As people grow up and view married couple’s relationships, they develop beliefs about married life. These lead to the development about expectations of marriage. These expectations and beliefs can impact how we behave and react during the marriage.
Someone who grew up seeing happy, healthy relationships all around may expect that marriage life creates happiness. If the person’s parents never seemed to fight and always talked about how great the marriage was, the child may grow up thinking that married people are always happy. This can lead to an unrealistic expectation that married life will bring joy and happiness all the time.
Someone else who grows up seeing infidelity, anger, and divorce, may believe that married life brings heartache and pain. If that person decides to get married, he may expect his wife to cheat or may anticipate that divorce is inevitable. A person with such beliefs may not put in much effort and may behave in ways that eventually sabotage the marriage.
Expectations about roles within the marriage may also create some issues. A woman who expects that her husband will be handy enough to fix common household problems may be disappointed when she learns that he prefers to pay a professional. A husband who expects his wife will enjoy cooking large family dinners may be upset when she prefers to dine out.
Everyone goes into a marriage with expectations about what married life will be like. For some people, marriage will meet or exceed these expectations. For others, when marriage does not live up to their expectations, the relationship can feel like a failure. It is important to recognize the expectations you have and to examine how you respond to these expectations.
Your response to these expectations makes a big difference in the future of the relationship. Grief is a normal reaction when expectations are not met. It is, however, important to move through grief-related issues in order to make your relationship the best it can be. Setting new realistic expectations becomes part of the process after letting go of previous expectations of what married life would be like.