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Expectations in Marriage: Realistic, Unrealistic, Unspoken and How to Deal with them

Updated on July 18, 2017

Marriage is a merging of two lives from different background, lifestyle and expectations. Every couple has expectations of marriage before they are married, after they are married and throughout their years of marriage. Some of them are aware of the expectations while others are not. Some expectations can be realistic, unrealistic, assumed, but remain unspoken to each partner. Expectations can often create emotional distress, conflicts, breakdown in communication, misunderstandings, distrust and many other problems when unspoken and not met. The high and unrealistic expectations of marriage is one reason for the the high divorce rate and dissatisfaction in marriages. Maybe your partner has expectations you never knew about. You then assumed that her expectation would be similar to yours, when in fact they did not. What are realistic expectations and unrealistic expectations and how to deal with i, well here are some insights.

Unrealistic expectations places the responsibility and dependence onto another person for your happiness.


  • Expect your partner to be to make you happy all the time.
  • Expect your partner to rescue you from a boring life.
  • Expect that everything will fall in place after the honeymoon.
  • Expect him/her to be the same person in the marriage or expect that he/she will change his habits and ways after the marriage.
  • Expect him/her will know what you need without having to say anything and will meet your needs emotionally.
  • Expect your spouse will make up for all the people who did not love you, and was not there for me and understand you like no other.
  • Expect to look into each other’s eyes and make love all the time.
  • Expect him/her to always agree with every decision, input and view, likes and dislikes, and with everything you want and the way you think it should be done.
  • Expect that there will be no conflicts or disagreements and always get along with each other.
  • Expect that you should not have to discuss anything or talk through things
  • Expect your life not to change. I can still go on, live and do the things I did as a single adult- same hobbies and interests. My partner will not mine.

Realistic Expectations provides a clear view of what to expect in a marriage and prepares us beforehand, so if it does occur it will not come as a total shock.


  • Expect that marriage requires work, love and commitment to each other, communication, trust, understanding and respect.
  • Expect that the husband to work hard and provide
  • Expect that there will disagreements on and your partner will not always agree on everything.
  • Expect your partner to not be your only source of happiness.
  • Expect that each partner will have different views and perspectives on various topics- finances, parenting, traditions, politics, God
  • Expect that they will be conflicts and you both will have to work through in resolving them
  • Expect that there will be times where we will have to discuss things
  • Expect that there will be some good times and challenging times with in-laws.
  • Expect your partner to make mistakes.


1. Recognize them

The way to recognize expectations is by being aware of the feelings related to an unmet expectations and by asking yourself questions like: What was I expecting or wishing should happen? What did I assume my partner would do with this particular incident? You can also recognize your expectation by listing your expectation for your marriage and your mate in these areas:

Marital roles, Household Tasks, spending time together, spending time on weeknights/weekends, sex, parenting/children, making decisions, decision about traditions, handling finances, shopping, friendships, career, during stressful times, etc

Your list may look like this or even fall into the unrealistic expectations examples.



  • Expect your marriage to be like what is portrayed in the movies- like a fairy tale- constant passion, romance and intimacy or like a certain actor or actress.
  • Expect the marriage to be like how dating and courtship was
  • Expect we do something together every Friday.


  • Expect your husband to help in the home and fix anything that goes wrong in the home-leaking roof, plumbing problems, home repair, electronic repairs,
  • Mow the lawn, clear snow out of the driveway, remove ice or snow from my car, change a flat tire or fix any car repair,
  • Expect whoever cooks, the other will clean up.
  • Expect him to take care of the housekeeping when i am sick


  • Expect your wife to make breakfast every morning, pack a lunch and to cook all the meals
  • Expect to eat out every weekend


  • Expect your spouse to pay all the bills, budget the finances
  • Expect to him/her to bring in an income
  • Expect to buy a house after first year of marriage or a bigger home after our 2nd child.
  • Expect a portion of partner's income used to buy a car or some other major purchase
  • Expect my partner to put me through further school studies as I helped him.
  • Expect to stay home with the kids and not work full time.

2. Understand and Evaluate your Expectations

As you list what you expect of your mate and marriage in different areas, then you can now evaluate where your expectations are coming from. Is it coming from your parents relationship your own dreams, wishes, assumptions, what is viewed in television and movies, from past relationships, unmet needs, from friends or friends marriages, hopes, standards, culture or elsewhere.

In this way, you can evaluate if it is realistic or unrealistic.

3. Share your expectation with your partner and why it is important to you

When you share your expectation with your partner, you are actually making your unspoken needs and desires for the marriage spoken. You then also give your partner the opportunity to decide if he or she can meet that expectation and satisfy that need or if it is somewhat challenging and difficult to do so. This is not an exercise to demand that the partner meets the expectation once it is verbalized. But this process will help both of you to understand what is realistic, unrealistic, and view what is appropriate or not appropriate. Expectations can change overtime, so this is something that must be discussed. When each partner genuinely understands their expectation of another, it will strengthen the relationship to greater depths.


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    • Janellegems profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Africa

      Thanks Brighton.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You get a lot of respect from me for writing these helpful arteclis.

    • Janellegems profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Africa

      Thank you so much teaches12345 for your comment and reading my hub. I appreciate your insight.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      You've covered a majority of expectations couples experience the first year of marriage (sometimes beyond). It is a relationship that changes over the years, we must adjust to each other's views as well. Great post!

    • Janellegems profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Africa

      Yes it can be. Thanks so much for your comment and reading my hub.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Marriages are challenging too much to cope with and can be most stressful if couples sweat the small stuff your points are most interesting, and useful.

    • Janellegems profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Africa

      Ms. Dora, Thanks always for your encouraging comment.

    • Janellegems profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Africa

      Mathira, Yes it is. Thanks for your comment and taking time to read my hub.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very useful information for those preparing for marriage. Those expectations can really cause some disappointment unless they heed your advice. Voted Up!

    • mathira profile image


      6 years ago from chennai

      Jane, it is true when you say that couples expect too much from their spouse and often their expectations are very idealistic and dreamy. Voted up!


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