We will show you how fantasies and unrealistic expectations will prevent you from appreciating your spouse
Obstacles to a Perfect Marriage – We will show you how fantasies and unrealistic expectations will prevent you from appreciating your spouse. We will talk about the importance of forgiveness in your relationship. And we will discuss the importance of determination.
➤ Fantasies about marriage
➤ Unrealistic expectations
➤ Playing the blame game
➤ Lack of determination
Throw Away Your Fantasies
What is your idea of the perfect marriage? Do you envision a young couple walking along the beach at sunset holding hands? Do you picture your two favorite movie stars relaxing on a yacht in the Mediterranean? Do you picture a mom and a dad standing by the barbecue laughing together with a bunch of kids running around? Or do you imagine an older couple whose eyes still sparkle when they look at each other?
You may have a picture in your mind of what a relationship should be like. This image might be based on Hollywood movies, which can make your relationship seem dull by comparison. Or perhaps you read a book about a fiery romance and see your own partner as inadequate. You may also use other couples as role models, even though you know nothing about their private lives. You might aspire to these fantasy relationships, only to be disappointed when your partner doesn’t measure up to your picture of the perfect relationship.
So what is a perfect marriage if it’s not the fantasy image you’ve always thought it was? There are answers to this question, and we will provide them throughout this book. But you can start creating a perfect marriage right now by forgetting about your fantasies of the ideal relationship. You will be taking the first step toward becoming closer to your partner. These fantasies keep you stuck in the trap of pining away for a dreamlike partner who does not exist. It’s very important to understand that a perfect marriage is not like the Hollywood image you see paraded in front of you every day.
Unrealistic expectations of your spouse can keep you from fully appreciating your partner. If you’re always thinking about what your spouse is not, how will you find the time and energy to notice his or her wonder- ful qualities? Unrealistic expectations are a less ex- treme version of the movie fantasies we just talked about.
The following are some common statements from peo- ple who have unrealistic expectations of their spouse:
“I wish my spouse were more handsome or beautiful.”
“I wish my spouse were wealthy.”
“I wish my spouse had unlimited time to spend with me.”
“I wish my spouse liked the same things that I do.”
“I wish my spouse agreed with me about every- thing.”
If you want to have a fulfilling relationship, you must give up your unrealistic expectations of your partner. A spouse is usually not as handsome or beautiful as a movie star, or as wealthy. A realistic marriage involves two people with different opinions and different tastes, as well as different obligations outside of the relationship. Your differences will add to the richness of your partnership if you let them.
One of the best ways to get beyond your unrealistic expectations of your spouse is to focus on his or her good qualities. The following questions will help you bring out the best in your relationship.
The Blame Game
Some people fall into the habit of expecting their spouse to make them happy. Imagine that you are feeling stressed at work and come home every evening in a bad mood. You argue with everything your spouse says without even thinking about it. You are basically not good company. Your spouse retreats to the back room and doesn’t want much to do with you. You don’t feel like eating alone but end up eating a cold can of soup for dinner. You feel even worse and start to feel really sorry for yourself. You toss and turn at night and wake up feeling groggy and miserable. The cycle continues. You barely talk with your spouse in the evenings, and this carries over into the weekends. You feel like your marriage is falling apart.
Many people start blaming their spouse at this point. “If only he or she cooked me dinner every night,” “If only he or she really cared about my feelings,” “If only he or she kept the house clean for me when I came home after a long day at work.” This can easily turn into “None of this is my fault; it is all my spouse’s fault.” Now you have made your spouse your enemy.
Don’t fall into this trap! Figure out ways that both you and your spouse can help the situation. Blaming each other will get you nowhere. Rather than blaming each other for why things aren’t working, try to figure out ways to make things better. If you find yourself angry and blaming your spouse for something, stop, sit down, and think about what you can do to better understand how your spouse is feeling.
Getting Over Grudges
Unresolved grudges against your spouse are another obstacle to a perfect marriage. They are a barrier between the two of you. If you are able to forgive your spouse for a past mistake, you will improve your marriage.
Mindy was frustrated with her husband, Jack, because he forgot their anniversary. He had done everything he could to make it up to her. He brought her flowers, took her on a surprise weekend away, and even did her chores for a week; but nothing satisfied her. Mindy still felt angry and sad. Now Jack was getting frustrated. He knew he had made a big mistake by forgetting their anniversary, but he had tried to make up for it. Over time, he became angry with Mindy for not forgiving him.
Even though Jack made the original mistake by forget- ting their anniversary, Mindy compounded the error. She is carrying around a grudge that has interfered with her marriage. All Mindy had to do was forgive Jack for forgetting their anniversary. Then they would have been able to move on.
Are you walking around with grudges against your spouse? This is probably creating a barrier between the two of you. If you are able to, forgive your spouse for something he or she did in the past. Forgiveness is an important part of a good relationship and will improve your marriage.
The following are five steps to forgiveness:
- Set aside time to discuss the issue.
- Explain to your spouse why you are upset.
- Tell your spouse directly that you forgive him or her.
- Do your best to not bring up the issue again.
- Remind yourself that you have already forgiv- en your spouse if you find yourself thinking about the issue.
By forgiving your spouse, you will be taking a step toward becoming closer to each other.
Overcoming Your Obstacles
Go through your obstacles one by one and think of things you can do to eliminate them. For instance, if you have unrealistic expectations of your spouse, you might do best by focusing on his or her positive qualities. If you have grudges against your spouse, you should probably forgive your spouse and move on.
Don’t Give Up Easily
When you are going through a difficult time in your marriage, it’s very easy to just give up. But this is ex- actly the time you need to face the challenge. You need to be determined to make your marriage succeed. The single most important thing you can do for your rela- tionship is to really work at it. Don’t give up easily.
Imagine that you didn’t tend to a garden for six months. It would look weedy and uncared for, but that doesn’t mean beautiful flowers can’t grow there! When things are difficult in your marriage, think about the great times you’ve had and all that you’ve shared. Make the effort to get your relationship back to where it was and then some!
We will give you many tools and techniques to help you create a wonderful marriage. But there is one thing we cannot give you: determination to succeed. That is some- thing you need to bring to your relationship.
What is so important about determination? Determination allows you to see past a tough situation and focus on the longterm goals in your marriage. You might have a difficult goal such as putting aside money every month to buy a house. But knowing that you will own a home in the fu- ture helps you budget your money carefully.
The same is true for your marriage. You have the long-term goal to have a fantastic relationship with your spouse, but you will still face situations that are difficult. There are times when you will need to compromise. At those times, stay focused by remembering your larger goal a great marriage.
Go for It!
You owe it to yourself and your spouse to make every effort to have an extraordinary relationship. If you have unrealistic expectations of your partner or are carrying past grudges, you will always be disappointed. You will never be able to see your marriage as wonderful.
On the other hand, if you are able to get over past disappointments, forgive your spouse, and be realistic about your expectations, you will be on your way to having a great marriage.
So many people are looking elsewhere that they don’t realize the perfect mate is standing right beside them. Don’t let this happen to you!