It may be no surprise that seriously dating and engaged couples are more prone to “agree” or “strongly agree” with statements such as “We are as happy as any couple could possibly be!”
Almost intoxicated by love, engaged couples are often known for being infatuated with one another. They tend to be confident that they’ll never have problems or that existing problems will just fade away with time, they’ll never question their love, never experience a drop in romance, and already know everything there is to know about their partner. They truly are love struck.
The Problem with Unrealistic Expectations
While the phenomenon of being love struck is quite normal, it can also be a setup when experienced in extremes. There are several problems associated with unrealistic marriage expectations.
- Failure to deal with relevant issues: if you have a tendency to deny and minimise issues or believe that with time issues will be resolved, focus on this area is important. The sum total of these items is avoidance and reluctance to deal with issues. Being proactive, however is more effective than avoidance or waiting until small issues become major problems.
- Where is my Soul Mate? Perhaps the most confusing items for couples suggesting “My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage” and “Nothing could cause me to question my love.” On one level, these are positive statements revealing a sense of commitment and confidence in the relationship.
- Still, a risk for those who believe they’ve found their one true “soul mate” is equating that with the assumption that things will be easy.
When they hit the inevitable challenges of marriage, are they tempted to believe that they made a mistake and “the one” must still be out there somewhere? The truth is there are likely several people on this earth with whom one could have a successful relationship.
Marriage Expectations is a challenging, yet fun area of discussion for premarital couples, however whilst these couples often have a lot to discuss as they prepare for marriage, healthy dialogue about expectations is critical.
The key question for exploration for engaged couples is:
“My partner is the only person with whom I could have a happy marriage.”
by Peter Larson, Ph.D.
References: Olson, D. H. (2004). PREPARE/ENRICH Counselor’s Manual. Minneapolis: Life Innovations.
Slater, L. (2006). True Love. National Geographic. February, 32-49.
The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy.
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