Tag Archive for: Marriage Problems

So, what do you do if you think your spouse’s friends are hurting your marriage? 

It’s essential to proceed with great care. Your goal is to voice your concern in a way that’s respectful to your spouse. How you approach the subject can move you toward resolution or, in the opposite direction, toward conflict. 

Proceeding with care means you need to ask yourself some crucial questions before talking with your spouse about it. 

What exactly am I seeing, hearing, and experiencing that makes me feel this way? 

  • Can I name something specific which makes me think my spouse’s friends are bringing harm to our relationship? 
  • What are my spouse’s friends’ marriages like?
  • Is this a new friend that concerns me?

Is what I’m seeing in my spouse’s friends hurting my spouse as a person? 

  • Have I seen this person have a negative impact on my spouse? 
  • Is it causing my spouse to be someone they aren’t? 
  • Do these friends care about my spouse’s well-being? 

Is there something going on within me (rather than my spouse) causing these negative feelings to be triggered? 

  • What are my own friendships like? Is there anything lacking that may influence how I’m feeling about my spouse’s friends? 
  • Am I taking care of myself? Am I trying to be my best self in my marriage? 

Is there something between my spouse and their friends going against what we stand for in our marriage? 

  • Do my spouse’s friends know how things work in our marriage? 
  • Do they openly support our marriage? 

Having a good, productive conversation with your spouse means you will need to consider the answers to some of these questions. The hope is for you to approach your spouse calmly and respectfully with your thoughts and feelings. Can you come to a common understanding of what is causing your sentiments and agree on how to move forward?

★ Here’s how to do that. 

Try to approach your spouse when neither of you is feeling stressed. It might help your spouse focus more on the conversation if you ask them to set aside a time to talk. 

Be specific with your spouse about what you’ve observed that concerns you. Use “I” statements to own your own feelings. People usually respond better when they don’t feel like they are being accused and put on trial. Approach the conversation with a calmpaced… voice.

This is the message you want to communicate: I’m concerned for you and our marriage because… [Avoid making blanket accusing statements like, “Your friends are ruining our marriage by doing such-and-such.”] Be sure to let your spouse know your ultimate goal is for your marriage to be as healthy as it can, and you don’t want anything to stand in the way of that. Acknowledge you realize how important it is for your spouse to have friends—but friends that are for you and your marriage.

This is important: Allow your spouse to speak about this subject. Naturally, they might be on the defensive; that’s okay. Simply hear them out and calmly reinforce your primary concern. 

The place you want to get to is the security that your marriage is no longer being threatened. So, you and your spouse need to come to an agreement as to how that can happen. 

  • Does a particular activity with friends need to be modified or stopped altogether?
  • Maybe time with friends needs to be limited?
  • Does my spouse need to have a conversation with their friends about what our marriage stands for?
  • Does my spouse need to distance herself from one of her friends?
  • Do I need to change something in my own mindset to help me feel better about my spouse’s friends? 
  • Do my spouse and I need to spend more time together? 

Friends are important. But they should never cause a problem for your marriage.

Take time to ask yourself the important questions and plan a calm, conversational approach. If needed, seek professional help to determine a solution, preferably involving both you and your spouse. Remember, these conversations aren’t always easy, and it might not all be settled in your first talk. Hard conversations, handled well, are well worth having for a stronger marriage.

How to Have More Meaningful Conversations With Your Spouse

What to Do When Your Spouse Lacks Empathy

My Friends Are Getting Divorced and It’s Affecting My Marriage

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Have you had to navigate this in your marriage? What suggestions do you have? Be sure to leave them in the comments section below!

5 Things You Should Have In Common With Your Spouse

Marriage can thrive even when you are different.

How much do I need to have in common with my spouse for our marriage to be healthy and happy? Do we need to like all the same things for this to work? 

These are valid questions faced by many engaged or newly-married couples. We all want to be compatible with our partner, we want to share interests and likes, but do we need to have everything in common? 

You should have some things in common with your spouse, but it doesn’t have to be everything. There is beauty in our differences. Marriage thrives even when we are different.

Here are some things you should have in common with your spouse:


It is vital to have some shared goals, such as family size and career aspirations. You don’t want to get three years into marriage to find out you have different plans for children. You also don’t want your marriage to suffer because one person desires to climb the corporate ladder while the other does not. It doesn’t mean you both need to be ambitious in your career, but you need to discuss those ambitions and have a common goal that addresses what you both want. The same goes for family goals.


Values are critically important as you are establishing your marriage. When you share common values such as honesty, loyalty, transparency, faith, etc., you have a foundation upon which to build your marriage. You don’t have to share all the same values, but you need to share core values. 

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously.

I’m gonna share a secret with you. Ready? Marriage is hard. Doing life with someone isn’t easy. Injecting humor into the relationship helps alleviate stress. Have a shared understanding of what humor is. Do you see humor as jokes, pranks, sarcasm, goofiness? Talk about what humor means to each of you and make sure you are on the same page. You don’t want one spouse’s humor to be insulting to the other. A fun marriage is a happy marriage.


Boundaries are crucial to your marriage, but what are boundaries? Think of a guardrail on the highway. Why is it there? To keep you out of the ditch. Boundaries work the same way. Do you both have the same boundaries on opposite-sex friends? This will be huge for your marriage. Talk about it now. Here is a resource for you: How to Talk to Your Spouse About Opposite-Sex Friends.

Friends and Family.

Friends and family are important. Have a conversation early about this. Do each of you continue to maintain all of your friendships and habits with friends? Do you come to an agreement about how often each of you hangs out with friends? Where does family fall in your marriage? Family is important, but the family you are building is more important. Agree on some common boundaries for friends and family that keep your marriage at the forefront.

Help! My Spouse and I Have Nothing in Common

We’re Total Opposites! Can Our Relationship Work?

5 Things To Do When You Feel Disconnected From Your Spouse

You and your partner aren’t going to have everything in common, and that’s okay. Relationships can thrive in our differences. Your marriage will be fuller when you both embrace what makes you unique. You should have some things in common with your spouse, talk about these, and lay the groundwork for a happy, healthy marriage.

For more marriage resources, check out our Marriage Shop.

5 Things You Don’t Need to Have in Common With Your Spouse

You can let your differences complement each other.

When I first started dating my husband 32 years ago (but who’s counting?), the first thing I noticed about him besides his legs was how different we were from each other

I was concerned we didn’t have many things in common. Would this be a stumbling block to our future marriage? 

Now, I see the benefits. I see how not acting the same, not thinking the same, interacting with others exactly the same, or even having a whole lot in common became a strength in our marriage, not a problem. The things we didn’t have in common caused us to respect each other and support each other better. I had to stop myself from continually thinking we had to have everything in common. I realized the words from Jerry Maguire were absolutely wrong. It’s not about seeking to complete each other, but learning to complement each other despite differences.

Here are some things you and your spouse DON’T need to have in common:

1. Personality

From the very beginning of our relationship, my husband and I were and are different. He liked Lakers’ Showtime of the ’80s while I was a fan of the Bad Boys of Detroit. I loved pro football, and he was a big college football fan. I am an extreme extrovert who loves being around many people. At the same time, he is much more comfortable around a small group of close friends. Neither one of us is right or wrong. Instead, we learned to respect and embrace our differences.

2. Common Interests and Activities

Many couples struggle with the idea that they must spend “all their time together.” Yes, you and your spouse need to spend intentional quality time together. You don’t need to spend every waking moment together or have all your interests and activities in common. While you are a part of a couple, it’s vital for you as an individual to grow and develop. The key is to support your spouse in their activities. I enjoy reading. My husband—not so much. It makes me feel loved and valued when he goes to a bookstore with me while I just wander around. Or he takes care of our family while I head to a bookstore. In both cases, he is demonstrating his care and support for me and my interests.

3. Family/Cultural Background

Although my husband and I come from the same racial & ethnic background, our families are very different. My family is composed of biological family and friends that become family. His family was basically made of his immediate family, aunts, uncles, and biologically-related cousins. It doesn’t matter if you come from a single-parent family with one child or a large family with several children. You could have been born in Georgia while your spouse is from Utah. As long as you recognize and appreciate what you each bring to your relationship, it will not suffer because of your cultural differences.

4. Political Beliefs

As a young adult, I watched James Carville and Mary Matalin work for 2 different presidential campaigns. I watched how they disagreed politically yet didn’t let it negatively affect their relationship. Political beliefs are deeply felt and long-standing. Allowing your spouse to hold their opinions, which differ from yours, causes us to create spaces of patience, understanding, and civility. 

5. Housekeeping and Organizational Skills

As someone who is organizationally challenged, I am grateful that my husband and I don’t have this in common. If we did, we might have ended up on “Hoarders.” (Not really…) For him, everything has a place. For me, as long as I can find it, I’m good. The key is to respect each other and not mandate your spouse to change to be exactly like you. Remember, it’s about complementing each other, not making a clone.

Help! My Spouse and I Have Nothing in Common

We’re Total Opposites! Can Our Relationship Work?

★ For a long time, I wanted him to act like me, like the same things I liked; be involved with the same activities. I thought it would make our relationship better if we liked ALL the same things. I now understand and respect our differences. The fact that we are not the same and see things differently makes us STRONGER. We lovingly and consistently challenge each other to see old things in a new and unique way. 

No matter where you are in your relationship, it’s vital to love and accept your spouse for who they are without spending all of your energy worrying you don’t have things in common.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Have you ever walked over a frozen pond and realized just how thin the ice was? I have. You quickly understand that you need to stepverycarefully

It’s the same when considering telling your friends and family about your marital problems. One wrong step can mean an icy plunge. It’s slippery, and it’s dangerous.

So should you or shouldn’t you? I wish I could tell you a definite “yes” or “no,” but it’s a complicated question. It depends on several things.

Before you unload your marital issues on someone, you need to ask yourself some essential questions: 

1. What is your ultimate goal? 

There are good reasons and not so good reasons to disclose the problems happening in your marriage to someone. Are you…

Seeking someone to tell you how you’re contributing to the problem? 

Looking for advice from an older, wiser married person who’s been through it? 

Looking for someone to point you toward a good marriage counselor? 

These can be good reasons. Make sure you are talking to someone you can trust.

Are you…

Just needing to vent and blow off steam? 

Looking for someone to agree that you are right and your spouse is wrong? 

Looking for permission to keep doing what you’ve been doing in your marriage? 

These usually aren’t great reasons. It can be counterproductive and hurt your spouse.

2. Who do you want to tell, and why? 

Good listeners know there are three sides to a story: your side, your spouse’s side, and what’s really going on. You don’t need a cheerleader. You need someone willing to listen carefully and be willing to call you out for the part you play.

On the other side of the coin, talking to someone who is naturally going to take your side, like your mother or best friend, isn’t going to help your situation. You’re just making enemies for your spouse. Think about that.

Even worse, let’s say you just want to vent your dirty marriage laundry, and you choose, say, your mother. When the rant is over, you might feel better and move on. But guess who isn’t moving on? That’s right: Mom. This is going to make the next family gathering very awkward. 

Consider talking to someone distant enough to be neutral and objective—and who will call you out when necessary and remind you of your core values and goals. 

3. What are the possible outcomes that could come from telling someone? 

Sure, you might feel better if you vent. But at what price? Will your friend or family member see your spouse in a positive or negative light?

If you tell someone, will the news about your marital problems spread among the family or the friend circle? Could your spouse end up feeling hurt from this? Would you say the same things about your marriage or your spouse if they were standing with you?

4. Are you having a conversation with someone that you should have with your spouse?

Often, we have conversations with other people that we haven’t even had with our spouse. If you haven’t engaged with your spouse to work toward solutions and growth, it’s unfair to do your marriage work with someone else. Do your relationship work with your spouse.

Related: How To Tell If Someone Is Trustworthy

It’s one thing to seek out encouragement and accountability. We need people in our lives who help us recalibrate and refocus. It’s definitely wise to learn from marriage veterans. Be discerning about what you share about your marriage and with whom.

Complaining to people about your spouse or running them down is always out of line.

I know you want to do what’s healthy for your marriage. You want to work through the problems. Give yourself 48 hours to gain a sense of calm and honestly answer the above questions for yourself before you make a decision to tell friends or family about your marital problems. Walk across the thin ice toward your spouse. Honor them with your words no matter who you are talking to. Rule of Thumb: If it’s not constructive, it’s probably destructive.


How to Find Good Relationship Advice

STAYING TOGETHER: Resist The Urge To Trash Husbands

☆ Have questions about this article? Post them in the comment section below!

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

How to Stay Motivated During Marriage Challenges

Remember these things when you want to give up.

There are days you wake up and have no motivation to go to work. Times when you don’t feel like seeing your in-laws and weekends and there’s no desire to get out of the bed anytime between Friday evening and Monday morning. However, when the lack of motivation creeps into marriage and you begin struggling to even want to work through marital challenges, it’s time to sound the alarm.

Incessant arguing. Constantly feeling hurt and empty. Money issues. The never-ending feeling of being lonely. It can feel like the easy answer is to stop trying

Is it unusual to get to a place in your marriage where you want to give up? 

marriage challenges

I would’ve answered this question with a loud “NO WAY” when I first got married, but then I talked to a couple who’d been married for over 40 years. I asked a simple question: “Did you ever want to give up on your marriage?

They looked at me like I was crazy and said “Are you kidding me? Yes!” Then, they shared some dark moments in their marriage. Moments of betrayal of trust and times of extreme disconnect. They admitted there were times when they just weren’t sure. But, they also said, “We’re glad we stuck in there because we wouldn’t trade these 40 years for anything.”

How’d they do it? How did they stay motivated when they were experiencing difficult marital challenges? The couple told me their secret: “You just have to remember.”

Remember what exactly?

Remember your why.

Why’d you get married in the first place? People marry for several different reasons: love, kids, a passion for another, to have companionship. Your why doesn’t have to match anyone else’s why. The neverending nature of your why can help you outlast the temporary challenges you face in marriage.

Remember your story.

Pictures. Videos. Experiences. Memories mean little without the story attached to them. You look at them to remember the story. It connects you with the positive energy captured during the moment that’s worth remembering. Let that energy motivate you to keep going. Your story helps you remember what you’ve built together. 

It isn’t just about reliving your past. It’s about guiding and maintaining your perception of your spouse and your marriage. It is about truly seeing the person you’re with. It’s about being reminded of who you are and even how you’ve evolved over the years. 

Remember to never stop connecting.

Keep searching for better ways to communicate, be playful, and spend quality time with one another. Regardless of how challenging marriage gets, to stop communicating is never the answer. Connecting in hard conversations, through disappointments, and in the midst of hurt is better than not communicating at all. Anytime you stop talking, you’ll slowly feel the wedge between the two of you grow bigger. 

Remember you’re not alone.

Hearing a couple who had been married for 40 years share some of their darkest moments was motivational for my own marriage. They were proud to have made it 40 years, and I could sense they felt their life was better for it. Since then, I’ve learned many couples, if not most couples, have gone through difficult moments where they felt like giving up was really the best option on the table. So, when you find yourself hurting and questioning if it’s worth it to hang on, reach out to other couples who have walked the road before you and made it to the other side in one piece. Connecting with other healthy couples who are willing to be honest and real can inspire you to stay focused on your marriage when it appears hopeless. Also, a good marriage counselor can help you work through some of the toughest marriage challenges.

Remember yourself.

Sometimes we get so focused on what our spouse is or isn’t doing we lose sight of ourselves. Research shows when a person has a negative perception of work, family, themselves, and just life in general, they are more likely to be unhappy in their relationships. Continue to grow and practice good self-care. It may help you to get a fresh perspective that can help you thrive in the midst of some of the most difficult times.

When you remember these things, you’ll realize no matter how big the problems may seem, your commitment to each other is bigger. The urge to stop trying is real. But, you have everything you need in your memory bank to fight the urge to quit and help your brain to keep moving forward. The darkest part of a cave is right before you see the light. Focus on using the tools you have to get to the light and stop the darkness from making you a permanent resident.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

5 Common Problems in Marriage

These solutions can help you deal with the problems head-on.

There are lots of things that can make your marriage great. Inevitably, your marriage will run into some bumps and cracks in the road that can cause problems. Those problems don’t have to become craters in your journey. Awareness of common marital issues can help you avoid many of them. It can also prepare you to work through them when they seep into your marriage. Here are some of the most common problems couples experience in marriage. 

1. Unspoken Expectations

You know the disappointment you feel when your spouse didn’t do something you fully expected them to do. You were coming home late from work and you expected him to have dinner on the table. Instead, there’s no dinner. He expected you to spend all your recreation time with him, yet you made plans with your girlfriends on Saturday night. But the catch is, these expectations were never spoken. They were just running through your mind. 

Unspoken expectations are a setup for disappointment. We often don’t realize we have them until they aren’t met. We may expect our spouse to be able to anticipate our every need or know the keys to “making us happy.” They’ve come from our experiences, history, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes they’re informed by what we see through entertainment, social media, or other “seemingly” happy couples. We have expectations about parenting, household responsibilities, money, dealing with in-laws, sex, work, etc. 

They become problems when we don’t talk about them. Write them down. Have conversations about them. Communicating about them helps prevent disappointment, frustration, and hurt. It will help you have realistic expectations that will bring you closer together.

2. Poor Communication

If you hear a couple discussing a problem they’re having in their marriage, you can almost guarantee there’s some miscommunication around the issues. What he is saying is not what she is hearing. And what she is saying is not what he is hearing. People hear things differently. Examples of poor communication that have become common in some marriages include: the silent treatment, criticism, listening only to respond, expecting your spouse to read your mind, and talking over one another. Poor communication or lack of communication can lead couples to have negative perceptions of their spouse purely based on a misunderstanding

Knowing the communication traps that are easy to fall into is half the battle. Learning to hear, communicate, and understand one another’s thoughts, emotions, and desires can turn communication into a strength in your marriage.

3. Money

It’s been said many times that if a couple can learn how to work together regarding money, then they’ll be able to work through anything. Research tells us that money is the number one thing that couples argue about. Your spending habits reflect your values. Your values are important to you, just as your spouse’s values are important to them. It’s normally not the money itself that causes the issues, though. It’s coming into agreement on what to do with the money that causes arguments and disagreements. 

Secret bank accounts and wild spending habits can destroy a marriage. Openly communicating with each other about future plans, necessary purchases, and your goals can help the two of you be on the same page regarding money matters. Working together regarding how you manage your money can set you up to overcome any issue you face in your marriage.

4. Technology and Social Media

With the rise of employees working from home and the increased integration of technology in every facet of our lives, couples are in the same bed at night during the time which used to be designated for pillow talk—but they’re not talking. Instead, they’re connecting with old friends, looking at videos, shopping, playing video games, surfing the net, and generally putting their attention toward their screen instead of their partner. It’s distracting couples from loving one another and causing others to compare their relationships to what they see on social media.

Setting aside screen-free time that allows the two of you time to focus on each other will help both of you feel valued within your marriage. Be intentional about nurturing your relationship and appreciating what makes your relationship satisfying. 

5. Intimacy

When couples speak different intimacy languages and aren’t able to understand one another, it’s a recipe for marital conflict. Whether it’s understanding each other’s needs for connection and vulnerability, or romance and sex, if you don’t know what arouses your partner, then you run the risk of living with a big intimacy void in the marriage.

Open conversation to discuss what makes each of you feel the most connected. Periodically doing marital checkups to make sure you’re staying connected can strengthen your marital intimacy

None of these problems have to destroy your marriage. Working together to deal with problems in marriage will create a bond and security that gives you the confidence that your marriage can make it through anything. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. Having other healthy married couples in your lives you can talk to or seeing a good marriage counselor can help you overcome problems that are very difficult for the two of you to solve together. Problems don’t have to be something that you dread. Instead, they can be opportunities to strengthen your relationship and bring positive growth.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Married. You and your spouse talk every day and you sleep in the same bed. You share bills and responsibilities. Of course, you have sex. You do all the things married couples do. Yet you so often feel unheard and unknown by your spouse.

You don’t feel like your spouse knows your hurts and pains. They’re unaware of what causes you to be fearful or insecure. When the two of you talk about personal or intimate matters, you don’t feel like your spouse gets you even though you shared exactly what you were thinking and feeling. 

You’ve made comments to express your feelings that they didn’t get. Your conversations are not fulfilling. It’s made your sex life one-sided because you don’t feel known or heard so you’re not as into giving yourself to your spouse in that way. And you’re not sure if they notice or even care.

How does this happen?

One possible explanation is your spouse isn’t curious about you anymore. Curiosity pushes someone to want to know all the complexities of their spouse’s thoughts, personality, dreams, and feelings. It drives you to understand how past experiences affect your spouse in the present. 

Curiosity can stop for several reasons: 

  1. Your spouse believes they know all the important things there are to know about you. 
  2. The busyness of life has subconsciously shifted the priorities. 
  3. Your spouse has become more focused on themself.
  4. Complacency in the relationship and in their own personal growth.

As a result, spouses often don’t hear their partner’s cries to be heard. They miss the snarky comments, make assumptions about the marital silence, and overlook opportunities presented to show they hear and know you. You may be evolving or even changing, but your spouse still speaks to you based on how you thought when the two of you first got together.

What can you do about it?

Yes, you have to talk about it. The struggle of letting your partner know you’re feeling unheard and unknown is getting them to hear from you. Ironic, right? This is a conversation that my wife and I had for years before I finally heard her. Did I think I’d heard her before? Of course, I did! I’d listened to what she said and tried to treat her based on the words she said. However, she knew I didn’t hear her because I didn’t become genuinely curious about her. I was still interacting with her as if she hadn’t grown or evolved since we first met. Consequently, I was missing out on getting to really know her and her new ideas, dreams, and desires.

You’ve probably tried many times to get your spouse to really hear and know you. All to no avail.

Here are the keys to being truly heard by your spouse. 

  • Gentleness. Getting louder, forceful, or playing the blame game is not the way to get heard. Marriage therapist and researcher John Gottman has coined the phrase, “Gentle Start-Up.” You can attack your spouse with insults or approach your spouse with gentleness. It hurts to be married and feel unknown, but to approach your spouse with anger and rage is more likely to cause defensiveness than to birth helpful conversation. 
  • Be Direct. Don’t Hide Your Emotion. Your spouse does need to see your emotions in a healthy way. Nothing violent, abusive, or manipulative. Hurt, neglect, sadness, and loneliness are all real emotions that can help your partner understand the gravity of the problem.
  • Perception. Approaching your spouse from the perspective that they do want to make you happy. They love you and want your marriage to work. Battling the tension between feeling like your spouse is not interested in you and knowing they love you and want you happy can be tough, but it is doable. 
  • Clarity. What makes you feel heard and known? When do you feel lonely within your marriage? It may take several conversations to communicate all that’s on your heart and even more for your spouse to get it. Repetition from a gentle spirit is helpful.

Don’t Give Up.

If the two of you are both well-intentioned and you both want the marriage to work, then keep pressing forward. Talking to other couples who have experienced similar struggles can be encouraging. Talking to a marriage counselor may be empowering. I’ve heard many spouses say that after so many years, “My spouse finally gets me!” When that happens, you go from the feeling of being unnoticed and unknown to experiencing levels of connectedness and intimacy that’s very difficult to find outside of a committed relationship. A marriage where you both feel heard and known is a relationship that offers the security and comfort which brings peace to the soul.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Do you have realistic expectations for your marriage? Fast forward to being married. You text your spouse about how long your day is and how you’ll be home late. They respond saying they actually got to go home early and can’t wait until you get home. 

You think to yourself, “Ah, so glad they’re getting home early, now they can get started on dinner and some of the dishes that have piled up.” 

You walk in the door and let out a big sigh with the clank of your keys on the key tray and just as you’re about to say “I love you. How was your day?” you see the dishes still in the sink and the second thing your spouse says after “Hey!” is “What’s for dinner?

I imagine you’re frustrated at this point. Your day was long and coming home to more things to do and no time to relax was not how you pictured the night going. However, did your spouse know your expectation was for them to do those things? Normally you take care of the dishes and dinner! 

No one can meet an expectation they don’t know is there.

Unrealistic expectations are also unspoken expectations. If you and your spouse hadn’t talked about what you expect each other to do when one spouse gets home late, then it’s unrealistic to believe they would know what you want. 

When you have unspoken expectations or aren’t willing to meet halfway, there’s no chance for either you or your soon-to-be spouse to win. What seems to be a very realistic expectation to you is very unrealistic to them because there’s been a lack of communication. You run the risk of resentment and disappointment when you judge your spouse on expectations they can’t meet or didn’t know existed in the first place. 

Common Unrealistic Expectations:

Your partner is responsible for your happiness.

Your husband/wife will definitely play a role in your happiness, but they can’t be the only source. Think about things that make you happy and things that make your spouse happy. Are they all the same? Probably not. They can be your everything without being everything for you. You, like them, are human. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll fall short, and ultimately, that’s okay if you handle it in a healthy way. 

Your spouse will anticipate what you want and all of your needs since you’re married now.

As amazing as that would be, being married doesn’t make you or them a mind reader. Sorry if this is a bummer for you! I’m definitely guilty of this. I often think… “Well, since my husband knows me more intimately than anyone else and since we’ve been together so long, he’ll do things without me asking. He’s just that aware. That loving. That good.” As time and experts will tell, the only way my husband can truly know what I need is by me talking to him about it. It doesn’t make his actions any less genuine because he didn’t come to the conclusion on his own (another unrealistic expectation I held when we were dating). Instead it gives him the opportunity to love and care for me in the way I specifically want and need.

The way you approach an expectation is the only right way.

If we’re honest, being right feels good, and there’s a comfort in doing things your way instead of someone else’s. However, there’s a time to set aside the “right way” if it means you get to a resolution. Choose your battles. If you expect your spouse to do the dishes, then putting the bowls on the bottom rack instead of the top rack like you do needs to be okay. Is the job still getting done? In short, yes! 

You will handle conflict the same way.

You two have to come to an agreement together on how you will handle/manage conflict. If one of you needs space and the other needs to talk it out immediately, find a compromise that benefits both of you, like a timeout, and choose a time to talk about it a little bit later. Or, if your spouse feels like something needs to be said in the moment, be willing to listen first and then take a timeout. It’s important to voice your expectations so the health of your marriage doesn’t suffer on the account of unspoken words!

A Few Realistic Expectations:

  • Communicate well and often; talk about how you’re feeling on a regular basis.
  • Speak to each other with kindness, no matter what.
  • Show respect to each other in every situation.
  • Pursue each other daily.
  • Say “I love you” every chance you get.
  • Give your best effort at all times, and know this looks different depending on the week!

On your wedding day, you’ll vow to go above and beyond for each other, love one another wholeheartedly (flaws and all), and support each during all of the “for better or for worse” times. Remember, you’re starting your marriage with vows to meet halfway and sacrifice your preferences. Don’t let unrealistic expectations keep your marriage from being the wonderful relationship it has the potential to be.

Here are some blogs I think you might find helpful as well:

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***