5 Expectations Marriage Doesn't Meet

The fantasy of marriage looks a lot different from reality. Here's a wake-up call.

Marriage is like a tube of toothpaste: You get the best results when you start squeezing at the bottom. (Insert your own marital hanky-panky joke here.) The most successful marriages start with a solid foundation. That foundation is built on many things—mutual interests, shared beliefs, selflessness and, of course, love—but the biggest problem going into many marriages is that those basics are often held back by unrealistic expectations.

All of us know someone for whom marriage didn't work out. We've all heard the statistics. First marriages have a failure rate of more than 40 percent. Second marriages end in divorce 60 percent of the time. This is particularly true of the generation whose parents married (and subsequently divorced) in the 1970s.

We think we know what marriage is because we've seen it on TV. It's Monica and Chandler, all candles and sex and witty banter. It's the end-of-the-day slow dancing of Cliff and Claire Huxtable. It's the tuxedos and pigtailed flower girls and white chiffon spectacle of The Bachelorette on ABC. Then, when everything doesn't turn out exactly as we dreamed, we look for an out, blame it on irreconcilable differences and scrap the covenant.

The differences aren't the problem, though; our irreconcilable expectations are. Let's look, then, at some of those predetermined ideas and dump marriage out of its box. Here's something you should know before you say “I Do”: not what marriage is, but five things it isn't.

1. It isn't a cure for loneliness.

In a society where we're plugged in 24 hours a day, where "community" is more often used to describe your Facebook friends than an actual neighborhood, people long to connect intimately with someone.

We see couples everywhere—in restaurants, on TV, on the bus or train or sidewalks on the way to work—and feel like something is missing in our lives if we're alone. As humans, we have an innate need to belong, and we expect a spouse to provide that sense of acceptance and intimacy and comfort. We're Jerry Maguire looking for a soul mate, someone to whom we can say, "You complete me."

Best case scenario, that's what a good marriage will provide. But I know couples in loving relationships who remain lonely. Why? After all, they've found a perfect mate who has taken great strides toward fulfilling their need for intimacy. But that's a heavy load for one person to bear, despite the stories Cameron Crowe tells. Lonely single people become lonely married people. If your goal in marriage is to satisfy your need to belong, your next stop may be heartbreak.

2. It isn't an escape from boredom.

In 1991, U.S. News and World Report reported that half of U.S. workers said the reason they have a job—aside from needing to earn a living—was to keep from being bored. What does this have to do with marriage? Plenty. Some couples get married to shake off boredom. Life becomes dull, and it's easy to convince yourself that a serious relationship will make the day more bearable. It's something else to do, the next step after graduating college and getting a job and exploring the dating scene. When you get married, you expect built-in happiness. Automatic entertainment. Regular conversation. At least you'll have someone to watch TV with.

Unfortunately, this fails to account for the true cause of boredom, which isn't necessarily an external lack of stimulus, but rather an internal one. You're not bored because you've seen every episode of The Real World: New Orleans 30 times. You're bored because you can't come up with something better to do after watching it the first time. It's not my fault you're bored, nor is it MTV's fault. It's yours.

Getting married in order to generate a little excitement in your life is a terrible motivation. Why? Because once the merry-go-round stops—once the novelty wears out—you'll immediately start looking for the next ride.

3. It isn't a rowdy sex romp.

As the old experiment goes, put a penny in a jar for every time you have sex during the first year of marriage. Then, beginning at the start of your second year, take a penny out every time you do the horizontal two-step. Chances are, a couple of years later, you'll still be pulling pennies.

Does the sex stop after 12 months of good lovin'? No. Not by any means. But is every night a page out of the Karma Sutra? Nope. Despite what guys think, your wife won't always want to wear that see-through teddy. Elastic and lace just aren't that comfortable in some places. And ladies? Keeping the romance alive is hard work for us guys. Sometimes we just want to watch SportsCenter.

Still, with communication and sensitivity, sex can (and should) remain a vital part of marriage. It's the ultimate bonding activity for a couple to share. But remember, it's not the only activity. Don't expect marriage to be a 50-year honeymoon of libido and lipstick.

4. It isn't a means to a makeover.

How many times have you heard this? "He's not really interested in the stuff I like to do, but that'll change once we get married." Very few marriages that launch from that pad end up happily ever after.

If there's anything you should know about marriage, it's this: Saying "I do" may change your legal relationship, but it doesn't change your character. Don't enter a marriage expecting to remake your husband or wife into someone else. You can't. People have baggage, stuff they've wheeled around behind them since childhood. It's been with us so long, very few have the willpower to drop it before entering the wedding chapel. The flaws go with you.

Don't marry someone for who they might become. Marry them for who they are right now.

5. It isn't an easy transition.

There's a reason romantic movies end, rather than begin, with a wedding. It's because that's when the hard stuff starts. For anyone who's lived on their own for any length of time, the space between singleness and marriage is a wide one. It's a difficult transition for many.

"I wasn't ready for all the changes," a friend of mine once told me about his first few months of marriage. "I could deal with moving into her place and giving up my furniture—it was pretty much crap anyway. But what surprised me was having to deal with her emotions. When you're dating, you always see her best face. Once you get married, you see everything."

Women don't have it any easier. Many secretly wince at the notion of placing their fate alongside that of another, worrying that the role of wife might eat into their sense of individuality.

There's no way around making these adjustments. In order for the marriage to last more than a week or two, you'll have to find a way to cope. Don't be taken by surprise; expect a few hiccups going in.

Let me get a head start by ending with this disclaimer. We've been discussing what marriage is not, but here's what marriage is: Marriage is wonderful. There is no better way to make it through life than with a partner who loves you despite your morning breath, despite your stinky Converse All-Stars and despite your failure to clean coffee stains. Marriage is deeply satisfying, incredibly fulfilling and loads of fun. It makes the harsh edges of life a little softer. It brings joy and hope and laughter. But it's not easy, and it's not something to rush into without thinking.

So: Know the benefits. Know the challenges. Know your potential mate. Get your expectations right. Then, jump in with both feet. You're gonna like it.

Jason Boyett is a blogger and author, most recently of O Me of Little Faith (Zondervan). This article was adapted from The Pocket Guide to Adulthood (Relevant Books).

Top Comments

Zion Shabazz Eric Larkin

2

Zion Shabazz Eric Larkin commented…

My marriage has been all 5 of the things above...am I doing something wrong?

Michael Lettner

43

Michael Lettner commented…

This is a great article for we all bring expectations into marriage and most are wrong. It doesn't help with looking how Hollywood portrays "falling in love" and even many Christians saying that things will change once you get married. It is incredible being married, but it is also a lot harder than you think it is. It will make you realize how selfish you are (kids do that even more). Remember that love isn't a feeling or an emotion, but a choice and an action. Choose to fight for your marriage.

61 Comments

Ramar Rabel

3

Ramar Rabel commented…

Greetings to everyone reading this testimony i Met a Powerful Spell caster and Psychic from USA by name Dr UZOYA, He is Real, Honest and Genuine.. He helped me get my lover back, there is no bad or negative effect.The Psychic uses white Magic and he helped me get my Lover back, it worked in 2 days.. My lover came back to me, apologized for leaving and now we are back together and as happy as ever… I will encourage and recommend anyone to contact the spell caster and ask him for help.. He does all kinds of spells asides love spells. just tell him your situation and he will help you… you can email him directly on [driraborspellcaster@gmail.com] or check him directly on his website at https://driraborspellcaste.wixsite.com/spell-caster or call +13019098775 he is the answer to your problem..

ashley

2

ashley commented…

My name is Ashley Thomas and I base in USA…“My life is back!!! After almost a year of Broken Relationship, my girlfriend left me with a broken heart. I felt like my life was about to end i almost committed suicide,i was emotionally down for a very long time. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr Uzor, which i met online.On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet,I came across a lot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back,Ex Husband Pregnancy,Cure Cancer,HIV AIDS,And other Sickness,some testified that he can cast a spell to stop Divorce and so on. i also come across one particular testimony,it was about a man called Luke John, he testified about how he brought back his Ex lover in less than 48hours, and at the end of his testimony he dropped Dr Uzor’s E-mail address , After reading all these,I decided to give it a try. I contacted him and explained my problem to him, and he assured me that i will get my girlfriend back in the next 48hours.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do,Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my girlfriend who didn’t call me for the past (11 Months),gave me a call in just 2 days, my girlfriend came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before. Dr Uzor is really a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve all your problems for you. Try anytime, he is the answer to your problems. Here’s his Email contact:uzorspelltemple@gmail.com) or visit his website//:www.uzorspelltemple.webs.com

Jessica Allen

15

Jessica Allen commented…

I am Jessica by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this great spell caster on this email address azaspellcaster@gmail.com ,have help a woman to get back her husband, i emailed him too and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 24 hours that i will have my husband back. i believed him because i have no other choice and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now. happy with my husband. Thanks to Dr Aza. His email: azaspellcaster@gmail.com or whatsApp him on his telephone number +2348107155060 you can contact him on his web http://azaspellcaster.wixsite.com/spell-caster

ashley

2

ashley commented…

My name is Ashley Thomas and I base in USA…“My life is back!!! After almost a year of Broken Relationship, my girlfriend left me with a broken heart. I felt like my life was about to end i almost committed suicide,i was emotionally down for a very long time. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr Uzor, which i met online.On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet,I came across a lot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back,Ex Husband Pregnancy,Cure Cancer,HIV AIDS,And other Sickness,some testified that he can cast a spell to stop Divorce and so on. i also come across one particular testimony,it was about a man called Luke John, he testified about how he brought back his Ex lover in less than 48hours, and at the end of his testimony he dropped Dr Uzor’s E-mail address , After reading all these,I decided to give it a try. I contacted him and explained my problem to him, and he assured me that i will get my girlfriend back in the next 48hours.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do,Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my girlfriend who didn’t call me for the past (11 Months),gave me a call in just 2 days, my girlfriend came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before. Dr Uzor is really a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man. If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve all your problems for you. Try anytime, he is the answer to your problems. Here’s his Email contact:uzorspelltemple@gmail.com) or visit his website//:www.uzorspelltemple.webs.com

Barbara Jarvis

1

Barbara Jarvis commented…

OMG!! This is certainly a shocking and a genuine Testimony..I visited a forum here on the Internet on the 20TH OF January 2015, And i saw a marvelous testimony of this powerful and great spell caster called Dr, FRED on the forum..I never believed it, because i never heard of anything about magic before.. Not a soul would have been able to influence me about magical spells, not until Dr,FRED did it for me and restored my marriage of 8 years back to me and brought my spouse back to me in the same 24 hours just as i read on the Internet..i was truly astonished and shocked when my husband knelt down begging for forgiveness and for me to accept him back.. I am really short of expressions, and i don't know how much to convey my appreciation to you Dr, FRED you are a God sent to me and my entire family.. And now i am a joyful woman once again.. here is his email address; geniusspells@outlook.com OR call him directly on his phone number +13477733416.

Please log in or register to comment

Log In