Despite the reality of couples divorcing right, left and center, most women go into their own marriage with at least some unrealistic expectations thanks to a million movies, novels, and catchy pop songs.
It’s easy to become disillusioned and confused and wonder if you made a mistake when your marriage is not all you thought it would be.
But it could be that you actually have a good marriage or one that could be good with a bit of effort and goodwill. You have to be able to sort out unrealistic expectations from what is truly not working to know whether your marriage is going in the right direction.
If you’re not married yet, think about your expectations and discuss them with your husband-to-be to avoid frustration in the early days. Do you expect the same things from marriage? Have you even had the discussions about where you’ll live, how your day to day lives will be, whether you’ll have children, how many and when?
Those discussions on practical issues are just the beginning because there are also many expectations on an emotional level that couples rarely talk about.
I know with my own husband, we didn’t talk about any of it. I assumed we’d work it all out somehow – and we did. But that was so much more luck than good judgment, that I wonder how it all went right in retrospect.
Here are some unrealistic ideas about marriage that are pretty common. Check your beliefs against these, if you are thinking about getting married and get your partner’s ideas too. If you are already married, they can help you understand your feelings about your marriage and to work out how to move forward from this point.
You should never argue
There’ll always be some kind of conflict when two people live closely together and have to adapt and change the way they operate, so you can’t expect everything to be sweetness and light and roses round the door. Just because you have a difference of opinion or even a raging argument over something does not mean that love is fading. You can easily love someone and still dislike something they did or said.
In any case, a relationship with no conflict is not healthy. If you’re always agreeing with each other, it usually means one of you if not voicing their thoughts or is giving in too easily to the wishes of the other. Quietly seething is not a good recipe for long-lasting love!
Your husband should know what you need
Just because you said your vows doesn’t mean that you’ve both become mind readers and can suddenly understand everything about each other. Expecting your husband to sense what you need all the time is unrealistic and will put him under pressure to always be Mr. Perfect. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect him to know instinctively what to say and do. You may even start to question if he really loves you even though he would do what you wanted if you asked him. And don’t start protesting “he should just know without me having to tell him!” That doesn’t make sense, no matter how many times you say it!
You’ll never be lonely again
It’s not true that married people are never lonely even if your husband is around all the time. This doesn’t mean that your relationship is falling apart, or that you don’t love each other anymore. It’s just that there’s no way one person can fill your needs completely, or spend every moment with you, so don’t expect your husband to do that for you. For one thing, to make sure you are never lonely you need to be happy spending time alone doing what you love, even just reading or having time to think. You need girlfriends to hang out with as well as plenty of interests, and perhaps a spiritual dimension to fill the void in your life. A husband doesn’t prevent loneliness. Only you can do that.
You are now complete
Closely related to the loneliness expectation is the feeling that you should now be complete. You found your soul mate so what’s left to do? You expect that your marriage will mean you no longer have desires or longings for anything else, other than, perhaps, children. This is an extremely unrealistic and dangerous expectation because no one person can complete another. You are not just one half of a whole. You are your own person. He can complement you but not complete you. You have to really know yourself and feel that you are complete before you even get married, and if not work on yourself after the event! Fill in your own gaps.
You will always be happy
Before your wedding you can easily get carried away looking forward to your upcoming marriage and thinking how happy you’ll be after the wedding to be married to the love of your life. It’s easy to look at life through rose-colored glasses and believe that you will always be this happy. That’s how it is when you’re in love.
The truth is that life is full of ups and downs. You’ll still have to deal with loss, with heart break, with hurt and if you’re looking to your marriage to keep you constantly happy, you’ll be disappointed fast. Life is full of “problems” and hurdles that need to be overcome. Getting married doesn’t make those things magically go away. You’ll still get thrown when life hits you with something hard.
Of course, when you’re married and in love, dealing with painful situations is easier and you have someone to support you through trouble and strife, except that is, when the trouble and strife come from your partner. You just have to know that whatever happens you’ll handle it and any troubles within your marriage or outside it can be dealt with – you just won’t escape problems completely.
You’ll never want anyone else
If all goes well in your marriage, it could very well be true that neither of you will ever want anyone else. You won’t stray, not even in your mind, and will always only have eyes for each other.
But this is highly unlikely.
Chances are you will both have times (lots of times) when you find someone else attractive. Just because you think someone is hot, it doesn’t mean that you’re not happy in your marriage. It’s human nature to desire others. Being happily married means not acting on that desire, rather than not feeling it at all – unless you have an open marriage.
Couples who can talk about people they consider good-looking or sexy are less likely to try anything secretly. Don’t get upset if a bikini clad woman turns his head, just laugh with him and be happy that it’s you he’s coming home to at night.
Over to you: What marriage expectations did you have before you tied the knot? Were they realistic? If you’re not married yet, what do you expect from marriage? Please share in the comments below.