Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations For Your Marriage?

Why I Love My Boring Marriage

This space has covered a lot of ground on passion vs. comfort.

I’m firmly in the camp that says passion is great, but there is no 40-year marriage based on passion. You NEED to have comfort.

So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this article from a woman who has been married for 19 years and has redefined what is important to her over the course of time. At the beginning, it was exotic vacations and unrealistic expectations. Now, it’s something different, something far more meaningful. Says the author, Lisa Smith Molinari:

“We did not meet our original expectations, we’ve exceeded them. Back when we were dreaming of a life of romance uninhibited by responsibility, stress, and aging, we couldn’t fully comprehend the complexity and depth of the marital relationship.

What we didn’t understand then is that romance is more than candlelight dinners and adventurous travel. The foundation of long-term romance is really commitment, companionship and comfort.”

After all this time, do you still think that a lifetime relationship is based more on passion than on comfort?

And if so, where is the evidence for it?

Please read the original article here and share your thoughts below.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    David T

    @Helen30
    Would you call these layabout and emotionally unsupportive men good friends (companions) of their now ex-wives? Maybe this is a semantics issue, but I think  the lack of “contribution” you and Jackie31 mention is a lack of companionship.  If you are a good friend, you ask how someone is doing, and you help ‘em out with their work! You ease their way and lives as best you can. If you are a companion, you are a team.

  2. 32
    Fusee

    To the ladies (Karmic Equation, Ellen, Jackie B, etc) who wrote about unappreciative/lazy husbands:
     
    I would really appreciate more details about your past marriages as I do not have any experience in transitioning from a relationship to a marriage. Had you discussed prior to marriage about how each party would contribute financially and logistically to the household in the long-term? Did these guys change from appreciative/team-spirited to entitled/unfair after the wedding? I’m asking this question because I’m wondering whether there were little signs during dating that simply got confirmed in marriage or whether these men changed radically and unexpectedly as the routine settled in. I’m definitively worried about the possibility of seeing a loving and fair boyfriend turn into a lazy and spoiled husband…

  3. 33
    Henriette

    @Helen30 and JackieB31 
     
    EXACTLY.  Many of my female friends* are either divorcing or have decided to “stick it out” in deeply unhappy marriages where they earn more – MUCH more – money than their husbands but also do at least 80% of the child-care, housework, couple’s social planning, etc.  And none of these husbands are particularly affectionate, grateful or supportive of their wives.  
     
    In my 2 long-term relationships, it was a similar story.  I was perfectly content to date nice fellows who had only a fraction of my money, but as years passed, they took it for granted that I should play both the “male role” of paying for everything as well as the “female role” of taking care of the household, food, social organizing, travel plans, etc. while they sat back and assumed the role of critic: this is good, this is mediocre, this truly doesn’t pass muster.  I’m scared to death of marriage because I’ve learned that even a sweet, devoted man can change to become more of a dead weight than a life partner.
     
    *Yes, I do also know a few women married to guys who have heaps more money and although these women have nannies and housekeepers – all paid for with husband’s $ – they complain all the time and aren’t particularly nice to their husbands.  I consider these women terrible spouses, too… I’ve noticed, though, that the long-suffering husbands don’t seem to push for divorce but just accept it as part & parcel of married life.

  4. 34
    Helen

    Thanks for the feedback and interesting thoughts, folks.

    Jackie B: Good for you!

    David T: Yes, it’s largely a matter of semantics. I think many husbands would think they were being good “companions” by standing in the kitchen nursing a glass of wine and talking with their wife, who is loading the dishwasher and wiping the table and counters by herself. While we all wish we could agree that a “companion” meant a true helpmeet, it ain’t always so.

    Fusee: You didn’t ask my opinion (because I’m still married), but I can tell you from a marriage that has been generally happy so far: It was definitely a learning process all the way. Thank God for that, because we started out as a very socially conservative couple (wife obedient to husband, etc) and became staunch liberals along the way. We both grew up in ultra conservative families in which the wife literally was a second-class citizen. So, in our own marriage, it wasn’t just me fighting for my rights with my husband. It was me fighting with myself that I deserved to ask for this or that in the first place, and not to be expected to do XYZ just because I am a woman.

    Do not spend too much of your time worrying or fighting, though. That is something I have learned. Trust that if your partner loves you and is a reasonable person, he or she will respond to a reasonable request. If he does not, maybe that’s a sign that it’s not meant to be. For your part, you may find yourself needing to get used to asking, all the time, without shame or fear.

    Henriette: Man oh man. I hear you about the male critic who sits back and feels the right to critique all the work the woman does, that they should have been doing TOGETHER. Welcome to my extended family. Look F-I-L, if those mashed potatoes aren’t salty enough for you, don’t eat them. And make them yourself next time. Oh, and remember to say thank you to the cook, not just to God.

  5. 35
    Goldie

    @ Helen, amen. This was one of the reasons I left. Don’t get me wrong, I had learned to manage well doing everything around the house, with the help of my children and my parents. But I couldn’t help thinking about what my life would be when my parents become too old and the children move out; what would happen if I’m old, unemployed, too sick to do household work? It got to the point where I was less afraid of growing old alone than I was of growing old with my husband. Not to mention what this lifestyle does to love and respect, on both sides.

  6. 36
    Karmic Equation

    @Fusee

    I didn’t realize that until recently that “appreciation” was what was missing in my marriage that contributed to it’s demise. Bascially I didn’t understand that men express their love by doing things (while women express love with words). I didn’t understand that some of things he did do for me was his way of showing his love. At the same time I felt taken for granted (e.g., there was a period of time where he was out of work and I was the primary earner, yet I was the one who was also taking care of either making or getting picking up takeout for dinner).

    I think if you and your man can make a pact to always look for things to appreciate in each other and communicate that appreciation on a regular basis, you should be fine.

  7. 37
    Ellen

    Fusee #33:

    Not sure you can adequately predict a man’s behavior after marriage when you yourself are only 30 and so inexperienced. At least that was how old I was when I married my ex…..

    No, he was the typical “good man” but not particularly good partner (a distinction Evan has made). Before I married him it seemed to me he had a good relationship with his mother but a few years in I noticed he was very ambivalent about her and that she had mental health issues aplenty. He also grew up without sisters, which puts men at a disadvantage imo. So too late! lol

    No, I think what happened with us was my being type A back then and decisive and all we slowly over about 10-15 years changed roles wherein I became the male in the relationship and he the female. I nearly always outearned him and he never pushed himself to earn more; I did the bulk of the household repairs (he lacked confidence somehow, though he would try here and there);  I did the long commutes while he became self employed; I stopped cooking after a while ’cause our autistic daughter would cling too much to me in the kitchen, etc. The only way he was prototypically male was in the bedroom. Our sex life was fantastic so that kept us together, but over time I grew weary of not being appreciated, never supported emotionally. I seldom had good ideas according to him and we never agreed on much. It was exhausting and lonely for me.

    The final straw came (and this is where “contribution” comes in maybe) when he became the good cop vis a vis our autistic daughter and I became the bad cop, i.e., I did most of the emotional and school-related heavy-lifting and he did what I perceived as the “easy” stuff (doctors appts. and chaffeuring).   I see the latter in a lot of marriages though. A friend of mine is divorcing her husband for much the same thing right now (two special needs kids yet)      

    PS I think we made it to 25 years ’cause after a while I learned that his doing certain chores like mowing the lawn and being protective was his way of showing his love. Women need to be schooled in this.

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