The number of women (and men) entering into marriage with unrealistic expectations is staggering. Very few of us have positive role models for a healthy, happy marriage. In the absence of healthy role models our ideas of what love and marriage should look like have been formed by Hollywood and Mills & Boons novels.
I personally know of a young woman who is 25 years old. She has been divorced twice and has a string of failed relationships behind her. And the reason for this is because she expects her boyfriend/husband to play this pre-scripted role that she has created in her head. She's not interested in him as a person, but obsessed with this role that he's supposed to play. And if he doesn't react the way she wants him to, there's hell to pay! No wonder none of her relationships last.
Let me tell you the harsh truth. Marriage isn't glamorous. Marriage and married love isn't all about wild nights of passionate and steamy sex. (Yes, you can have many of those, but that's not the sum total of your marriage)
So what is marriage about?
1. Marriage is about commitment. You didn't take the vows to love your spouse 'for better or worse' for nothing. As sure as night follows day, you will face problems, obstacles and challenges. Will you face the problems and challenges of life together or will you let it rip you apart?
2. Marriage is about sacrifice. Now I know that this isn't a hugely popular term in the "me, me, it'a all about me" generation in which we are living. But if you take a moment to think about it, anything you really want to achieve in life requires a degree of sacrifice. Marriage is no different.
3. Marriage is about tolerance and acceptance. This doesn't mean that you have to accept abuse in any form, or that you have to tolerate behavior that is harmful and destructive. What I am talking about here is more of an attitude of 'live and let live' - Of accepting and tolerating your partner's minor faults and imperfections and differences of opinion. After all, I'm sure there are a few things about you that annoy your partner as well.
4. Marriage is about compromise. Again, this isn't a hugely popular term. Women, in this post-feminist era, seem to confuse compromise with being subservient to their husbands. But compromising doesn't mean that you don't have a say or that your feelings or thoughts don't matter. It means that you are willing to meet your partner halfway and to find a solution that both of you can live with.
5. Marriage is about giving. It's about being willing to meet your partner's needs with an attitude of love and a willing spirit. Many couples have the 50-50 mentality. Each partner feels that they will contribute 50% to the marriage and that the other partner must do the same. But life doesn't work that way and marriages don't thrive in an atmosphere of score-keeping.
Instead give it all you've got and put forth 100% effort into your marriage. Make the effort to be the best partner you can be, and 99 times out of a 100 your partner will return the favor.
Embrace real married love and you'll find out the the Hollywood version is just a cheap imitation.
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