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Unrealistic Expectations: Failure to deal with relevant issues

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 relationship 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.
  • 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.”

    Source: 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.

    By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and Mediator, President, Marriage and Relationship Educators Association of Australia
    Email president@mareaa.asn.au

    Read on for various resources to assist you at this time. Finally, please let us know how you are going in these challenging times. 

    For more information on the virus and the steps that can be taken to minimise its impact, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

    Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xyuUl-JnIhM.

    Tune in next week for more discussion about relationships and mental health. 

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