Yesterday we celebrated four years of marriage! It was incredibly special and I am thankful to have another year of life behind my life partner and I.
As we enter a new year of marriage I have been thinking lately about the expectations that each one of us has when going into marriage. Expectations can change over time but each one of us enters a wedding (and the years that follow) with preconceived notions in our heads.
It’s important to think about how the past as an individual will shape what you come into marriage believing. Past relationships, and the relationships around you (like that of your parents) will greatly change what you believe marriage should be.
Here are my tips for expectations:
- Talk to your spouse about what you envision and hope for your marriage to be. And don’t just have this talk in premarital counseling. Discuss this over time because your needs will change in different seasons of life. Be open and share what your best version of a marriage looks like, because that’s likely what you expect to strive towards. If you don’t share this then your spouse isn’t going to realize what your expectations are, so how can they meet them?
- Challenge what’s most important to you and in the process, learn to let some things go. Here’s an example. My parents were married 33 years and you would have never seen them without their wedding rings on. They both always had their rings on THAT finger. Before I got engaged, I dreamt of having someone love me enough to choose to put a beautiful ring on my hand. He did and I love my ring and wear it 24/7. We then planned the wedding and bought a beautiful band for my husband. I knew he didn’t wear jewelry, but I ‘expected’ that he was going to make an exception and wear his wedding ring. Two months after our wedding, he lost it. We replaced it with silicone band(s). He kept losing them. Kept taking them off because he didn’t like how it felt. Now, I have two options: fight over it, keep replacing them, make him do it…or let it go. Would I love to have him wear a ring? Of course. But is it a battle worth having? No, it’s not. In the grand scheme of things, we’re committed and he’s an incredible husband. That’s most important to me.
- As time passes from your wedding day and you continue to grow in your relationships, what’s most important to you might change. Like think about when you were dating and not living together, chores at home weren’t even on your list of expectations. Then once you’re married, you might be able to evenly split home responsibilities and that will work for a while. But what happens if one of you is working more while working towards a promotion? Or a health challenge comes up for the other? Be open to change because things will ‘look different’ than they did in the beginning of your marriage. That’s a good thing, though…it will keep life interesting!
If you’re committed to loving each other and working through ‘life together’ those are the most important expectations to be met…and exceeded!
Girl with a diamond ring