If you are married, chances are you have had a fair share of ups and downs, difficult challenges and even times that divorce has crossed your mind. Realize, however, that your expectations have a significant impact on how you are experiencing your marriage.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Is your marriage on the rocks?
- Are you unhappy or unsatisfied in your marriage?
- Does the grass look greener on the other side of the fence?
- Are you disappointed because your marriage isn't what you expected it to be?
- Do you think other marriages don't experience boredom, loneliness, cheating, or lack of sex?
- Do you believe in a perfect marriage?
- Do you think your spouse can make you happy?
- Are you thinking about leaving your marriage?
- Do you find yourself thinking "Is this all there is?"
- Is the sense of spontaneity and spark missing in your marriage?
- Are you resentful towards your spouse?
Disillusionment in Marriage
If you answered yes to some (or most) of these questions, this is likely to be marital "disillusionment." This type of disillusionment is actually quite normal. There is often a "cycle of romance" that includes both disillusionment and joy.
The level of happiness doesn't change instantly once you walk down the aisle. Problems do not magically disappear. Being able to make a decision to love and to move beyond the feelings of disappointment or resentment is a major key to having a long-lasting marriage.
Paths to Disappointment and Unhappiness
There are many direct paths to disappointment and unhappiness in a marriage:
- False expectations.
- Believing in myths about marriage.
- Thinking that someone else can make you happy.
- Believing your spouse should be able to read your mind.
- Thinking your spouse should be able to meet all of your needs.
- Wanting to do everything together.
- Losing yourself and who you are.
- Wanting to have a perfect marriage.
- Constantly comparing your marriage to others based on assumptions.
Ways to Get Out of Disillusionment
- Put yourself at the top of your to-do list.
- Make a decision to love.
- Discuss one another's expectations about your marriage.
- Ask for what you want.
- Accept that your marriage isn't perfect.
- Hug and kiss your spouse often.
- Don't let anger take over. Learn to let go and forgive.
- Find out what's going on in your own life.
- Don't be manipulative or allow yourself to be manipulated.
- Think about changes you can make to be a better partner.
Wake Up Call
Remember that continued disillusionment in your marriage could be a wake-up call to you if you are taking your marriage for granted or if your marriage is in a rut. You can seek out some professional couples counseling, read a relationship self-help book together, or try a couples workshop. All it takes is one of you to bring up this topic of conversation in a sensitive way. Speak from the heart and state how you feel. Don't just complain about the problem—offer up some solutions.
Don't Forget the Positive
Marriage is usually joyous, fulfilling, and fun. Sometimes in the midst of daily living, you may forget the positive aspect of being in a married relationship. Reminisce about what attracted you to your spouse in the first place. Reflect upon the strengths you have in your marriage as they are most likely still there!
When Is It Time to Leave?
What happens when the above suggestions don't work? It is time to leave your marriage when:
- There is serial adultery, emotional abuse, or physical abuse (never okay!).
- There is sustained resentment, agony, pain, or unhappiness and you have no more energy to fight for your relationship.
- You've mentioned your wants, which aren't unreasonable, and your spouse refuses to respond.
- You suggest getting help and your spouse refuses.
- You are more sad than you are happy in your marriage.