We are fast approaching the end of the year, a time for family, festivities and stress. It is also a time when we start to reflect on how our year has gone and perhaps how we would like to improve next year. As you think about the state of your relationship, I hope that you will take the time to evaluate your expectations for your partner and your relationship. Although it is great to consistently strive to improve your relationship, there is a danger of slipping into criticism when expectations are not met.
Expecting to have everything that you want in your marriage will always leave you frustrated. When two people live together, it is not possible for one partner to always have everything they want unless the other person ceases to matter and if this happens, the relationship is doomed.
Unrealistic expectation put a great deal of stress on your relationship. They set an impossible standard that your partner continually fails to meet. Expecting that the honeymoon will last forever or that your partner will meet all of your needs are unrealistic. Assuming that your marriage should always be romantic or should make you happy is equally unrealistic.
Happiness is a choice that we make and we are responsible for meeting our own needs. Yes, it is wonderful to have a partner to share life with, but being married does not improve our self-esteem or fix our insecurities about our self. Ironically it is our personal insecurities that tend to ruin relationships.
What expectation do you have about the following:
2. Length of relationship
4. Dealing with friends and family
5. What feels loving to you
6. How do you show your love to your partner
9. Handling problems
12. Career and finance
13. Emotional support
15. How to make decisions
17. Household chores
18. Spending time together and time alone
20. Pet peeves
Try writing out your expectations for each of the above and sharing them with each other. After talking with your partner reconsider the reasonableness of your expectations.
Carefully examine your expectations of marriage and disregard those that are unrealistic or that are hurting your relationship. Bringing your expectations more in line with reality will help you to feel better about your relationship. Start looking at the glass as half full, start noticing and appreciating the things that are good about your relationship. If you cannot find anything good about your relationship then perhaps you are not in a healthy relationship with your self or your partner.