Marriage Expectations (Unrealistic, Realistic and How to Manage)

Setting Realistic Marriage Expectations

Couples who are going to be married will always have expectations about the union. They have a glimpse of what it will be like to stay together. But marriage is a whole new level of relationship. It is not wrong to think ideally about it. But you should also keep it real at the same time.

By developing the best yet realistic marriage expectations, you will approach your union in the greatest possible way. You will then have sensible anticipations about yourself, your spouse, and the marriage, in general.

It is not wrong to set marriage expectations. Having anticipations will make the union more exciting and fun. But you should not put unattainable expectations on your marriage. Expectations are good, but understanding and communication are more important in marriage.

8 Unrealistic Expectations in a Marriage

Expecting Your Partner to Save You

Many people idolize their partners and rely on them for their happiness and fulfillment. However, your partner cannot be the sole source of your happiness or solve all your problems. You both need to take responsibility for your own happiness.

Unrealistic: My wife will make me feel whole.

Realistic: I am responsible for my own fulfillment, and my wife enhances my life.

Expecting Your Partner to be Perfect

Your partner will make mistakes and let you down sometimes. Remember, your partner is also human and prone to mistakes. Having unrealistic expectations of perfection leads to constant disappointment.

Unrealistic: My husband will never irritate me or make me angry.

Realistic: No one is perfect. I accept and love my husband despite his flaws.

Believing Love Will Solve All Problems

While love is important, it takes more than that to make a marriage work long-term. Issues like communication breakdown, financial stress, or drifting apart can arise over time.

Unrealistic: Our love will carry us through anything.

Realistic: Our marriage needs constant nurturing and effort, not just love.

Expecting Sex to Always be Easy

A satisfying sex life requires open communication, trust, and ongoing effort. It’s normal to go through ups and downs when it comes to intimacy.

Unrealistic: Sex will always be spontaneous and steamy.

Realistic: We will make an effort to keep our sex life satisfying despite life’s challenges.

Thinking You Can Change Your Partner

Your partner has their own personality and quirks. While people can compromise, fundamentally changing someone is impossible.

Unrealistic: Once we’re married, I’ll change all my partner’s annoying habits.

Realistic: I accept my partner for who they are, quirks and all.

Expecting the Relationship to Never Change

Change in a marriage is inevitable, including changes in careers, family, finances, or just aging together. Expecting things to stay the same is unrealistic.

Unrealistic: Our relationship will be exactly like it was when we first got married.

Realistic: We will put in the work to grow together as we change over the years.

Assuming Your Partner Can Read Your Mind

Your partner is not a mind reader! Expecting them to automatically know your wants and needs without communicating leads to hurt feelings.

Unrealistic: I shouldn’t have to ask my wife for what I want. She should just know.

Realistic: I clearly communicate my needs and wants to avoid misunderstandings.

Expecting Your Partner to Accept Every Part of You

While being yourself is important, some aspects of your behavior might annoy your partner. For example, bad habits, insensitive remarks, etc.

Unrealistic: My husband must be totally fine with my constant lateness.

Realistic: I acknowledge my lateness bothers my husband and work to improve.

7 Realistic Marriage Expectations

Mutual Trust

Trust is the foundation of a strong marriage. Partners need to trust each other to be faithful, honest, and transparent.

Having open and honest conversations about thoughts, feelings, desires, fears, and concerns. Keeping secrets erodes trust.

Partners should avoid being overly suspicious, jealous, or making false accusations, as these behaviors destroy trust.

Remaining committed, loyal, and devoted to each other. Faithfulness builds trust.

It’s important to respect each other’s privacy without being secretive, as respecting privacy demonstrates trust.

Sharing passwords and financial information. Financial transparency enables trust.

Believing and trusting your partner unless given a valid reason not to. Baseless mistrust damages relationships.

Showing Affection and Appreciation

In the rush of daily life, it’s easy to forget to actively express love and appreciation for your partner. Make an effort to:

  • Give random physical affection – hugs, kisses, back rubs, hand-holding. Touch releases bonding hormones.
  • Compliment your spouse on their attributes and efforts. Praise builds confidence.
  • Say “I love you” often, and mean it sincerely. Verbal affirmation provides security.
  • Do acts of service like making their favorite meal. Kindness conveys care.
  • Give your partner small gifts that reflect their wishes, showing that thoughtfulness is important.
  • Post appreciative messages on social media. Public praise is uplifting.
  • Send loving texts during the day. Affection shouldn’t be an afterthought.
  • Focus on their positive traits when frustrated. Highlight strengths during trials.

Respecting Each Other

Showing respect means deeply valuing your partner’s opinions, needs, desires, and goals. Ways to demonstrate respect include:

Show respect by listening attentively and not interrupting your partner, as this helps you understand their perspective.

Compromising during disagreements instead of insisting on being right. Meet in the middle.

Partners should avoid insults, sarcasm, or mean comments, even in jest, as they can cause emotional hurt.

Never diminish each other’s hobbies, interests, or career ambitions. Pursue your passions.

Making important decisions together as equals. Value each other’s input.

Respectfully accepting differences like introvert vs. extrovert traits. Embrace each other’s uniqueness.

Cultivating Friendship

The couples who go the distance are not just lovers – they are best friends. Nurture your friendship by:

  • Sharing laughs daily. Playfulness and humor strengthen bonds.
  • Pursuing common interests like hiking, games, or cultural activities. Enjoy hobbies together.
  • Being each other’s support system. Provide a listening ear during tough times.
  • Allocate time for activities beyond romantic dates to deepen your bond.
  • Celebrating milestones and achievements together. Friends share joyful moments.
  • Establishing rituals like movie nights, walks, etc. Consistency creates closeness.

Practicing Kindness and Generosity

A thriving marriage involves partners treating each other with empathy, graceand selflessness. Ways to practice this include:

  • Doing small acts of kindness to make your partner’s day better – bringing coffee in bed, leaving a sweet note, picking up groceries they need.
  • Assuming the best, especially when your spouse makes mistakes. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Quickly move past small annoyances, as focusing on them can create bitterness.
  • Offering praise and encouragement when your partner is anxious about something. Provide emotional support.
  • When your spouse is sick, overwhelmed, or exhausted, take on extra tasks to help lighten their burden.
  • Putting your partner’s happiness and well-being on par with your own. Don’t be selfish.
  • Celebrating your partner’s victories as if they were your own. Be their biggest cheerleader.
  • Being generous with physical affection, even when you’re very busy. Affection shouldn’t be conditional.

Regular and Effective Communication

Consistent, thoughtful communication enables couples to gain clarity, voice needs, solve problems, and feel connected. Make communication a habit by:

Regularly share your feelings, thoughts, and experiences, ensuring that silence doesn’t create distance between you.

Discussing disagreements calmly without blaming or name-calling. Use “I feel…” sentences to express needs.

Being attentive listeners when your spouse is talking. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk.

Compromising to find solutions to issues that satisfy both partners. Avoid win-lose scenarios.

Speaking positively about your partner to others. No gossiping or mocking them even jokingly.

Expressing appreciation for your partner’s efforts and qualities. Vocalize gratitude.

Spending Quality Time Together

Between work, family, and other commitments, it’s vital for couples to prioritize one-on-one couple time. Make this a regular habit by:

  • Scheduling date nights, even simple ones like cooking in or going for a walk. Romance should never completely fade.
  • Turn off devices to ensure fully attentive and quality time together, as quality is more important than quantity.
  • Taking weekend getaways or vacations together when possible. New experiences renew bonds.
  • Having in-depth conversations without distractions or multitasking. Truly connect.
  • Cuddling up together at the end of each day to chat. Prioritize intimacy.

How to Manage Expectations in a Marriage?

Avoid Unhealthy Comparisons

Be mindful not to compare your relationship to unrealistic standards set by others, social media, or past relationships. Instead of comparing, concentrate on the unique aspects of your own relationship.

Don’t critique or judge your sex life by comparing it to an imagined “ideal.” Openly communicate your needs and desires instead.

Avoid criticizing your spouse by making comparisons with an ex-partner. This breeds resentment. Keep thoughts about exes completely out of your marriage.

Avoid believing that other couples are perfect based on their social media, which often shows a curated version of reality. Make your own happiness a priority.

Recognize Unrealistic vs. Realistic Expectations

  • Let go of the fairytale notion that marriage will be perfect and problem-free. Challenges and hard work are par for the course.
  • Accept that physical intimacy will ebb and flow over the years. Don’t panic or take it personally during natural lulls. Continue communicating openly.
  • Realize that your partner cannot meet every emotional, social, and self-esteem need you have. Rely on other meaningful relationships too. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on your spouse alone.

Make Compromises

Identify your top priorities and let minor annoyances go quickly. Don’t sweat the small stuff or keep score.

Take turns choosing activities so you both get to do things you enjoy. Equality and balance matter.

In disagreements, work together to find solutions that both of you can accept. Perfect agreement isn’t realistic.

Be prepared to discuss and find a middle ground on matters such as chores, finances, and family time. Marriage involves give and take.

Never threaten divorce lightly or during normal marital struggles. Seek counseling first if needed.

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