Unmet expectations are probably the biggest cause of frustration in marriage. When expectations are constantly being dashed, we at first become disappointed, later discouraged and finally disillusioned. We can end up believing that it is impossible for our partner to make us happy or perhaps that we were not meant for each other. When we feel this kind of disappointment and discouragement in our relationship it is important to stop and take a look at our expectations. We could probably benefit from considering some of the relationship myths surrounding marriage and taking time to evaluate whether or not our expectations are realistic.
Exploding some of the relationship myths surrounding marriage could lead to accepting more realistic expectations. Perhaps we would set ourselves up for satisfaction rather than disappointment. The following are relationship myths that can lead to frustration in marriage and the corresponding realities:
1. Myth: A “good” marriage will always be romantic.
There will be ups and down. Reality sometimes gets in the way of romantic feelings. There will be times when you do not feel very in love, if at those times you choose to behave lovingly, the loving feelings will return. Love is a verb; action is required.
2. Myth: Feeling or expressing jealousy shows that we care and love each other.
Jealousy reveals insecurities rather than love.
3. Myth: Marriage will make me happy.
True happiness comes from within; no one can make you happy. Happiness is a choice.
4. Myth: If we really love each other, nothing else will matter.
Marriage needs nurturing. Little daily interactions are the big things in relationships. Treating each other with love and respect at all times is vital.
5. Myth: My partner should intuitively know my needs; if I have to ask it does not count.
Mind reading is impossible. Give yourself permission to ask for what you want. At the same time recognize that your partner may not be able to or willing to give you everything that you ask for and that is okay. Recognize that the ultimate responsibility for meeting your own needs belongs to you.
6. Myth: Conflict means that we do not love each other.
Conflict is inevitable, but it does not have to damage your relationship. Learn to listen to each other first, to disagree agreeably and to fight fair. Conflict is not the problem, the problem comes from how you handle the conflict.
7. Myth: Men and women get over conflict in the same way.
Women tend to be more concerned with analyzing the state of their relationships and will often take longer to feel that a conflict has been resolved. They frequently cannot release a conflict until it has been talked through. Men are better at compartmentalizing and will seldom bring up a conflict after the fact, to talk it through.
8. Myth: Once trust is broken, we can never trust again.
It takes time and effort to rebuild trust. It require patience and commitment to spend the time necessary to rebuild trust, but it is entirely possible when both partners are willing.
9. Myth: We are not getting along, having a baby will make things better.
Having a child will bring more stress to an already stressed relationship. Having children gives parents an opportunity to stretch and grow themselves, sometimes a painful process.
10. Myth: To have a good relationship we need to frequently talk about issues and problems.
Being problem focused will tend to lead to seeing more and more problems. It is important to communicate about issues and concerns; however it is far more important to talk frequently about what is going right in the relationship.
We can avoid unnecessary frustrations by examining our expectations and by bringing our expectation more in line with reality. When we let go of the myths we free ourselves of those unrealistic expectations and the resulting disappointments and frustrations.