What To Really Expect In Marriage
Would you like a happy marriage? What a silly question. Of course you do — everyone does.
But one of the main reasons why people are so unhappy with their marriage is because of unrealistic expectations.
Many people who get married expect/assume that their partner will change (how’s that been working for you?).
But the opposite is also true.
Some people who get married have the expectation that their partner will not change.
Both of these perspectives hinder people from having a happy marriage. One thing you can be sure of is this, your partner will change after marriage and most likely not in the way that you want him or her to.
Consider the following story and see what you can learn from it.
Doug and Beth (not their real names) have been dating for quite a while now. Things are going so well that they are seriously considering marriage. Needless to say, they both want a happy marriage.
However, Beth does a lot of volunteer work with troubled teenagers. In fact, she has taken some girls into her home and would like to continue this even after she is married. Doug admires Beth’s dedication to volunteer work but also values his privacy. He doesn’t want his home turned into a halfway house.
Doug secretly hopes that once they are married, Beth will enjoy their happy relationship so much that she will review and change her open house policy.
On the other hand, Beth hopes that Doug will have a chance to experience what it feels like to give up one’s privacy for the sake of the less fortunate, and, as a result, embrace her open house policy.
Unfortunately, they have decided not so seek premarital counseling where this conflict would have been identified and discussed openly.
Fast forward. Doug and Beth have been married for four months. But instead of enjoying a happy marriage, they are in counseling. Both of them made one grave mistake — they expected that the other would change after they got married.
If you are dating and considering taking things further, then ask yourself this question right now: Can I live with them the way they are?
If the answer is no, then seek premarital counseling at the earliest opportunity. Or, seriously consider the viability of your relationship because if you get married knowing full well that you can’t live with them the way they are, then you are setting your marriage up for failure.
In order to have a happy marriage, you must be willing to accept your partner the way they are.
If there is something you dislike about them, you need to realize that it is here to stay. Any relationship counselor will tell you that you need to find a way to live with it. Don’t even think that you can change your spouse after you get married. If you try, expect to wind up in the marriage counselor’s office sooner or later.
However, this doesn’t mean that you and your partner must agree on absolutely everything. It’s okay to disagree. Just make sure what you are disagreeing on isn’t a deal breaker.
For marriage to succeed, a couple needs to agree on the basics, which include values, religion, parenting, and lifestyle, among other things.
If you find that you and your partner agree on all except one issue, then actively negotiate an agreeable compromise. Do this, and you will have a happy marriage (at least a much happier one :-)).