Every newly married couple has expectations. They expect to be happy, for example, endlessly passionate, and never argue. But their expectations are rarely met, usually because they were unrealistic in the first place.
Expecting everything to be wonderful implies that your partner is perfect and never does anything wrong. But no one is perfect, and you’ll inevitably fall out about many things.
So, the right expectation is that you’ll need to learn how to resolve your differences, deal with bad habits, anger and sulking. And figure out how to quickly become friends again after even the worst rows.
Life also always throws up surprises. And people grow and develop. So the right expectation is that there’ll always be adjustments to be made, and you’ll need to develop good negotiating skills.
And unfortunately, marriage doesn’t automatically make you happy. So you should expect that you’ll have to learn the skills you’ll need to be happy together. Which is why most of the couples who split up fail during their first two years. Before they’ve mastered those skills.
You should also let go of any expectations you may have about how a husband or wife ‘should’ behave, and instead work on building a partnership that’s right for you both. Expect to be open and honest with one another, because deception, however well intentioned, undermines even the best of relationships.
Learn how to share your thoughts, and to talk to each other about anything that’s bothering you.
Avoid competing with one another, and instead turn your competitiveness onto the outside world. Learn how to make decisions that are in the best interest of your relationship, rather than all about yourself.
And expect to work on your sex life, because that’s what really binds you together. Be adventurous lovers, and learn to talk openly about your needs and fantasies. Because if you’re always willing to please each other, then you’re both far less likely to stray.
Which sadly, does happen in the majority of marriages. And because society tells us that infidelity is so devastating, many satisfying relationships end over a meaningless affair. Most didn’t have to. Because infidelity would be far easier to deal with if our expectations were more realistic.
And we talked about how relationships really are, rather than some hopeful ideal. For example, did you know you need to constantly reassure each other? Because being faithful isn’t just not sleeping with someone else. It’s also continually re-affirming your love.
Accepting your partner for who they are, with all their faults, and constantly telling them just how much they mean to you.
Above all, the right expectations involve a subtle change of perspective. From the self centred single to the couple’s shared lives. A determination to solve anything that fate throws at you. A deep feeling that come what may, you’ll always be together. And as those expectations become a part of your lives together, you’ll achieve one of the greatest joys that it’s possible to have.