Headed down the aisle soon? You probably have some thoughts rolling around in your brain about being engaged and your expectations. Don’t worry! You aren’t alone.
Almost everyone comes to marriage with some pretty specific ideas about how things will be. These expectations might be based on what people have experienced in their own family (things they liked or didn’t like and don’t want to repeat), a romantic movie, a previous relationship… or even the Hallmark Channel.
Here’s the thing: Whether it’s how you plan to handle money, accepting support from family and in-laws, how often you will make love, being on time, handling conflict, career aspirations, helping with chores or cleanliness, if you don’t talk about your expectations ahead of time, there’s a good chance it could lead to some disappointing and frustrating moments in the future.
People often don’t voice their expectations when they’re engaged. Sometimes they fear the other person won’t live up to them.
If you do talk about them and your spouse-to-be doesn’t see these expectations as a big deal or doesn’t plan to change their approach to these issues, you may try to convince yourself that things will change once you have a ring on your finger and things are more final. Don’t let that idea fool you, though. Lots of studies indicate that the best time to look for behavior change is before the wedding, not after.
Unspoken expectations can silently kill relationships. Do yourself and your fiancé a favor: Be honest about what you expect. Just because your family did something a certain way doesn’t mean you necessarily have to do it the same way. It could be that while discussing what is important to you both, you realize your expectations aren’t realistic.
One thing you want to guard against is sacrificing who you are in the name of your relationship. If your faith is very important to you and you strongly expect your fiancé to one day share your faith values, realize that change is possible. But it could place a hefty load of tension on your relationship.
It’s totally possible that you and your fiancé have engaged expectations of each other that you don’t even realize you have. Taking the time to go through a premarital education experience either in person or online could help you both identify things you feel strongly about. It can also help you work through those issues before marriage. Talking about your expectations ahead of time can save you a lot of headaches and heartache down the road.