Marital Expectation Versus Marital Reality - Is The Grass Always Greener?
I was convinced, after dating for what felt like an eternity, and lamenting ala Charlotte from Sex in the City that “My hair hurts” (from being styled one too many times to achieve that perfect first date night brilliance) that getting married would be that ultimate panacea to my life's conundrums. I believed that my life would officially begin on the cusp of saying I do, and that my single days of yellow straw grass would magically develop into lush emerald green blades of glory.
Well, as a married woman I can tell you this - the grass is always greener on the other side, until you get to that other side at which point you realize, you didn't appreciate the grass you had when you had it. You didn't luxuriate in it, and you realize that the new grass is not even close to the emerald color you thought it would be.
Still not convinced... let me give you some examples:
Pre-marriage grass greener: Getting married I will FINALLY have that permanent Saturday night date. We'll go to jazz lounges, make out at movies and I'll always have someone to kiss in the rain.
Post-marriage grass not so green: Sure I might be physically sitting in the same vicinity as said Saturday night date but I can assure you that's the extent of our interaction. Those jazz lounges and make-out sessions are practically nil, and my husband doesn't like to get wet- aka he hates the rain.
Pre-marriage grass greener: Being married, I would finally have someone who would listen to me and talk to me whenever I felt compelled to have a discussion, unload my anxiety, bounce ideas off another person, or just plain emit pure drivel. Marriage meant I'd have a permanently fixed person who I wouldn't have to wait to call me, at which point we could talk-- I could call him... I could be needy... because he was my husband, he had to listen to me.
Post-marriage grass not so green: Sure I have someone who appears to be listening to me, but I'm convinced as I am spilling out my innards, most of what he hears is the adult voice Charlie Brown and that The Peanuts gang usually heard as; "wawawawa".
So you see, I think in life, whatever station you are presently in, when you look across the way- sure the grass might seem to be a tad greener and sure your marital expectations will pale in comparison to your marital reality, but it's how you choose to deal with it that will define your happiness. I asked a few of my favorite moms for their take on marital expectations versus the reality; and here are some of their surprising thoughts.
Jennifer Frosch Leal: I was a realist when it comes to marriage and I feel being 30 was an advantage because I was 'experienced' in relationships. Most of my expectations have been valid however, I did make clear how much affection was important to me and that can be a struggle when you marry someone who does not have the same innate need. However, both people have to be prepared to do things for the other person that may not be a natural part of your personality. P.S. I love being married.
Mara Rubinoff Shapiro: Personally, I have no desire to be single. I think people who are married only think the grass is greener when they are unhappy in their marriages. When you really think about it, do you want to be out on the market again, looking, waiting, etc? Maybe when our husbands are being really annoying, a single life seems attractive, but when you stop and think, it may not
be so. In my experience with my single friends, most of them would like to be in a relationship, if not actually married. I know one woman who said she just wanted sex and no relationship.
Shana Dieli: My expectations were to be showered with love every day, have my white picket fence and my perfect little family that did everything together. I never put a time limit on when I would be married I just knew it would eventually happen. While reality is different from what my 20 year old self expected there is
so much more that has been better than I ever could have imagined.
If you are feeling wistful and looking back at the imperfections of your marriage and comparing it with all the expectations you had -you must watch Sunday night's episode (10p/9c on Lifetime) of The Client List as Riley (Jennifer Love Hewitt) will be grappling with this same issue; looking back at the imperfections of her own marriage.