When it comes to the union of marriage, basic expectations are healthy and an understandable given. The standards to be faithful to each other, take on obstacles that arise together, and care for your spouse are understood when vows are pledged. Nonetheless, the problem is when expectations are unfair and unreasonable. See the key, to expectations, is discussing them beforehand as a couple.
Think about it, the general expectations of marriage were discussed and affirmed when you accepted the vows; however, the interpretation attached to those vows should be discussed. Communicating your hopes and needs is crucial within a marriage. In many cases, the responsibility you’re placing within the expectations on your spouse are actually your own responsibility as an individual. If you’re unable to make yourself happy and be sustainable, it’s unrealistic to think someone else can check all the boxes off for you.
So, take a few minutes and read through the ways you may be sabotaging your marriage by placing unreasonable expectations on your spouse. Find out how expectations are ruining your marriage and make an effort to resolve any mistakes you are making.
Expectation #1: You expect your spouse to fill a stereotypical role.
It’s 2020, stereotypical roles are a thing of the past. Women are in the workforce and holding their own. More men are taking on household duties and some are even staying home with the kids, so the woman can pursue her career. As a female, don’t assume your husband will be the main breadwinner. As a male, don’t assume the house will be tidy and dinner will be on the table when you get home. Adopting these expectations can cripple your marriage because it places unnecessary pressure on both individuals.
Nonetheless, things change and circumstances cause roles to shift. It’s important to discuss your roles as a couple. One person may not mind cleaning while cooking maybe the other person’s strength. Never assume that things must be the way they were decades ago. Strive to empower each other.
Expectation #2: You expect to just have children naturally. You expect your spouse to know when you’re ready to start a family.
Generally, when people envision the perfect marriage there are a few components such as a happy couple, a house with a hypothetical white picket fence, money, and children. The reality is none of that just appears – everything takes a lot of work and sacrifice. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to conceive children. If in-vitro is an option, it’s not guaranteed and it’s incredibly expensive. The other option is adoption; however, some couples/individuals may not want to go that route and again that is also an expensive option.
If a couple is unable to conceive a child, it’s critical that there is no blame placed on an individual. If an individual is unable to withstand the emotional and/or financial burden of in-vitro or adoption, it’s important that the other spouse doesn’t expect their partner to deal with the situation alone. It’s okay to be frustrated and let down; however, it’s imperative that couples communicate their feelings in order to come to an agreeable solution.
Another side of the expectation is the decision to start a family. Marriage doesn’t mean a couple has to have children. A union, like marriage, is based on the notion that two people want to share their lives together – there isn’t a caveat requiring children to be part of the equation.
Expectation #3: We expect our partner to meet our sexual expectations.
Intimacy is a complicated topic. In many cases, couples do not discuss their sex life. It’s believed to be a taboo topic – even between married couples. Individuals expect their spouse to know when they’re in the mood or what they like. However, it’s impossible because no one has psychic abilities. Therefore, communication is a must. Couples must be willing to have ongoing honest conversations with their spouse and discuss the intimate details. As a partner, you shouldn’t expect your spouse to know everything, if you haven’t taken the time to discuss your needs.
And it’s important that women get real and understand the difference between real life and the movies. Your love life will not be a clip from The Notebook or The Proposal. Hollywood love is not real!
Expectation #4: We expect finances to be prosperous on their own.
Every couple should schedule regular discussions about their finances and goals. A spouse shouldn’t place the expectation of managing finances solely on one individual – unless it’s agreed upon. Incomes and expenses can change, and spending limits need to be reassessed periodically. With that said, the spouse not managing the finances, must be willing to spend according to the agreed guidelines.
If a couple decides to keep their accounts separate, it’s still important that financial discussions take place and contributions for various funds/bills are still ongoing conversations. Each person cannot expect their spouse to make it work, when agreed upon terms are not being followed. Money is one of the biggest drivers for arguments leading to divorce and unhappy marriages. Ultimately, it’s up to both individuals to be knowledgeable about their household’s financial health.
Expectation #5: We expect communication to just happen seamlessly.
Communication is a crucial part of every relationship – it doesn’t just flow without any hiccups. Spouses cannot expect communication to magically work. Instead, both parties must be active participants and put forth equal amounts of effort. The key to communication is to communicate all the time – not just when things become difficult. If partners vow to have open lines of communication and talk on a daily basis when things are challenging the discussions are much easier. Communication is something couples must work on – it’s not easy but it’s an invaluable element for a healthy and happy marriage.
Marriage is supposed to be a relationship that runs on equality and balance. If a spouse brings expectations that haven’t been discussed or agreed upon, it can ruin a marriage and cause rifts that lead to an unhappy life. The initial road to marriage is full of glitz and glam: the shiny ring, the beautiful dress, the perfect venue, matching attire for the wedding party, gifts, and the ideal honeymoon. Oftentimes the sanction of marriage gets lost in the wedding preparation. The reality is marriage is not picture perfect. Marriage is the live-action version of the vows you recite. From this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Yes, there are ups but there are also a lot of downs. The secret is focusing on the ups and remembering as a couple your expectations shouldn’t take away from those times.