?

Create anticipation for your spouse.

Yes, it is possible to anticipate for someone else.

Anticipation in Marriage

As you’re buying something for your spouse, consider how they might respond.

  • Will they be happy, excited, or surprised? Or will they be confused, frustrated, or disappointed?
  • Does it have an element of being aspirational, fun, or simply whimsical? Or is it only practical?
  • Is it obvious you were thinking about them? Or yourself?

As you’re planning a special event, such as a date night out or even a major trip, consider the various elements that matter most to your spouse.

  • Is it their favorite place or yours?
  • Will it allow them to participate in an enjoyable experience or just be an observer?
  • Would they want to participate in the planning process, or would they prefer it being a surprise?

Of course, an important secret to being effective when anticipating for your spouse is to know their likes and dislikes; interests and hobbies; and especially goals and desires. It’s rarely a safe bet to just assume your spouse will like what you’ve decided.

It’s always better to ask than assume.

Remember that anticipation is about creating a positive expectation. The more you know about your spouse, the easier it is to do just that.

Lori made glassPERSONAL NOTE: Even after 30 years of marriage, I’m still learning about Lori’s likes and dislikes, goals and desires (e.g. I learned that making glass was on Lori’s bucket list). Here’s the great part: when I anticipate correctly, it’s like winning the lottery! It’s one of the best ways to strengthen a marriage.


What new thing have you learned about your spouse lately?

Have you found a creative way to generate healthy anticipation in your spouse?


Today’s value was selected from the “Diversity-Flexibility” category, based on the e-book Developing Your Differentiating Value.


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I write about differentiating values and their impact on leadership, marketing, and marriage - focused on couples in business together. Read more about Robert.