Have You Read the Fine Print of Your Marriage Contract?

Welcome to our Friday series for couples, filled with mouth-watering food pictures and insightful relationship tips, because we all know that after a while, it’s all about the food when it comes to long-term relationships. On a team, everyone has a different position according to a level of skill and strength. I want to challenge you to think about that in the context of the family organization. And while you are thinking of strengths and limitations, also start thinking of an actual job description for your spouse and I would like your partner to do the same thing for you.  Yes, I know this does not sound romantic, and it sounds like an awful chore, but trust me when I say that unrealistic expectations of each other will screw up your entire relationship. It may take 1 year, it may take 5, or it may take 10 years, but the unrealistic and even worse, unspoken expectations will subconsciously sabotage all of your efforts to keep it together. This process should be part of the dating or of the engagement phases. This type of awareness should be explored before the final commitment.  READ THE FINE PRINT OF THE CONTRACT, don’t just click “I accept”. Unfortunately, most couples enter marriage with impossible dreams and unrealistic hopes. Marriage is essentially a partnership and an occupation. I know the words “occupation” or “job” are not poetic, but they are the reality. Keep in mind that despite the romantic songs, your partner cannot be your everything. He or she cannot fulfill every need, wish, and crazy desire that crosses your mind for the next 40 years. However, when we fall crazily in love, we buy into the idea of “soul mates.” Once we label the other person as a soul mate (whether it’s based on true compatibility or just the euphoria of love hormones), then of course, we are going to blindly believe we are on the same page, all the time. Of course, we are going to agree on everything!  Should we talk about the actual details?  Noooo, we don’t want to ruin the romance and get into a fight. We’ll just figure it out later. Or, I am sure he or she will change to fit my expectations when we get married. Guess what? It will not be easier later! There may not be a change, and there is a good chance you’ll be severely disappointed. If people wrote out job descriptions, fully listing exactly what they wished to give and get from marriage, and if each potential partner studied the other’s list before getting engaged, much grief and many dashed hopes could be avoided.  But there is no point in wasting time thinking about why you didn’t do this at the right time. You are where you are now. So have the conversation now! Don’t know where to start? Next week’s post will get you started with the main questions. But for now, I’m just curious: did you read the fine print before you got married, or did you start reading it after the honeymoon was over? If you are looking for more relationship resources, go to my Free Marriage and Relationship Resource Center. You’ll find mini-courses, workbooks, and tangible advice. Are you ready to start improving your relationships? ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, and stress and anxiety management. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier MarriageSign up to her free Wellness Library HERE for more resources on effective communication, emotional unavailability, intimacy, and anxiety management or visit www.ruxandralemay.com for monthly blog posts.