When we first get married, we have a certain set of expectations that come with us into the union. The bride has her set, the husband has his set, and the in-laws have theirs as well. Some of these expectations will be met, and many of them won’t.
Let’s discuss some of these expectations.
1. The Myth: Many of us believe that temple marriage is the golden key to unlock all our marriage treasures and that nothing can befall us once we’ve been sealed. The Truth: the temple gives us the ability to be together forever, if we live righteously and endure to the end. We will have fights just like every other couple. We are not immune.
2. The Myth: He spent a lot of money on me while we were dating, and he’ll continue to do so after we’re married. The Truth: Many young men spend more than they can afford while dating, and after the marriage, they don’t have the income to both pay the bills and surprise their wife with gifts.
3. The Myth: She’s a great cook, and I just know she’ll have a hot meal ready for me the minute I walk into the house every night. The Truth: She might, and she might not. If she’s a student or if she’s working, she might get home after her husband, and there may or may not be a hot meal.
4. The Myth: Once we’re married, we’ll make mad, passionate love every night and we’ll be fulfilled in every way. The Truth: Many couples struggle to reach a level of intimacy that fulfills the needs of both, and even after they do, realistically, they can’t every single night. The average for married sex is between once to twice a week.
When we enter into marriage and our expectations aren’t met, we feel as though we didn’t get what we bargained for. We might feel conned or lured into marriage. We might say, “This isn’t what I expected at all.”
Some expectations aren’t unrealistic, but they aren’t the same expectations your spouse has. You might plan to work until the birth of your first child, and he might want you to quit as soon as you’re married. On the flip side, maybe he envisioned placing the child in daycare while you continue to work.
It’s absolutely necessary to sit down and talk with your prospective spouse about your dreams, plans and goals for the future. If you are going to join your lives together, you each deserve to know what the other person wants out of that life. Make a list of what you want out of your marriage. Discuss school, career, parenthood, finances—especially if either of you has a student loan or credit cards that will add to the overall financial burden of the family. It’s not appropriate for a dating couple to discuss sexual topics in any sort of detail before marriage, but you can make an agreement that as these issues crop up during marriage, you will be open and honest with each other about them.
After marriage, continue to communicate. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of your relationship, agree to talk things over calmly and in an attitude of compromise. Most of these issues can be resolved after a loving conversation in which the husband and wife both want to understand each other and come to an agreement that works all the way around.
Having different expectations than your spouse does not have to mean the end of a marriage or cause rifts in the relationship. Talk things over. Be willing to listen. And, given a little bit of time, you’ll soon be seeing eye to eye on more things than you thought possible. Maybe even finishing each others’ sentences.
Be sure to check out additional great marriage advice over in our marriage section here on Families.com.