Love, marriage, family. That is what life's all about. We all want to find the love of our life that we will marry and eventually build a family with, right? However, according to research done by the Institute of Family Studies, we have the wrong expectations in our marriages when it comes to these three categories:
When it comes to self-discovery, your spouse should be there to help you, not completely construct who you are. It's one thing to rely on them for support, but we are the only ones who can discover who we are and it is unfair to expect (or depend on) our spouse to constantly tell us who we are.
The study reports, that "expecting him or her to 'sculpt [us] in ways that elicit [our] authentic self'" is completely different than expecting your spouse to support, love and care for you ... but sometimes couples mix up the responsibilities.
We all want to reach our fullest potential, but we need to make some of the journey alone. It is important to have someone in our life who will support us and love us, but adding demands for our spouse to immediately and instantly know us on an incredibly deep level creates disappointments that often lead to divorce.
Too often, we demand more and more from our spouse, without spending time with them - Finkel warns, "we are demanding more of our marriages without increasing our investment in them", which is causing problems.
The study showed how drastically the expectation of time has shifted in marriages. In 1975, childless American couples spent 35 hours per week in one another's company, and those with children spent 13 hours per week. However in 2003, couples without children only spent 26 hours together per week, while those with children clocked in at just nine hours per week. That's a dramatic shift.
Whether it's kids, work or hobbies, we are spending less time with our spouse ... but we need to stop making excuses. If you want more from your spouse you also have to do more for them and a simple thing is to spend time with them. The more time you spend with them the better relationship you'll share.
To top it all off we are not fully committing to our partner ... Cohabitation, although my seem like a smart idea, is limiting the commitment that we have for the person we love. We want the commitment from our love but we aren't willing to make the biggest commitment possible for a relationship - marriage.
Not committing is leaving room in the relationship for doubt, and lack of trust. In this situation, not expecting commitment is what is harming your marriage.
It can be easy to think that our sweetheart should be our everything, but if we don't put in the time or the right expectations for that person, they can't be. Make the sacrifices to prove to them that they are loved and you want to make your marriage last.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.