Did you say “I do” a long time ago or are you newlyweds? Whatever the answer is, I assume you had (and still have) some marriage expectations that are not fulfilled.
Being married truly is wonderful and we all wish to have a successful marriage, right? Long-term relationships can sometimes get monotonous, but it’s up to you to make that honeymoon stage last longer.
Are you curious about how to do that? It’s not rocket science – you just have to communicate your needs. You have to have reasonable expectations for your husband, yourself, and your marriage.
And if you’re reading this and your wedding day is approaching, congratulations twice. The second one goes for your will to build a healthy marriage.
In this article, I’ll give you more info about two different kinds of expectations. Firstly, we’ll talk about realistic expectations and how to meet them. The second type entails unrealistic expectations and how to get rid of them.
You’re probably trying to define your marriage expectations right now or asking yourself if you have any. Let me help you with that. For example, do you expect your husband to help you with household chores, but he thinks that’s your job?
Do you think you should be pursuing your career as well, but he thinks you should be a stay-at-home mom? Do you even want kids?
In order for you to make your relationship last longer and not set your hopes too high, let’s go together through marriage expectations anyone can have.
Reasonable marriage expectations
As we mentioned earlier, there are different “seasons” of marriage and the perfect one does not exist. For your married life to be healthy, there were some required fields you had to fill in before accepting the terms and conditions.
Did you skip it this time? Your parents’ marriages were like your free trial after subscription. Did you like it? I sure as hell didn’t like mine, but at least now I know what I don’t want my marriage to look like.
Since none of us are mind readers, you have to find healthy ways to communicate with your spouse. If we want to reduce the number of unmet expectations, we have to identify our needs and clearly express them. Nobody wants an unhappy marriage, am I right?
In this part, we’ll talk about marriage expectations that most of us have and that are pretty reasonable. So, let’s start.
1. Expect honesty
First and foremost, expect honesty from your loved one. No matter if we’re talking about relationships, engagements, or marriages, honesty has to be present.
In the same way that you expect your partner to be honest with you, you have to be honest with him. Clearly state your point of view on a certain topic, and let him know about your expectations of him and your marriage. Don’t forget to ask him to share his as well.
It’s your right to require honesty in a relationship if you feel like there’s not enough of it. At the end of the day, that’s one of the pillars of a healthy relationship. And if you cannot trust your partner, why are you still with him?
The whole idea of marriage is trusting the other person wholeheartedly and if you can’t do that, then you’re treading dangerous ground. Maybe you should try to talk with your family therapist or go for couple’s counseling, because not trusting your partner (and vice versa) will eventually make a negative impact on your mental health.
2. Expect to be annoyed
We all have quirks that irritate others, so expect to be annoyed from time to time. Even if you’re married for a long time, there are certain situations that you’ve never been in and you probably don’t know how your husband will react. There’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.
Aristotle said that we have to eat a big sack of salt together in order to completely meet one another. And you know how little salt we put in our daily meals, right?
Sometimes it may be difficult to understand your partner’s point of view or accept the fact that he cares about unimportant things, but you have to.
There will be times when you’ll discover your husband’s new trait that you can either like or not. Yes, it may annoy you if you don’t like it, and yes that may not be something you thought he’d (eventually) show.
But you chose to be with this person in good and bad, so please set realistic marriage expectations. You cannot expect him to be perfect, because hey, at the end of the day, neither are you.
I mean, he can be the perfect guy for you exactly the way he is, with all his vices and virtues, but he’s not a saint. Nobody is and you shouldn’t give up on your marriage just because some of your expectations are unmet.
3. Expect disagreements
Whenever there are two people involved and they have to discuss something, expect disagreements. This is not an unrealistic marriage expectation. On the contrary.
When you expect disagreements in your marriage (or in any relationship, for that matter), you’re keeping your mind open to new perspectives and new opinions. It will be easy for you to communicate with people, whether it be in person or over social media.
However, you cannot let disagreements turn you against each other. You have to always keep in mind that it’s you two versus the problem. You have to be ready to vocalize your opinion, and ready to hear his. That way, disagreements will actually help your relationship’s well-being.
I know most of us were taught not to argue with people, especially when you’re talking to someone you respect and think highly of. But as we grow up, we form our own opinions and expectations that may or may not be the same as what our parents told us.
Be ready to “agree to disagree” with others as you navigate through adulthood and try not to expect too much unless you want to be disappointed.
4. Expect to compromise
Compromise is not a bad thing at all. You give up something, the other person gives up something and you meet each other halfway. Wholesome, isn’t it?
You have to be ready to compromise for the greater good and in order to live happily ever after. Your in-laws haven’t compiled those years of marriage without any effort, don’t you agree?
It required a lot of hard work, compromising, and care for the other person. They found healthy ways to communicate and knew that fighting and being angry at each other won’t do the trick.
You’ll feel it when your husband is not compromising, but rather accepting something because you may think it’s right. Don’t settle for that, or if you do, next time try to do him a favor instead.
If you want to build a relationship that will last, you’ll both need to compromise. Just never neglect your needs and feelings.
5. Expect respect
In order for you to have an enviable marriage, be ready to meet some unspoken expectations as well. So, be familiar with marriage expectations he has that are actually causing him to react this or that way, despite him never expressing them openly. Learn to respect each other and never take your spouse for granted.
You, undoubtedly, have the right to expect respect in your marriage. In other words, if you’ll talk highly about him when he’s not around, he should do the same. When you have genuine respect for your loved one, you’ll go to hell and back for that person.
Respecting your partner’s boundaries, time, and space is crucial in any relationship, especially if you want a strong and happy marriage. Make sure that you respect yourself and your needs as well, and patiently explain how you want to be treated.
Setting respect as one of your marriage expectations is a good thing and you should never settle for less.
6. Expect to think you’re the one doing more
Yes, this is going to happen. Whether we’re talking about the chores, taking care of the kids, or nurturing your relationship, expect that, at some point, you’ll feel you’re the one doing more.
At the early stages of your marriage, you’re on cloud nine, and you don’t pay attention to all the things you’re doing. But once you get back to work and start making lunch every day, then cleaning the house all the time and going to work exhausted, that’s when you’ll notice it.
He’s not washing the dishes anymore after you’ve cooked, or he kind of avoids using the vacuum cleaner. Are you the one who’s tending to the garden as well? Have you tried to make him pay attention, but you weren’t obvious enough and he didn’t get it?
Don’t think that you have to visit your family therapist right away, talk with him. Trust me, it’s not a big deal and it’s sure not something that can’t be sorted out.
If you vocalize your expectations to your partner and he wants to make sure that they are fulfilled, I assure you that you have a great guy by your side.
7. Conflict is inevitable
If you’re ready for disagreements and compromising, you’re indeed aware that conflict is inevitable when it comes to marriage (or any other relationship).
Maybe you’ll argue about household stuff, or if you should go on a holiday in July or August. Whatever the reason, make sure you’re aware that conflicts will arise. And whenever they do, make sure you shut out all your emotions and think rationally.
Focus only on the problem you’re clarifying now, don’t bring up something from the past. That in the first place wasn’t supposed to be swept under the rug, but bringing it up now will only make you hurt each other unintentionally.
Healthy conflict resolution, with a final solution that will please both of you, is a skill you’ll need to master throughout life. So if you haven’t already, this is your time to develop yourself.
8. The passion won’t always be there
You’ll go to work, come back tired, and won’t be able to lift a finger. You may not feel attracted to your partner all the time, and that’s normal.
There are different reasons this may be happening. And it’s up to both to accept the fact that the passion won’t always be there. You’re not going to come home from work every day and want to rip his clothes off – and that’s okay.
You have to be madly in love with the person he is, the love you two share. Even if you lack the passion right now, nobody says it won’t reappear. Just be patient.
9. Spending quality time together
In my opinion, spending quality time with your partner is one of the most important components of a healthy relationship. There are plenty of activities you can do together, be it watching movies, going on a road trip, or taking cooking classes together.
No matter whether you guys are married or not, you have to have at least one “date night” per week to keep your love life spiced up. Everyday life can become boring and seeing your partner constantly in their “home edition” may be the reason you’re not enchanted anymore.
Instead of spending Valentine’s Day at home, go out for a dinner in some fancy restaurant and wear a dress you know he really likes seeing on you. If spending quality time together is one of your marriage expectations, I’m sure you’ll nurture a healthy marriage.
Unreasonable marriage expectations
Now that we’ve covered healthy marriage expectations, it’s time to delve into the unreasonable ones.
We need to mention things that you may expect from your partner, but it truly is not up to them to fulfill them. Not because you don’t deserve it, or because the expectations are not valid, but rather because they are unrealistic in nature.
After reading the first part of the article, you can probably guess some of them, but roll up your sleeves, and let’s face them head-on.
1. Your partner should make you happy
Your partner should bring you happiness, that’s true. But what I’m trying to say here is that you shouldn’t make him accountable for your own happiness. If you cannot be responsible for making your own life meaningful and full of happiness, don’t put the burden on him.
That way you’ll both be disappointed and it will be harmful to your marriage. In general, when people are in serious relationships, everyone will say that it’s not “I” anymore, it’s “we.” And I completely agree with that.
But, don’t misinterpret it in this case, because you are solely responsible for your own happiness. It’s just meant to multiply when you’re with the one you love. Think about this question: “How can you make someone happy, if you can’t make yourself happy?”
In order to have healthy and successful relationships with other people, you need that kind of relationship with yourself first. What are you waiting for?
2. Your partner should always agree with you
Luckily I’m not your partner, so I can say no. Your partner shouldn’t always agree with you. Do you really need a yes-man who nods at everything you say? Your shadow does that already.
I mean, isn’t it better when your husband and you have different opinions and views on the same problem and while solving it, you actually grow as individuals and as a couple? I think it is.
People are constantly changing, so learn to accept every new version of your partner and build a happy life with him. Make sure you understand his point of view and don’t be afraid of compromises. They will make your relationship stronger if you handle them properly.
You also have to be ready for the fact that your timelines may not align. You may not want kids at the same time, you don’t want to travel this year, or you actually don’t want to go on a date the same night.
That’s perfectly fine, as long as you talk it through and find the common ground.
3. Your partner should spend all his free time with you
Another no. Your husband had a life before you, so you cannot expect him to spend all his free time with you. He has a bunch of friends and family members he wants to hang out with, so don’t try to control him.
Instead of complaining about how he should be with you all the time, call your friends and go out with them. Engage in some new activity, and have a life on your own. Take up a new hobby and tell him about it when you stay in the next day.
However, you have to be his priority and that is a reasonable marriage expectation. You’re not dating anymore, but living together, so he has to pay attention to your needs as well. If he got used to calling the boys over to his place when he was a bachelor, that doesn’t mean he can do it now without talking with you first.
4. Your partner will never disappoint you
Disappointments are part of our everyday life, so you cannot expect that your partner will never do anything that may make you feel down.
It takes time to get to know your partner completely, but once you start living together, that will rapidly change. You may notice some things that you don’t like about him and certain things may even disappoint you.
That, however, won’t make you love him less, right? It’s normal that you disagree sometimes because we all have different habits and we were raised differently. Maybe you haven’t noticed those before, but now they are coming to the surface.
Brace yourself, you’re about to jump voluntarily on a roller coaster of emotions that married life brings. Just make sure you don’t set up your marriage expectations too high, because not achieving them may hurt a lot more than it should.
5. Your partner will be your soulmate
If I were you, I wouldn’t bet on this one. Most often, your partner won’t be your soulmate. Still, you can have a wonderful and successful marriage.
Your partner won’t always get you or finish your sentence. He won’t be able to read your mind or telepathically tell you something. Being able to have healthy communication with your partner is the most important part of your relationship, and consequently, your marriage.
In my opinion, yes, you have to have that spark with someone before when you first start dating them. But, the purest connection of them all, the I-want-that-kind-of-a-relationship connection doesn’t happen overnight.
You both realize you are flawed human beings. You both decide to put some work into it and create a truly unbreakable bond. That’s how you become ideally suited for your chosen one.
Redefine your marriage expectations
Redefining your marriage expectations may be one of the hardest tasks you’ll have to do. You and your husband were raised differently, and what seems so natural to you, may not make sense to him at all.
Forgive me for repeating myself, but I must emphasize that the most crucial element to any relationship is healthy, open communication between the two people involved. After the wedding bells stop ringing, and the honeymoon phase is over, it’s time for you to openly talk with your partner.
Firstly you’ll need to identify and define your marriage expectations. Yes, you can set the bar pretty high, but please, make sure you set realistic expectations.
If you think that you’ll be the one enjoying life and he’ll be the one providing you all the things needed, make sure you’re not being a gold digger. Men tend to run away from that type of woman.
Don’t put the blame on him for everything and remember that it takes two to tango. You both are responsible to make the marriage work, but the responsibility of cherishing it should never be put on one person’s shoulders.
Have fun, smile, and laugh together. Make your life an adventure and enjoy it together.