Getting married? Manage your expectations

“I do.” Uttered with quivering voice,  teary eyes and blushing cheeks.

Ten years later. “ What the hell is going on?”

Years into a marriage, a lot of couples begin to have a lot of questions, doubts and regrets. Some of them are unspoken, while some are  loudly voiced out.  Arguments, fights, separation and divorce ensue.

At  the pre-marriage phase of our  romance, we tend to look at our partners through a kaleidoscope of dazzling colors. They are exactly what we have dreamed of. But marriage is  more of a microscope that shows the smallest details many of which don’t look so good. 

When you decide to get married, make sure you are looking at your partner with open mind and eyes.  This will help you prepare for the unpleasant surprises and shocks.

You are marrying a human being. A mortal. With flaws and weaknesses.  Lots of it. Years of living together under one roof will reveal all of them. If you were blind to these flaws before, marriage will open your eyes.

 You will see your partner in their  most unappealing form.  You will see them snoring and drooling over pillows. They will wake up next to you with the stinkiest breath that your nose has ever smelled. And then, there’s  loud burping, indiscriminate farting and other gross habits.   Over the years, the physical beauty that caught your eyes will wither and deform. Stretch marks, wrinkles, bald heads and bulges. Both damsel and knight are gone. 

But more serious than the physical changes and the undisciplined biological functions  is the unpleasant attitude that begin to show up and persist throughout the relationship.  The reliable man you expected to   protect you and provide for you and your children turns out to be weak, lazy  and inconsistent. The sweet woman you expected to nurture you and your home  turns out to be an untidy gossiper and nagger. And  each day, you find yourself coming home to a house that offers no rest and comfort. Unpredictable temper, stubbornness, unreasonableness, impulsiveness. The list of disappointments can be endless. 

When “life” finally happens—when the bills start piling up, when work drains all your energy, when the children get sick,   when vices come back, when you cross paths with previous girlfriends or boyfriends who have a better life now — neither you nor your partner will be   the  same person you were on the day of your wedding. Both of you will have changed, even unrecognizable. Even the feelings may be different. Many couples find themselves just going though the motions. Just surviving. Just waiting to get old and die. 

When you have great dreams and high expectations, the probability of  disappointment is high. And this will take a toll on your marriage. This does not mean that you have to lower your standard.Rather,  before you say “ I do”, you have to anticipate the revelations and the changes. Setting a realistic expectation of your partner will help you navigate your  marriage and keep it intact. It should  prepare you  for the proper way to communicate your thoughts  and  to negotiate around issues.  It becomes easier to  understand, accept and forgive your spouse.  

“ I do” not only means “I do accept you  as my lawfully wedded husband or wife. It should  also mean “ I do accept you for what you are now and for what you will become in the years to come.”

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