Many people enter into marriage with a blissful idea of romance, idealism and perfection. They may imagine never fighting with their spouse while always wanting to be around one another and falling more deeply in love each day. However, the reality of the trials that marriage brings serves as a harsh reality for many couples. Thomas R. Lee, Ph.D., Head of the Department of Family and Human Development at Utah State University, reports that it is common to go through a period of disillusionment before finally adjusting to married life. Dealing with disappointment in marriage will enable you to adjust to your circumstances and experience a more fulfilling marriage.
1. Work at Romance
Even though you may be certain that your relationship will never be romantic again, recognize the fact that romance is something you may have to work on. Lee reports that romantic love is almost certain to fade with time, because it is based on physical and emotional desires. Since the romance will become less intense, make it a priority to keep the romance alive in your relationship even if you have been together for decades. Surprise your spouse with a romantic dinner, buy her flowers or take her out to breakfast to show her she is still your only love.
2. Adjust Your Expectations
If you had high expectations coming into marriage, you will almost certainly be disappointed by life's harsh realities and unexpected obstacles. In order to get over your disappointment, adjust your expectations to a more realistic level. Michael Vincent Miller, Ph.D., author of "Intimate Terrorism: The Crisis of Love in an Age of Disillusionment," reports on Oprah.com that falling in love leads to monumental expectations of happiness, and that falling out of 'paradise' seems to be every couple's destiny. However, this does not mean that you have failed at love, but rather, that aging, mortality and huge life changes are inevitable. Try to accept your spouse as a human being and embrace him for who he is instead of trying to shape him into who you want him to be.
3. Accept Your Faults
One of the major reasons a person faces disappointment in marriage is that he blames all of the marital problems on his spouse instead of recognizing that he is also responsible for the problems. Richard O'Connor, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Northwest Center for Family Service and Mental Health, and author of "Undoing Depression," reports that you must not blame your spouse for your unhappiness. Not having to take responsibility for your own actions will only lead to resentment and bitterness in your marriage.
4. Share Your Disappointments With Your Spouse
Even if you are hesitant to open up to your partner, sharing your marriage disappointments openly may help relieve some of your stress and bring you closer as your honesty will encourage intimacy. Lee recommends sharing your feelings about having to adjust to the challenges of marriage as well as resisting the urge to attack or blame your spouse for these problems. It will reassure both of you to embrace the adjustment period of your marriage, even in the face of disappointment. Furthermore, understanding the reality of disappointments in a relationship can help you stay connected and committed to your marriage.
- Marriage Fitness: 4 Steps to Building & Maintaining Phenomenal Love; Mort Fertel
- Marriage: Life After I Do (Conversations with Donald Miller and Dr. Dan Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman); Donald Miller
- Jill Sweetman: Dealing with Disappointment in Marriage
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