What is Your Expectations on Marriage

images-30A student asked this question about marriage:

I’ve been trying to focus on “no expectations”. What about marriage?  If you’re trying to live life without expectations, how can you ever get married? Isn’t that expecting the person to stay with you? It’s expecting loyalty and devotion and sharing permanently. By getting married, you’re obligating the other person to care for you for the rest of their life.   That kind of obligation brings so much comfort… Expectation seemingly gives a person something solid to rely on and believe in. It’s hard to turn that down.

How can you have comfort and no expectations?

How can you feel safe in a marriage without expecting certain things?

Expectations:

The difference of expectation compared to reality is where couples discover the challenges of their marriage. This is a very common problem and it often takes years to discover the discrepancies between reality and internal expectations. For example, a person thinking they are marrying a good person person only to discover over time they are married to someone with a dark side.It’s easy to simplify what you think of marriage into a nice ideal cartoon in one’s mind.

“Married” individuals do act differently from when they were a single person, for many reasons. Often, after the marriage occurs, partners can release stories they were hiding behind.  People shift from being an “individual” to becoming the “couple” with all the social obligations that the marriage creates. A marriage mixes together the expectations of societies, friends & children. This creates a huge melting pot of contradicting expectations. It creates challenges that makes it hard to sort out your own proper path. This is a common problem when people from different cultures (or religions) marry. The different cultural / religious expectations from the marriage change the individuals so much that … both people can become unhappy.

What happens when you don’t drop your expectations of what marriage means? Then time erodes your relationship.

As you change, as your partner changes, what is required to maintain a healthy balanced relationship changes. The true source of most problems comes out from expectations of the marriage not changing with time. This ironically forms the anvil against which the relationship will break itself over time. Even worse are the situations where people stay in their marriage at all costs. These very expectations end up breaking people to the point where the marriage literally kills them from stress and unhappiness.

I have helped guide many people through the traps of false expectations that are often created in a marriage. If you want to have a relationship that truly lasts, drop expectations that wear you down. Instead change over time with your partner.