Am I normal? Comparing your marriage to others

As a child or teenager, did you ever picture what your marriage would be like? Did you envision running into your ideal mate at a party, then falling madly in love, like they do in the movies?

Did you imagine you and your partner wallowing in a blissful dream? Did you have visions of walking down the street, hand in hand with your loved one, or perhaps sharing a beautiful sunset by the beach?

Most of us had a naïve, whimsical expectation of what a married relationship should be like. However, when the “magic” of wedded bliss slowly fades away, we’re faced with the reality that marriage isn’t the perfect deal that we once assumed it was.

When we run into conflicts and issues, we’re slowly opened to the fact that a relationship is not always fun and games. For some of us, the frequency good moments in the relationship are overshadowed by bitter disappointment.

Yet, every couple goes through this natural stage of disillusionment. What really matters is how we cope with the tides of change in our marriage. The problem with many couples is that they are unwilling to let go of their unrealistic expectations. When the relationship doesn’t live up to their concept of an ideal marriage, that puts some spouses into a state of denial. The main issue for these couples is that they are trying to force their one-dimensional ideas on a complex matter such as marriage.

When the sour taste of reality becomes unbearable, some resort to comparing their ailing relationships to that of their friends or neighbors. What they don’t realize is that doing so will only create bigger problems for them in the long run. It keeps them occupied with a false idea of perfection, something that no one can ever have.

In spite of the trials and tribulations that your relationship naturally brings, being married is still a special experience that allows you discover the different sides of beauty that your spouse will reveal over the years. You musn’t forget that your marriage is a wonderfully intimate affair that can add so much color and meaning to your life.

Yet, no marriage is ever perfect, so that means that you shouldn’t start comparing your own to someone else’s.

Nothing good will come from holding your unique circumstances to a standard based on the situation of other couples. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is an unhealthy way of judging your relationship. Who says you have to be as “perfect” as others just to feel good about yourself? Any couple has their own issues to struggle with, so it’s better to FOCUS on your own problems rather than obsess about how good other people have it.

The only way to stop comparing what you have with others is to CLARIFY and GROUND your marital expectations in reality. Only then will you be able to stop assuming that everyone else’s marriages are better than yours.

Understand that looking at other people’s relationships with envy is caused by skewed expectation of your own marriage.

Ask yourself: do the things I expect from my marriage (and spouse) seem do-able or impossible? Based on that single question, do an honest evaluation of the standards you hold your relationship to. A sample list of expectations might look something like this:

1. My marriage should be the envy of our friends and family.
2. My spouse should be willing to change who he/she is for my sake.
3. We should never fight about anything; disagreements have no place in our relationship
4. My marriage should be at least as good as ___________.

In writing, this list seems highly impractical or downright unrealistic. Yet, ask yourself if you’re yearning for the impossible in the back of your own mind. Do you unconsciously expect implausible scenarios in your marriage? Are your expectations driving your relationship to the ground?

The best way to discover that is to dig deep down and make a list of your own. Take some time to drag out all those unspoken thoughts in your mind and write them down. Only then can you come face to face with any unrealistic standards.

Better yet, get your spouse involved as well. It wouldn’t be surprising to find out how different your expectations are from his/hers! Getting them out in the open and discussing them NOW does a lot towards realigning your marital goals and clearing up misunderstandings.

Once you’ve made your list, see if you can revise them in a way that is clear, realistic, and feasible. We suggest for you to filter your original expectations through some general guidelines.

First, whatever expectations any of you have should never, in any way, compromise the key elements that support the framework of your marriage. These include trusting each other, respecting one another, making the other’s happiness a must, and so on.

Through this soul-searching activity, you can better tailor your marriage to fit into a realistic context, instead of expecting it to be a flawless relationship devoid of any conflict. There’s nothing wrong with having lofty visions of a wonderful marriage when you were younger.

Those dreams inspired you to be the best person and spouse possible. Now that you’ve had a taste of the challenges of married life, it’s time to make those desires cross over into a more realistic light – and this exercise can help you do that.

But it doesn’t stop there – this is not a one-shot deal where you can get everything squared away in one sitting. We all wish it could work that way, but as everyone knows, change doesn’t happen overnight. Think of this as a gradual process of readjusting BOTH your perceptions of each other and the marriage in general. Breaking the ice today can help pave a path towards a more realistic set of expectations and standards for your relationship.

While you’re at it, focus on the positive aspects of your marriage which may have been buried under your previous expectations. Try to remember what brought you together as a couple in the first place and reminisce on the highlights of your past. Sure, your relationship isn’t spotless, but that doesn’t mean you should take the best parts for granted.

Create opportunities for you to reconnect with each other and rediscover what exactly you LOVE about being together. Think of exercises (like the one above) where you can share things about your partner that turn you on, or some quirky trait that you find endearing.

As a suggestion, each of you can make a list in advance and read it to one another during a date. Imagine how romantic and moving it would be to hear your partner tell the things he/she loves the most about you (and vice-versa) over a candlelit dinner, or perhaps with sunset in full view.

The point is to make an effort to spend private time apart from the kids, work and all other responsibilities which have driven a wedge between you two. Take a time-out and go back to that place where it seemed like time stood still and there were only the two of you in the world.

Recapture that lost feeling so that you don’t forget that what you have is beyond comparison to other relationships. The simple habit of making small reminders to each other (in the form of affection, dates, etc) as well as grounding your expectations in reality both go a long way in keeping you focused on the relationship.

The more focused you are on each other (in terms of positive traits and realistic expectations), the less likely you’ll find yourselves comparing your marriage to others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts
"The biggest benefit I have gained from “Save My Marriage Today” was perspective. There were so many lessons about how to look at what was happening in my life from a different angle. I needed clarity and hope and “Save My Marriage Today” gave me that. They used practical tips and things that I could really work on to be proactive in salvaging my relationship with my husband. The true examples from real people gave me insight that you can really survive an affair! This web site is different from many others in that the focus of the “advice” and help really reflects the name ---- “Save My Marriage Today.” Other web sites may not have that as a goal, but the salvation of my marriage was definitely what I was looking for."

-- Rhonda K. (Cottageville, SC)*
"Save My Marriage was very instrumental in helping my husband and myself understand each other by learning to communicate love words, to respect each others space, and to speak up when annoyed and not harbor anger. We were on the verge of divorce, thinking there was no way to repair the damage. Save My Marriage was a God send and we thank you so very much. After years of misgivings we are happy that we joined Save My Marriage and we worked it out and stayed together. We will celebrate our 27th anniversary this year!"

-- Fred and Maureen B.
(Putnam Valley, NY) *
"Since I began reading your Save My Marriage Today newsletters I am changed and I have also given him some newsletters to go through. He has also improved. Thanks so much for your advice and help! Our relationship has made some great breakthroughs and we are soon getting married! After reading your articles we are now in love again and we do as much as we can to create quality time for one another."

--Maureen M.
(Kakamega, Kenya)*
"Save My Marriage Today put it together for me, it made sense and got me to slow down, live in the moment and think about what is really important and how I can achieve it. The weekly bonus emails are great too because they remind me to stay focused and cover new topics I might not have thought about or realized. It takes work and it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever been through but with the right tools I know I can do it"

-- Brett P. (Longmount, CO)*
"Im glad I came across your Save My Marriage Today website. The situations and solutions presented are real, practical and simple to implement. Other websites painted a picture that marriage should be absolutely perfect and have no problems but we all know that's impossible to achieve. However your website has shown me that marriage needs work and a change in certain attitudes and behaviors, and after that things are not as complicated as we like to think. Thanks Save My Marriage Today for a wonderful website and for helping me get my marriage back on track!"

-- Elsa K.
(Nelspruit, South Africa) *
"I found the Save My Marriage Today articles to be very helpful and insightful, and there were times that I thought there was a spy in our home as the articles were so personally related.

We have gone from "I should divorce you" to "Maybe I will keep you around for another 30 years." Marriage is hard work and if you have the right tools and are willing to work with them, you can make it last forever. I think my wife and I are soulmates and I think I would be completely lost without her."

-- Robert and Joanne H.
(Powell River, BC, Canada) *
"My marriage is experiencing a tremendous transformation. I, on behalf of my wife am very grateful to "Save My Marriage Today" for practically saving ours. What makes "Save My Marriage Today"different from other sites is that it is very simple and practicable to even a layman's understanding."

-- Inemobong U.
(Akwa Ibom, Nigeria) *
"My relationship with my husband had been going downhill for far too long, and I purchased your book in a desperate bid to fix things. After reading your info I discovered that I had been guilty of a number of the things that you identified as being warning signs of a problem marriage. I've been following your methods for remedying the situation, and I have been staggered by the success. Our marriage is now well on its way to becoming better than it ever was before and I can see us being happily married forever now. My eternal thanks!

-- Mary Evans, (Seattle, WA) *
"I found the biggest benefit from Save My Marriage Today was that you are educators in life, love, and happiness and that someone out there is human and understands the demands of the common family in society today, including struggles with money, intimacy, and your life not just your marriage.

I have spent countless dollars trying to get help and was sadly disappointed in all until now with you.. Save My Marriage Today has been a blessing to our family and we all thank you."

-- Doug M. (Davie, Florida) *
"I've been married to my wife for 15 years now and I was at a total loss as to what was going wrong with our marriage. She just seemed to stop loving me. Thanks to your book, I've totally changed the way I approach the situation, it was not easy, but during the last three months, the turn around in our relationship has been simply amazing! And her friends are a lot more supportive of our marriage too... I am so grateful!"

-- Steven Kitchen, Edmonton, Canada*
Disclaimer: This information is not designed to replace the advice of a registered relationship counselor. While SaveMyMarriageToday endeavors to provide helpful and workable advice for dating and relationships, face-to-face consultations with a registered professional are still recommended. Information contained on this website is provided 'as is,' without warranty of any kind. The entire risk as to the results and the performance of the information is assumed by the user, and in no event shall SaveMyMarriageToday be liable for any consequential, incidental or direct damages suffered in the course of using the information on this website. The information and recommendations are intended as an informative guide only and do not guarantee any kind of success or permanent fix. Results may vary.

© 2020 SaveMyMarriageToday.com All Rights Reserved. "SaveMyMarriageToday" are trademarks used by Unica Publications. By entering, you agree to our terms and conditions. By entering your email address you are also requesting and agreeing to subscribe to our free email newsletter. You must be 18 or older to enter.To contact support use the Contact Us link above.
bars