Marriage & Wedding Information

Faulty Expectations: 4 Essential Don'ts

The more realistic you are as you prepare for marriage, the more likely you are to have a successful one. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to give serious consideration to your expectations of your fiancÚ. Are they realistic? Are they fair?

Far too many couples enter marriage with unrealistic expectations of the marriage and of each other. In more marriages than we would choose to believe, couples inability to meet the other's expectations resulted in the marriage's premature demise.

Here are 4 don'ts that if adhered to will avert a lot of discord and emotional turmoil in the marriage and help to make your marriage a satisfying one.

1) Don't expect your partner to be able to read your mind. It is unfair, unrealistic and nescient. Some people get an attitude and break marital harmony because they did not get the "gift" they expected or wanted, yet they did not communicate this to their spouse. Our minds are too complex and changing for anyone to know what we are thinking. TELL your partner what you want or be open to accepting whatever is given you in the spirit in which it is given. Of course, this is not only in regards to the material but to behaviors as well. Let your partner know what your expectations are. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

2) Don't think you are going to have a "perfect" marriage. To do so is to set yourself up for an enormous let-down. There is no such thing. How can anyone expect a perfect marriage when there is no perfect person? You are as imperfect as your intended wife or husband. If a person was inane enough to try to do everything you wanted them to do and behave exactly as you dictated, you would still have an imperfect marriage and one does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why.

3) Don't believe your partner can make you happy. Come on now. Wake up and smell the coffee. No one has the power to make us happy. This is something we can only do for ourselves and it is a choice. For example, let's say your new husband/wife decided to cook a special meal for you with all the trimmings. You are both surprised and delighted. Now, did he/she make you happy? NO. You made yourself happy. How? In recognizing his/her thoughtfulness in going through the trouble of creating this meal, you chose to appreciate what was done for you which had a positive affect and you felt "happy." Take the same scenario only this time you are displeased. You don't like what was cooked and think your spouse should have "known" this and you choose to display an attitude of disapproval. Negative feelings are evoked and what was intended to be pleasant turns ugly. Did your spouse make you unhappy? NO. You made yourself unhappy. How? By chosing to be non-appreciative and negative in your thinking which resulted in a negative affect, "unhappiness or displeasure." In other words, how each individual choose to interpret events, behaviors, communications determines how each individual will "feel". Negative feelings cannot be produced by positive thoughts.

4) Don't be on police stake-out patrol. No human wants to feel they are being watched 24/7 or need to give an account for every place they go or justify for everything they do. Nor do they want you following them like a shadow. No couple want their partner with them all the time. We all need space to grow, space to share with others, space to be alone. Don't expect your partner to want to do everything with you. If you have trust issues, deal with it BEFORE you say "I Do."

Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, will be available in July.

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