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Why Love Isn’t Enough to Make a Marriage Work

Why Love Isn’t Enough to Make a Marriage Work

"A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love." - Pearl S. Buck

Expectations concerning marriage and romance can have a powerful impact on people and their relationships. To a large extent, what happens in the real life versus how you expected it to be, will affect your relationship significantly. When people get married, they start a new life hoping and believing it will turn out in the best ways possible. But if these beliefs are not grounded in reality, problems start to happen.

When marriage doesn't turn out the way you expected it to be, it will lead to dissatisfaction. And very often that leads to couples start blaming each other for not trying hard enough to make marriage everything they hoped it would be. The disappointment can end up causing people into feeling let down by the harsh realities of marriage.

A large part of our beliefs about how married life should be, is influenced by movies, novels, and soap operas that often portray stories of marriage and romance in ways that reality just can't live up to. Thanks to these portrayals, people start creating a certain vision about their own relationships, more like, dreams, if you will. Many people hope that marriage is the cure to all their problems, and will lead to eternal blissful happiness. That's not always how it turns out though.

So, what's the solution? Expectation setting! You need to develop a realistic expectation about marriage and relationships if you don't want to end up being disappointed. This is not to say that marriage doesn't offer anything good; far from that. It's just that if you have the right expectations from your marriage you would end up appreciating all the goodness that's associated with marriages and romantic relationships.

Let's look at some expectations about marriage that are grounded in reality:

1. Are You a Control Freak? Let go!

Expectations amount to goals that are under-achieved or even unmet. And what are goals, but devices of your own ambitions! Ambition, on the other hand, is a strong desire to achieve something and for that you strive hard. But if you look closely, these emotions are simply the manifestations of your need to control a successful outcome. And to do this, you end up trying to control your environment; and in this case, your spouse.

Avoid falling into the trap of under-achieved goals. It's a vicious cycle that will feed your ego and make things worse for you and your spouse. Instead, try letting go of your desire to control those around you and you will find peace with your expectations and their outcomes.

2. Making Assumptions

There is a saying that goes along the lines of: "if you assume, it makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'". Assumptions are a prime cause of expectations being blown out of proportions and thus not being met. At least not in the ways you would like them to. Assuming that your partner is going to meet all your needs every time, or even you assuming you understand your partner's needs can end up in mismatching expectations.

The fact is that your spouse won't meet all your needs all the time, and that's the harsh truth you must get accustomed to. Problems arise when people start assuming and equating their marriage with having their needs met all the time. Don't expect your partner to fix your loneliness and all your life's problems for you. While they are here to help you cope up with your problems, it's important that you still have a fulfilling life outside of your marriage. Often other acquaintances and friends can fill in those little gaps and help you meet some of your needs.

3. Communicate

A big reason why people often feel so let down by their marriage expectations is because of their failure to communicate. Communication in marriage, or any relationship for that matter, is the first big step to experiencing an immediate increase in expectations being met.

Try communicating with your spouse with the intention of understanding them better. Very often many of our beliefs and expectations go unmet, simply because the other person wasn't even aware of what was expected of him/her. It's no rocket science - the only way to know what is expected, is to talk about it. Strive towards making regular and clear communication about your needs and wants as an important part of your relationship. Don't make figuring out your partner's expectations a guessing game.

4. Marriage is About Growing Together, and it Requires Effort

It takes effort for every relationship to flourish; marriages just doesn't magically become the glue that holds couples together. If you are not willing to devote enough time and energy into building your marriage, you can expect to see your expectations from it come crashing down.

In any healthy relationship, it's the responsibility of participating individuals to spend some good quality time together. It can often get difficult, thanks to other responsibilities getting in the way. Things like raising kids, managing the household chores, building your professional career can take up a lot of time. But if you don't manage to find time for each other, the romance begins to dwindle.

5. Love Isn't Enough to Make a Marriage Work

This may come as a shock to some of you. Probably the one big expectation of most couples from a marriage is the idea that love conquers all. And they equate their marital happiness with feelings of love and romance. But let's face it - marriages don't survive solely on how you both feel about each other. There will be circumstances where you won't feel the same amount of love for your partner. But that shouldn't affect your marriage. In fact, a healthy marriage requires efforts from both sides to behave responsibly even when there is some love lost. Love is temporary but your marriage is not. Like they say, a marriage is like a marathon, or even an ultra-marathon.

(Also read: How To Bring Up Money For The First Time In A Relationship )

Healthy marriages also require a level of compatibility that you should ideally resolve even before tying the knot. For example: if your spiritual beliefs, something that's very important to either of you, don't match up. If this is the case then, all the love in the world will probably not be able to overcome that roadblock. Having a responsible and understanding attitude in situations like these is important.


Many, if not all, expectations for marriage and romance are based on idealized beliefs. If the ground realities in a relationship do not match up to these beliefs, one or both people may start to think they made a terrible mistake. But really doesn't need to get to that point. And it also doesn't mean that you have to throw all of your expectations out of the window. While some expectations may appear to be unrealistic and unfair to your spouse, it' doesn't mean you lose hope in them or your spouse. Part of any successful marriage purpose is to help each other grow. With better expectation management and with the ideas mentioned in this article, you can continue to march forward along with your hopes and aspirations.

(Image Credit: Indiatimes)

( About the author: This article is contributed by Sylvia Smith, a relationship expert and a writer)

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