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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.

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: Several of the items in this category reveal a tendency to deny and minimize issues. One item hints at the notion of time alone resolving issues. Another suggests difficulties experienced prior to marriage will somehow fade after the wedding. A third states it may be easier to change things I don’t like about my partner after marriage. 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.

It may be the norm for engaged couples to be love-struck, embracing romanticised notions regarding love and marriage or perhaps it may just be that humans are designed to function at a physiological level. Don’t sound the alarms or be overly critical but understand that couples may need to be more realistic about what they should expect from their relationship.

Relationship 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.

By Shane Smith, Director PREPARE-ENRICH, Relationship Educator and MediatorPresident, 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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