Should you expect the best marriage, with an intimate, deep, and romantic connection, where you both aim to please? Or should you plan for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if things turn out okay? Psychologists disagree if having high expectations will lead to a more satisfying marriage, or if it will just send you down the path of disappointment.
How do you know if your expectations are too high?
If you expect your marriage to be perfect, or have expectations for your marriage that you don’t know how to carry out, you may both end up feeling discouraged and disenchanted with marriage and each other.
James McNulty, a professor of psychology at Florida State University, conducted a study tracking the happiness of 135 couples for 4 years beginning from when they were newlyweds.
Expecting a lot can make a marriage more satisfying, the study finds, but if people can’t meet those expectations — whether for lack of time, effort, or social skills — the relationship will suffer.
[…] The trick, then, is to demand enough of the marriage but not too much, after the honeymoon glow has faded.
What are normal expectations in a marriage?
Normal expectations include respect, affection, loyalty, spending quality time together, and so on. It means that you both have to be aware of how you’re treating each other and continuously work on your side of the relationship. If you feel like you aren’t on the same track about what your marriage should look like or how you should be feeling, it’s time to have a conversation.
Can couples counseling help you?
Couples counseling may be right for you if you and your partner are struggling with communication or are disappointed by how your marriage has turned out. Couples counseling can help you take a realistic look at your marriage and figure out what you want your marriage to look like. You can learn how to communicate and understand each other, and together you can develop the tools you need to flourish and grow together in your relationship.