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Expectation vs. Reality

by Pamela Osse

As we grow and mature, our expectations of what our life is, solidify. We have expectations of our life, our career and what our marriage will be. The expectation of maybe a perfectly clean house all the time, the expectation that our significant other will help with the dishes, or the expectation that the love that you have for one another will never end.

Unfortunately, those expectations are oftentimes unrealistic. A spouse may have the expectation that dinner will be on the table each and every night when he arrives home, the kids are smiling and the house is completely clean. The reality is that his spouse has also worked all day, the kids are cranky, homework is being struggled through…and they are beat tired. No dinner is on the table and no groceries in the cupboard because there weren’t enough hours in the day to get to the market. This is an extreme example but those expectations we have for marriage and family can be very unrealistic. As someone’s reality begins and continues to fall short of their expectations is when problems occur. Instead of thinking “okay, well, dinner’s not started, so let’s order pizza, son feed the dog and we’ll finish homework later!” and coming to grips with the expectation being busted, anger at the failed expectation starts to simmer. This can lead to arguments and insults being tossed about.  As expectations continue to fail in a marriage, you just stop caring. You’ve been let down by your spouse – it’s all their fault that our marriage is ending and they haven’t held up their end of the bargain! But it’s YOUR expectation of what the marriage should be that’s ended.

How do you deal with failed expectations in a marriage? Change your expectations. Understand that we all go into marriage with unrealistic expectations because it’s ingrained in us that it’s going to be “so perfect!” Well, life isn’t perfect. As your marriage changes, so should your expectations of what that marriage is.  If you can’t do this, the failure of your marriage could be the result.