Marriage: Expectations vs. Reality

Marriage: Expectations vs. Reality

When Phillip married Kate, he had very high hopes for their marriage. She would play her part as a woman and handle all domestic chores while he would focus on providing financially for the family. Piece of cake.

Who said marriage had to be hard?

The reality however was different from Phillip’s expectations. Kate held a full time job and could not shoulder the responsibility of taking care of the home alone, she expected Phillip to help but Phillip felt that he played his part as the husband by bringing home the bacon and refused to be involved in the house chores even when he could afford time to help out. Kate became resentful, her father used to help her mother at home. Phillip became upset because the home was never as tidy as he expected it to be.

Who said marriage wasn’t hard?

Everyone who goes into marriage does so with expectations; their own preconceived notions of what marriage ought to be. From how you expect to be treated to how your spouse should expect to be treated. The reality however is that our expectations often times are not met. The resulting disappointment of unmet expectations may sometimes lead you to flirt with the idea of a divorce or separation.

Funny thing about expectations is that, most times, they are absolutes and leave no room for other possible scenarios.

“If my husband wont treat me like a queen, it means he doesn’t love me therefore I must have made a mistake marrying a man who doesn’t love me”

“If my wife won’t clean the house every day, it means she is not a homely woman and therefore I erred in making her my wife”

Is it possible your husband is of the opinion that the best way he can show you respect and love is to make you the primary decision maker at home. Is it possible that his definition of treating you right is different from what your definition of being treated right is?

Is it possible your wife feels the way she can show you support is by contributing financially to the home rather than play Susie homemaker?

Don’t misconstrue my words. Having expectations is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, there are expectations that are a must-have in order to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the institution of marriage. Such as expectations of fidelity, respect, a non-violent relationship amidst others.

However there are other expectations that should allow for flexibility and holding firmly to such expectations without seeking to understand your spouse may very well be a recipe for disaster. It’s great to have your expectations but you should also have a mind that is open enough to be flexible where some of these expectations are concerned.

Graceful communication is key to handling expectations in marriage. If your expectations are not being met, be gracious enough to open up to your spouse about how you feel. Often times, you may find that due to personality differences, your interpretation of an action may differ greatly. Graceful communication can help your spouse understand your point of view, as well as, help you understand his or hers.

Case in point: There are days when I am too tired to cook, but my husband understands on those days, that I don’t mean him any disrespect and he either steps in for me or we order in. There are days he is too tired to take out the trash, I understand that and take it out in his stead.

Being inflexible with our expectations could mean my husband forcing me to make his meals on my tired days and me forcing him to take the trash out on his tired days.

There will be times when you have to relinquish those expectations, not because your spouse isn’t caring but because your spouse may not be able to meet them the way you want. Your spouse is human and no one can satisfy all your expectations or meet all your needs.

Regardless of if you are married or preparing to get married, it is important you know that managing marital expectations is a prerequisite for a stable marriage.

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