Expectations are… well… expected, before getting married. Engaging in conversations about those expectations is a different story. Have you committed your partner to expectations they are not aware of?
Are you having the following conversations with yourself? Are you open to a little dose of reality?
My Partner Will Spend Less Time With Friends
Is your unspoken expectation that he or she will spend less time with friends? You may believe there are more important matters to attend to — like starting a family, and building a new life together.
Maybe you expect your partner to cut back on video games; or not be so involved in his or her community organizations. Yea, they love sports, but they won’t mind watching it on the couch. It’s more comfortable than a crowded bar, right?
The reality isyou both need the opportunity to talk about how important it is to spend time with friends. Healthy relationships recognize the importance of maintaining some level of individuality.
I Will Convince My Partner to Have Kids
You can’t wait to start a family. You daydream about your daughter draining her first three pointer, or taking your son to his first band concert. You can see yourself rolling around on the floor wrestling with all five of them — Is five too many? Is five enough?
The problem is, he or she has said more than once, “I don’t want kids.” But in your mind, they just need a little convincing. That’s how it works for you – marriage is incomplete without kids. Marriage will definitely change his or her mind, you tell yourself.
The reality is that marriage is not the magic, transformative power that you may believe it to be. Your idealized version may be wildly different than your partner’s. It doesn’t make either one of you wrong, but you will experience a dramatic let down if you believe marriage will change his or her mind.
Two Incomes Will Make Things Easier
There’s a sense that you two are on the same page, though, you’ve never explicitly talked about it. So, you tell yourself, once the bills are paid there will be enough money left over for spending, savings, and vacations.
You feel like both of you are fairly responsible. You don’t see any signs of severe financial mismanagement. As far as you’re concerned, money won’t be a problem.
The reality ist his needs to be an in-depth, and lengthy conversation. Have you discussed: How much do we save? Do we live off one income or two? How much debt are we bringing into the marriage? What’s up with retirement, or is that too far away to even think about? Money may be a difficult topic for you to talk about — but it’s a necessary one.
My Partner Will Complete Me
You’ve read it in novels, and seen it in romantic movies. He looks into her eyes, as the soft music plays in the background, and whispers – you complete me. You may feel that way. You may believe your partner will always be there for you, always be dependable, and will always fill in the gap where you fall short.
The reality is this is a misconception. Marriage is an opportunity for you to understand yourself better, learn how to speak truthfully, but kindly about difficult things, and grow as an individual. But marriage, alone, does not make you whole.
I Will Be More Honest Once I’m Married
You’ve seen what lying does to marriages. You don’t want that for yours. You understand the importance of being honest. You’re determined to fix bad habits, because your future spouse is that important to you.
You make a vow to course correct your tendency to stretch the truth.
The reality is you may be blind to the seriousness of your own flaws. If you have been a chronic liar in past relationships, it’s tempting to believe marriage will cure it. This downplays the importance of taking an honest look at your inconsistency of truth telling.
Inner dialogue is normal. It also can be an illusion – an illusion plagued with unrealistic expectations. The unrealistic expectation being that the marriage will automatically change the other person, or change you.
Taking the time to talk to your partner in these important conversations can get you started on the right track towards a successful, loving, and honest marriage.
This article was written by Redonno Carmon, a licensed Marriage and Therapist Associate who specializes in adults and couples counseling. He helps couples to refocus the way they view their relationship with themselves and others. To schedule an appointment with him, click here.