Marriage: Expectations vs Reality

As children, we are sold this dream of one day falling madly in love with a Prince or Princess, get married, and ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. We weren’t told what happens after you riding off on a white horse with your prince or princess?

Growing up, the kids, in my family, were told to go play and not to mind “grown folks business,” which meant you weren’t allowed to hear all the grown-up drama whether it was related to relationships or finances. You weren’t allowed in the room when grown-ups were talking. Unless, something happen or was said so fast that the other adults in the room didn’t have time to usher out the kids before the drama unfolded. Or you walked in on your parents arguing.

While I appreciate being shielded from the grown-up drama at a young and allowed to enjoy my childhood, it would’ve been nice if someone could’ve told me how hard marriage can get sometimes before we exchanged vows. Though shielded as a child from the drama, someone could’ve explained that every day won’t be like a fairy tale story and gave me a few pointers when my time came to get married.

The reality of marriage is different from the dream of happily ever after told in the fairy tale stories of all the beautiful princesses and handsome princes. Don’t get me wrong many days you feel like you are the luckiest person in the world and are deeply in love. Other days may be a little gloomier than others.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve had a relationship or two and know you may have a few bumps in the road along the way. If not, don’t worry I am sure you’ve seen plenty of love stories or movies to know it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. As a child, you don’t always see the communication or effort that goes into resolving “grown-up problems”. You don’t hear the patience and strategy in the communication, the compromise, and the next steps to get them back on the right path. You may have seen your parents making up by purchasing gifts for the other or going out on dates. Yet, you never seen the actual behind the scenes effort it took for two people to move pass their martial problems or a very small yet bigger than life now disagreement.

Now, marriage can be like a fairy tale; however, don’t go into it with the expectation that everyday is going to be full of birds chirping and sunshine. It can be most days though as long as you and your spouse put forth the effort to make it as a team. It won’t always be easy, but maintaining clear communication and coming to a compromise together can definitely get you on the right track. And don’t look forward to your spouse coming and saving you (or the relationship) whenever things go astray. In other words, don’t get married with the expectations that every day will be like living in a fairy tale with a happily ever after ending.

Also, you shouldn’t get married believing that there won’t be days where the two of you don’t see eye to eye. Before getting married, I suggest seeing a marriage counselor to give you the tools needed to sustain your marriage. You shouldn’t always depend on the experience of others because not everyone has the best marriage advice. Instead of depending on the movies and advice from your auntie who’s working on her fourth marriage, do your own research by reading books on building an exceptional marriage, improving your communication, and seeking professional advice. Ask your elders who’ve been married over several years or even more than a decade. Ask them to give you some advice before and after the wedding and advice on how to keep your marriage going after many years pass the honeymoon stage. I bet you they will tell you the truth and give some great advice while letting you know it’s not always the fairy tale ending it may seem.

Before you got married, what were some steps you took to ensure your marriage was capable of weathering the storms? Did you believe marriage was similar to a fairy tale? If so, when did you realize it wasn’t like the fairy tale?

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