Are Your Expectations About Marriage Unreasonable?

BY: - 4 Nov '10 | Relationships

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by Tara Pringle Jefferson

I just got finished reading Fighting For Your Marriage, a book that I think should be required  reading for EVERY couple – whether they are  about to walk down the aisle or if they’ve been married for 20 years. It’s just that good. After reading  it, I felt like my marriage was brand-new and I was ready to be the best wife I could possibly be.

One of my favorite chapters was the one about expectations and how whether we like it or not, the expectations we bring to the marriage can ultimately predict how happy we are. It makes sense if you think about it. If your expectations are never met (you always feel disappointed rather than satisfied) it is easy to see how you could quickly be headed for divorce court.

The authors give four guidelines for handling expectations:

  1. Be aware of what you expect
  2. Be reasonable in what you expect
  3. Be   clear about what we expect
  4. Be motivated to meet the other’s expectations

1. Be aware. You might think you know what your expectations are: You want a companion who is there for you, cares for you and rides through storms with you. But what does that actually mean? Do you want your husband to quit spending so much time with his friends because you think your  free time should be spent together as much as possible? Do you think your wife is disrespectful if she doesn’t check with you first before she commits to going on double date with another couple? Step one is to figure out what do you expect and how does your partner fulfill that expectation?

2. Be reasonable. Now this step takes a little maturity. Think deeply about the expectations you uncovered in Step one. Looking at it through your partner’s eyes, ask yourself: is it reasonable? Do you really expect your husband to never have a guys’ night out? Do you always have to solve your problems before you go to bed? Let go of unreasonable expectations for your sake and watch the relationship improve.

3. Be clear. Since you now know what your expectations are and you’ve ditched the unreasonable ones, it’s time to make your expectations clear. Start with something simple and use lots of “I” statements: “I really feel loved when you XYZ.” Or, “I love it when you ____. It makes me very happy.”

4. Be motivated.I think this might be the hardest hurdles  for couples. Once you’ve learned what your partner’s expectations are, you should be motivated to meet those expectations to the best of your ability. So often, if we don’t see eye-to-eye on expectations, or if we don’t receive love in the same way, it’s hard to truly understand why your spouse’s expectations exist. But by making the effort to fulfill their needs, you’re validating their expectations and desires. You’re letting them know you love them.

BMWK family, looking at this list, how did you do? Are your expectations reasonable?

Tara Pringle Jefferson is a freelance writer and blogger living in Ohio with her husband and two children. Visit her blog,, to read more of her observations about life, motherhood and love.

About the author

Tara Pringle Jefferson wrote 277 articles on this blog.

Tara Pringle Jefferson is managing editor of She\'s also the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she\'s too tired to remember.


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6 WordPress comments on “Are Your Expectations About Marriage Unreasonable?

  1. Dianne M Daniels

    Love this – will send it to my married friends and to my married children to begin with…then after I’ve thoroughly read the book, I’m willing to write a review of it as well…

  2. Diva2275

    I agree that so many of us go into marriage with certain expectations and are very dissapointed when our partners don’t meet those same expectations. this is the most challenging part of any relationship, accepting them as they are and accepting what they offer not always what we want….

  3. reefinyateef

    #3 is so key. Its challenging because things way say are clear to us … We said it after all! It can be hard to out yourself in the other persons shoppes regarding something that you said.

  4. M.Phenomenon

    #3 can be the most frustrating part for men. It seems with myself and some guys I know, women just communicate on such a different level, that the simplest things can remain so unclear. It is still something that I’m working on in my marriage, but it is not easy. You would think it would not be difficult to communicate the simplest things, but it’s probably one of the hardest one on the list.

  5. Pingback: Want a Happier Marriage? Research Says Do This, Not That. | Happy Wives Club

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Romantic Sex Vs Unromantic Sex: Does It Matter?

BY: - 5 Nov '10 | Relationships

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by Eric Payne

A recent Washington Post article on sex and relationships written by Ellen McCarthy argues that those who wait to have sex love longer and stronger. The article showcases a study who’s findings indicate that those couples who begin their relationships based purely on the physical (nonromantic) may not be so thrilled about that special someone over the long haul compared to those who wait “until it’s right”.

The implications here aren’t about the quality, for better or worse, of one’s sex life, but the quality of a relationship as a whole. How many times have you heard (or told yourself) that someone means “nothing”, but the more intimate you become the more involved you become until you are hopelessly, helpless   romantic lovers, and maybe even husband and wife. But if you never intended to really be with that person in the first place the ability to manage conflicts, stay committed/interested or even the desire to do so can be that much harder compared to that man and woman who are truly digging each other because, well, they truly dig each other and want to be together. For this subset of the relationship population, sex is icing on the cake, not the foundation for their involvement.

The following arguments are so easy to make: “I’m not going to wait, because what if I fall in love with this person and then find out they are terrible in bed?!” or “I know I’m going to be with this person, so what difference does it make, “˜when’?” But the person making these points haven’t factored love or time into the equation, presumably because they’ve never really loved in the first place, are confusing sex with love or are being unrealistically optimistic, projecting their own wants onto someone else. For those who wait for love, they are creating the opportunity to literally “make love” with the one they love. Should things begin rocky or not as expected, they presumably will be willing to work on it — to work it out — and not allow their relationship to be destroyed in the process.

Waiting also separates the real deal from the imposters. We all wear masks that disintegrate over time. For those of you who haven’t already traveled down this road wouldn’t you want to know who you’re with for who they really are and know that you really want them and vice versa without sex coloring the issue?

This is all easier said than done, of course, but it definitely doable. Divorce and fatherless homes are at an all-time high nationwide and across all ethnic groups. You can never be sure when it comes to life and love, but it would make sense to take necessary precautions to ensure you’re with the right one before you’re stuck with the wrong one, or worse.

What do you think? Does waiting to have sex make a difference?

Author of the now infamous, My Wife Is NOT My Friend (on Facebook), Eric talks about being a father and a husband on his blog, Makes Me Wanna Holler ““ Man, Dad, Husband. You can follow him on Twitter or find him chopping it up on his Facebook Page. He is the author the soon to be published, Bottom Line Fatherhood, and of I See Through Eyes, a book of poetry and short stories. In his “spare time” Eric reviews autos and writes relationship articles for Atlanta-based J’Adore Magazine.

About the author

Eric Payne wrote 83 articles on this blog.

Named a Top 50 Dad Blogger in 2011 by Cision Media & awarded Top 50 Dad Blog in 2011 and 2012 by, Eric writes about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between on his blog He speaks around the country about social media and blogging. He is the author of "DAD: As Easy As A, B, C!" and is a regular on CNN's Headline News station and the Jennifer Keitt show on KISS 104.1 FM Atlanta.


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