Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The expectations we have for our partners and our relationships play an important part in the level of satisfaction we experience in our relationships, as well as the success or failure of our relationships. If we set our expectations too high, the result can be disappointment, dissatisfaction, and even the dissolution of the relationship as our partners and relationships fail to live up to our excessively high and unrealistic expectations.
Much has been written in the literature about how people's expectations for marriage today are much higher than they were in the past. Many people today expect so much from their marriages and their spouses that there's simply no way a real person or a real relationship can ever meet their naïve and inflated expectations. This is actually a major, but little discussed, factor in our nation's high divorce rate. It's actually quite common for people to expect their spouses to be their soul-mates…it's not sufficient to be a mere husband or wife…you also need to be a soul-mate who fulfills your spouse's every emotional need and who knows what your spouse is thinking without him or her needing to say a word, and that's asking a heck of a lot from a real person. The concept of a soul-mate makes for good romantic fiction, but I think that most family scientists would agree that, in real life, it's not realistic or fair to expect our spouses to be our soul-mates.
The message I want to impart here is not to have low expectations for one's romantic partners and relationships, but rather to have realistic expectations.