Unreasonable Expectations: The Great Marriage Killer

Most, if not all, couples get into the marriage agreement with joy, high hopes, and dreams. We may also insert into that clause some unreasonable expectations–those secret desires in our hearts that we cannot sometimes verbalize but expect nonetheless. Little do we know, these unreasonable expectations can eventually kill the marriage if we don’t manage them.

Expectation Vs. Reality

Many of us take our shopping online nowadays. We base our choices on what we see in pictures. However, many of us have been disappointed because we base our expectations on how the product looks in pictures.

When the delivery arrives, we excitedly open the parcel and then reality bites — the item we receive is a far cry from what was pictured and what we expected.

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Expectation vs. reality. Instagram can present a nice cooking scene in the kitchen but in reality, the pre-prod is a mess!

I have seen so many people post expectation vs. reality photos on Facebook. They can be hilarious, but not if you are the buyer.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

It’s the same with marriage. We usually enter into this legal arrangement with many pre-conceived ideas. Whether we are a man or a woman, these ideas have been placed in our heads and subconscious from different sources. These two are the now the main sources of our romantic ideas:

Social Media

Facebook and Instagram can show pretty nice pictures of what marriage should look like. Celebrities and influencers parade their #relationshipgoals or #marriagegoals and #travelgoals and we common folk drool over what they have.

We like looking at their lives from carefully curated photos and then think that our lives are miserable because we don’t or can’t have what they have.

Romance Novels or Movies

The old ways are, of course, our favorite romance novels, movies, or TV series. We watch these or read about these love stories and expect them to play out in our real marriages.

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Marriage is a not a bed of roses.

But we sometimes forget that these are scripted situations and are not really applicable in real life. Then we feel disappointed, upset, and eventually have repressed feelings against our spouses. If these little disappointments continue, the fuse could blow and the marriage destroyed.

Unrealistic Expectations

The result of unrealistic expectations are demands. If they are not met, negative situations would definitely arise.

These three things are the worst unrealistic expectations that we bring into the marriage and can easily breed contempt.

If we are doing these, we should let awareness bring some changes in our perspectives and practices.

The spouse is the source of happiness.

Truth of the matter is, we should find our personal happiness and bring it into the marriage. The human strength of our spouses will fail us so if we make our happiness dependent on our other half, they can eventually fall short.

That source has to be something that’s unchanging — like a belief or faith in God. For Christians, He doesn’t change no matter our circumstance. Maybe you would want that, too?

Relationships do not change.

We all want happy relationships, especially the giggly and in love feelings that we used to have with our partners. We want that to stay because we don’t want our relationship to change.

But they do. We cannot be forever in the wedding or the honeymoon mode. Sooner or later, the kids will come and we build our families. And things change. But not all changes are bad. We just have to grow along with them.

Happy couples are intensely in love with each other.

Feelings wane. While I may still be very much in love with my husband, I know that feelings can change. It’s the commitment that should not.

Love is not and should not be based on feelings. Additionally, it is wrong to think that when the feelings are gone, you cannot do anything about it. So others think that they must leave the marriage. Or find what is lacking in the marriage from another nest. The worst scenario would be to think that it is time to find another home.

Realistic Expectations

Meanwhile, here are some realistic and healthy expectations that we can bring into the marriage.


When we get married, our spouse should expect loyalty from us and vice versa. Trust issues happen when loyalty is compromised.


Feelings may change but respect should not. We should respect that our spouse is a different person — a unique individual with opinions, likes, and vision. A successful marriage has both spouses having high respect for each other.


In the long haul, commitment is what makes us stay in the marriage through the ups and downs. It is what will make us grow old together and enjoy retirement and maybe, grandchildren.

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Let’s grow old happily together with our spouses in a fulfilling marriage.

So let’s all set aside unrealistic expectations about our marriages. Even if your relationship is already in trouble, you can slowly rebuild it if you start letting go of these unhealthy pictures of what a marriage should be like.

Stories About Marriage

2 thoughts on “Unreasonable Expectations: The Great Marriage Killer

    1. It sure is. But it can also a very fulfilling experience if both husband and wife are willing to work on having a happy and solid marriage. 🙂

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