Marriage: Expectations Vs. Reality

As we are growing up, we are bombarded with images of what a “picture perfect” marriage looks like. From Disney fairytales, to Instagram “couple goals.”

Not many of us have been prepared for the realities of marriage, and what to expect.

I’m here to shed a little light.

You will have everything in common: from music, to t.v. shows, to types of food. If you don’t share the same interests, that must mean you’re not compatible.

Totally false. Let me tell you, my husbands music of choice is German rap (which I don’t understand). Does it effect the success of our marriage? Absolutely not! Many couples take years to find activities they both enjoy doing, and that is totally fine! The most important thing is to share core values, and, of course, enjoy your time together. That doesn’t mean joy can only come from the things you already do and like; a big part of being married is discovering new joys and developing new habits together. It’s okay (and healthy)  to do some things separately. Being married doesn’t mean you have to be attached at the hip. If you enjoy a morning run and your partner enjoys sleeping in, so what?

You will never be bored. You will laugh for no reason, have pillow fights, and spontaneous dance parties. Every waking minute with your partner should be a blast, right?

Wrong. Most of marriage is filled with mundane tasks like working, cleaning, paying bills etc. Maybe you’ll watch a Netflix show here and there...maybe.

You and your partner will be “#bodygoals” and get in amazing shape together.

The reality is, you still have to do all the things you had to do while you were single (work, school, clean etc.) and then some...maintaining a fitness regime takes serious effort, and you won’t always be in the same place with the same energy levels. Your schedules wont always align. And you may not enjoy the same form of exercise.

Your partner will take care of all of your emotional needs.

This is perhaps one of the most dangerous of all expectations. We often expect our partner to be everything all at once. A best friend, a therapist, a religious guide, a motivator etc. While the roles of being a partner are multifaceted, it is not fair to expect all of these things from one person. It’s important to maintain relationships with friends, family, colleagues, mentors etc. so that we don’t put such a heavy expectation on our partner. Your partner is a human, who will be struggling to balance certain aspects of their own lives (as are you). It is very normal that they can’t fix everything and be everyone for you.

You will hardly fight, and if you’re having disagreements often, you’re doing something wrong.

Blending two lives is no easy task, and it is normal to experience growing pains. Some periods of your marriage will be tougher than others, and may involve more disputes.  Don’t put more pressure on your marriage by thinking you aren’t supposed to fight. Fighting means you care, and can help defuse tension. It’s better to fight it out and try to resolve an issue than keep things tucked inside. If it gets really tough, seek professional help. But please, never think your marriage is flawed because you fight. It’s normal.

Hoda Abrahim