When Lori met Dan she was over the top happy believing that she had finally found the one. When they decided to get married she had such dreams of the wonderful life they would have together. The wedding was beautiful, the honeymoon exquisite and then when the honeymoon phase ended, she was shocked.
They muddled along doing the best they could and then in the third year of their marriage, their first child arrived. It literally felt as if the bottom fell out. Lori wondered how such a beautiful little being could have such a devastating effect on their home and marriage.
By the time she began marriage coaching she was confused and disheartened. She knew that she did not know how to be married and wondered if her marriage problems could be fixed.
If you can relate to Lori’s story, know that you’re not alone and you are not to blame and neither is he. You undoubtedly stepped into your marriage like millions of others, with unrealistic expectations of what you want out of marriage.
Expectation #1: You Think The Honeymoon Phase Lasts Forever
Psychologists actually refer to this stage as “The Ideation Phase.” What you did early on in your relationship and marriage was to project onto your husband the “ideal” characterizations that you most wanted him to have.
He did the same to you and both of you believed that each of you possessed the qualities you wanted. The belief was then promoted by the tendency during this phase to be on your best behavior. The honeymoon phase is a wonderful experience but it’s not real and it will not last.
In fact, what you want out of marriage is for the honeymoon phase to end so that the marriage can get real. The real relationship, with all of its warts give you the opportunity and experience to grow and mature into the best version of yourself.
Expectation #2: You Believe That Love Is All You Need
It does make a good song, thanks to The Beatles. However, it’s unrealistic to believe that we need no other qualities or skills to make a good marriage.
Do you want out of marriage a healthy and sustainable one? A good marriage does not happen on its own, rather you create it. It does take love, but it also takes qualities like acceptance, forgiveness and respect to name a few. It also takes skills like communication, cooperation and negotiation.
Learning how to be married brings with it experiences where the two of you will clash. You might interpret such clashes as marriage problems however they don’t need to be. Each ‘clash’ offers the opportunity to learn about yourself in relationship to him leading both of you to continued growth and change.
Expectation #3: You Want The Perfect Mate
This expectation can be harmful or not. It’s damaging if you expect your perfect mate to be like Prince Charming. Let the fairytales entertain you but be careful not to pin your hopes on them.
It’s not harmful, though, if you accept that the man you attracted is perfectly suited for what you need to learn about yourself. As you learn and then apply what you learn, you will grow and mature.
Expectation #4: You Want Him To Change To Become the Perfect Mate
Even the wisest of women are shocked to learn that they expected him to change. And when he doesn’t it can be a rude awakening!
It is true that human nature is to grow and change. The problem arises when you set your sights on how and how fast he will grow and change. What you want out of marriage is to evolve but each person’s evolution is up to them.
It is not your business to determine who your husband is, what he needs and who he is becoming as he grows and changes. Your business is to know who you are, what you need and who you are becoming as you grow and change.
The two of you together give each other the perfect (there’s that word again) opportunities within your marriage to become the best you.
Expectation #5: You Want A Relationship Like Your Parents’
Everything you know about relationships and marriage you learned from your parents. You began learning from them the moment you were born. You observed and experienced life with them and through your experiences you began to make sense of the world and yourself in it.
As you made sense of the world you made rules for yourself to help you get along. The rules, also known as beliefs that you have about marriage are existing in your relationship with your husband. Your beliefs either support you to have a healthy marriage or an unhealthy one.
Whether you experienced your parent’s marriage as good or bad doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you know your expectations about how to be married come directly from what you experienced as a child. When you understand where your expectations come from, your ability to choose how you want to be in your marriage, will help you create a healthy one.
No matter what kind of marriage your parents had, your marriage is yours. Hidden within your expectations and the reality of your marriage are keys. Once discovered, the keys will lead you on your own life’s journey.
Let what you want out of marriage become the journey that supports you to become the best version of you.