Every single one of us who has ever walked down that long aisle, knows the feeling. We all believed that what we were entering into was something that would last forever. Our marriage was going to be different, we told ourselves. And we believed it. Our hearts were open, full of hope, and committed to the person who stood by our side on that oh so glorious day. We would never be one of those couples who quit. And then, for 60% of us, we wound up where we never thought we would; divorce court.
Marriages fail for tons of reasons, but for the most part, the real reasons we get divorced are pretty simple.
When we get married, we have such high expectations about the relationship we are in. Most of us believe in fairy tales, pure love, true love, commitment, and the sanctity of marriage itself, otherwise we wouldn't have decided to get married in the first place. Unfortunately many of us spent more time worrying about how the wedding was going to turn out, rather than how the marriage was going to work out. We assumed because there was so much love in the beginning, that it would always be there. Then the years past on, and on, and on.
When we enter into unions assuming everything is going to be peaches and cream, we set ourselves up for failure. When we have such high expectations of a relationship as well as a marriage, we are often times disillusioned by the honest hardship marriage can sometimes be. What is marriage really anyway?
If we enter into relationships expecting our spouse to fulfill us, or make us happy, or make us whole, we unknowingly set the relationship up for failure. When instead we enter into the union understanding that the intoxicating feelings that got us to the altar in the first place will eventually end and will be replaced with something more solid, we elevate our chances of succeeding in marriage tenfold.
Marriage is more a commitment to another, than it is about "feelings". Feelings change as often as winds. To base a life on what one feels, is like building an empire on sand. Entrusting your destiny however to a knowing, like "commitment" is like buying insurance. When the storms come, you know your covered.
Marriages fail because expectations are not met. Whether we think we are going to have great sex every time we have sex, or we think every morning we wake up to our snoring spouse, we are going to feel the butterflies in our bellies we felt the first time we met, or we expect our spouses to understand every emotion we feel, we are creating ideas in our heads that are not only unrealistic, but unbeknownst to our partners.
If you want your marriage to last, consider being less unrealistic in your expectations, and more serious about the concept of commitment. Talk to your spouse about what their expectations of you might be, and share yours with them as well. Be open and honest, and together discuss what expectations you can each meet, and which ones should share the pail next to your recycling bin on the curb.