Managing Marriage Expectations
Ahhhhhh marital bliss… that’s what everyone hopes for, right?! It can totally happen, but there are certain marriage expectations you need to manage before becoming a newlywed. Unrealistic or unknown expectations can seriously hurt a marriage and send it down the wrong path from the start. If any of the following marriage expectations resonate with you, be sure to have a discussion with your future spouse so you two can get on the same page before your big day.
You’ll Both Have The Same Love Language
Have you heard of love languages? If not, check out The 5 Love Languages to see what you and your fiancé’s love languages are. Chances are, you’ve been loving your partner in YOUR love language when you really should be loving them in THEIR love language. If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, but yours is acts of service, you may think that cleaning the house or taking out the trash is a great way to show your future spouse love and appreciation. But, in your spouses eyes, you just wasted a couple of hours when all you had to do was write them a sweet love note. Don’t expect you and your partner to have the same love language. Instead, figure out their love language and commit to showing them love in the ways that are meaningful to them.
You’ll Both Have The Same Communication Style
Another expectation to get rid of is the idea that you both communicate the same way. Communication is key in marriage; married folks- am I right or am I right?! While it would be just peachy if you two communicated in the same way, chances are that growing up, you both learned different communication patterns from your parents. When an argument arises, one of you may escalate and yell and scream, but then feel better after getting it all out. The other may withdrawal when things get too intense. When this happens, an argument can come to an impasse and it can be really hard to find a resolution. If you can identify your communication patterns, it can help in knowing what you and your partner need to work on.
Your Partner Can Read Your Mind
Often times, we think that our partners should know us well enough to know what we want/need/expect. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your partner will have their own set of wants, they shouldn’t be expected to automatically know yours too. There is nothing wrong with communicating what you expect! You are coming into the marriage with two different sets of opinions and expectations. For example, say you are super excited about your first Valentine’s Day as a married couple; But, your partner couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day. There is nothing wrong with either one of your opinions, they’re just different. To avoid disappointment when Valentine’s Day rolls around, communicate to your partner how excited you are to be able to celebrate the day as a married couple. You never know, they may even surprise you with flowers, dinner, and the whole nine yards.
You’ll Agree On How To Spend Money
This next expectation can be one of the more difficult ones to talk about: finances. First of all, who really wants to sit down and crunch numbers? Secondly, it can be hard to compromise on finances, especially for the bread winner. Don’t expect things to go perfectly. It’s very likely that one of you is a “saver” while the other one is a “spender.” Sure, this can cause some disagreements, but it can also be a good thing! The “saver” needs someone to encourage them to loosen up and buy the things they want and deserve. The “spender” needs someone who will lovingly hold them accountable for how they are spending money. Different isn’t always bad!
Your Partner Will Change
The next expectation is a big one. Do not (I repeat- do NOT) expect your partner to change after getting married. If there are major changes that need to happen, that is something to address before the wedding. Just because someone is a “married man/woman” doesn’t mean they will automatically change their habits. Being upfront and honest about what you expect is essential to avoiding disappointment and resentment down the road. Also, if your partner says they don’t want kids, BELIEVE THEM. Marriage will not necessarily change that, even if you hope it will. Having children is a huge decision and you both need to be very clear about what you expect.
Marriage Will Be Easy
Marriage is not like the movies. Again, marriage is not like the movies. Don’t expect your life to play out like a romantic comedy. Movies can make you think that if you’re marrying the right person, it should be “easy.” False. Incorrect. Marriage takes WORK, but it is WORTH IT. For the first time, you are considering someone else’s feelings in almost everything you do- of course it’s going to be difficult! You may even discover that you need to do some work on yourself to help better your marriage. Just remember that needing to work on your marriage doesn’t mean you have a “bad” or “unhealthy” marriage. What it means is that your marriage is important and a priority to you, as it should be!
As you head into this next chapter of your life, keep an open mind and a forgiving heart. You and your future spouse will have different expectations for marriage that you’ll have to manage, but it doesn’t mean one of you is right and the other is wrong. It just means you need to communicate about those expectations and be willing to compromise. As long as you both are willing to have those hard conversations and put work into your marriage, you’ll be on the road to marital bliss in no time!