Might you have unrealistic expectations for your relationship that are leaving you feeling disappointed in your partner? In general in our culture, we have the expectation that our marriage should meet a wide variety of our needs. Think about the messages we are consistently exposed to - whether they come from television shows, romantic novels or what we see on social media. There are generally eight needs that we are continually expecting our partners to meet. Consider that we are told our partners should…
- be our best friend
- be a good financial provider
- participate in household responsibilities like cooking and cleaning
- be a good parent
- support us in pursuit of our goals
- be our romantic partner
- be our erotic partner
- be a source of security and stability.
That is a tall order! Believing that any one person can fulfill all those needs for us is a recipe for disappointment. Having these expectations is often leaving us let down when our partner fails to meet ALL these needs. It even leads to thinking that the grass is greener if we move on to another relationship with a 'better partner'.
Think back to what you may heard about why people married generations ago. People may have married to join two families and make a political alliance. People may have married a partner who was a good worker and knew they would run the family business or family farm well together. People married to procreate. They certainly didn’t expect their partner would meet all eight needs!
With this information about expectations, ask yourself two questions:
First, how can you notice and even thank your partner for the needs/rolls they do fulfill?
Secondly, how can you strengthen your network and your support system around you so that you do have these various eight needs met, but without unrealistically demanding them from any one person?
We hope asking yourself these questions will challenge you to think differently about your marriage. If you would like help thinking differently about your marriage, call us at 908-246-3074, or email GetSupport@CouplesTherapyCenterOfNJ.com to schedule an appointment with one of our relationship experts.