Dear Ambassadors

Dear Ambassadors,

Our son recently married a wonderful young woman who we’ve loved since the day we met her seven years ago. Although they live on the other coast, we’ve always had a great relationship and she has been caring and attentive to us. However, since they got married, she has seemed more distant and non-communicative. We miss her and feel a bit hurt that she hasn’t paid much attention to us. How could we apply what we’ve learned in CCC to this situation?

Signed,
Disappointed

 

Dear Disappointed,

When we gain a new son-in-law or daughter-in-law, they gain us as in-laws as well. We also — most noticeable at large family gatherings — gain the in-laws’ families. What are your expectations of these new relations, and what are theirs of you?

We suggest you look at these first.

We first did a deep dive into expectations a few years ago, with a quartet couple guiding us so that we stayed on track. As we looked at the individual expectations we had of our partner, we were surprised and shocked to discover that we had no agreement for any of our expectations! What we each had was a list of expectations, shoulds and wants.

Going through this simple process accomplished two important things for our couple: first, it opened up deep conversations about what each of us expected from the other; and second, it allowed us to look newly at what agreements we wanted to make with each other.

Releasing our expectations created profound and lasting changes to the way we communicate, not only to each other but to everyone in our life. It was easy to translate this new distinction to our relationships with our daughter, our
teenage granddaughter, and our brand new son-in-law … as well as everyone and everything in our life.

Now, when people don’t live up to our expectations, we look to see if we’ve made any agreements, or if any agreements have been broken. More often than not, no agreement exists.

It also works for issues with slow waiters, crazy drivers and the weather. No
agreements were made, so no expectations!

We now make sure when there is an upset brewing that we look to see if we’ve made any agreements and then have a conversation (rather than an argument) and make an agreement if that’s what’s wanted and needed.

Let us know if you need any help navigating the exercise. We’d be delighted to help any couple interested in doing this work.


By Nat and Rhona Fiore Northern NJ Circle CCC members since 2009

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