10 Steps On How To Fix Your Unrealistic Marriage Expectations

Did you have any of these marriage expectations?

Did you have any of these marriage expectations?

I wish I could go back and tell my younger and naive single self just how much her marriage will be immensely different from her idealized marriage expectations.

It would take out so much of the heartache and pain she would have to go through years later.

Don’t get me wrong, I am blissfully happy in my marriage now, Alhamdulillah. But I reached this stage only after changing a lot of my unrealistic marriage expectations back then.

What Are Normal Expectations In A Marriage?

Reasonable and normal expectations in a marriage are the ones that you and your partner can actually achieve. For example, you expect him to communicate well and effectively about marriage issues.

What Are Some Unrealistic Expectations In Marriage?

This is what we will be discussing today. Unrealistic expectations are the ones that you and your partner will never be able to fulfil and by having them, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, hurt and resentment in your marriage.

Why Do We Have These Unrealistic Expectations In Marriage?

One of the reasons why we idealize our marriage is because we’ve been bombarded with the perfect love stories by Hollywood, K-Dramas and all sorts of distorted entertainment these days.

We feel as if our perfect ‘soulmate’ who speaks our soul and will swoon us completely is out there waiting for us. It’s perfectly understandable and it is not your fault.

But if you don’t set your marriage expectations straight, you will most definitely be disappointed with your marriage because reality may not come close to it.

But having said that, I do believe in a happy, strong and healthy marriage (because I’m currently in one Alhamdulillah).

My husband is a gentleman and the best guy friend I’ve ever had. He cherishes me every day and never holds back his love for me in every way. I am immensely grateful to Allah. Alhamdulillah.

But that does not mean we never have disagreements, hurtful moments, and misunderstandings. We still have them, but I’d say it has reduced significantly after navigating and fixing 4 years of our marriage nuances every day.

So I’d like to share with you 10 unrealistic marriage expectations I had going into my marriage back in 2017. I hope this list of marriage expectations I had will allow you to identify yours and change them for a realistic one so that you can truly thrive in your future marriage insyaAllah.

May Allah give you a beautiful marriage. Ameen.

1. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: My Husband should understand how I feel without me having to tell him

When we love someone and that person loves us too, we automatically expect him to know how we feel in every situation.

It seems reasonable in the beginning when all our love hormones are at its peak and all we can see is his perfection – but it’s actually far from the truth. 

For example, my husband is a very chill and laid-back kind of person. He almost never takes anything too seriously. That’s why he does not understand why I get upset every time he imitates my gestures and the way I speak when I get animated in a conversation. (I guess I sound funny sometimes) Anyway, I had to tell him that I feel like he’s making fun of me and is not taking me seriously. 

On the other hand, he said it was his way of showing affection and being playful with his wife. So you see, before you get upset and assume something, ask him why he does it and try to understand where he’s coming from first. That way, you’ll avoid conflict.

It goes with everything else in the marriage. Something that feels so common sense to you may not be that obvious to him. So you’re going to have annoyances sometimes. It goes both ways. There will be things you do that will annoy him as well.

The right marriage expectation:

Know that your husband is not a mind-reader nor a feeling expert. If a misunderstanding happens, try not to take it to heart because if he truly loves you, he is 100% NOT doing it on purpose.

Annoyances, clashes and misunderstandings happen simply because we are unique human beings that have different habits, personalities and life views.

So have more grace, talk to him about it if it truly bothers you and forgive often.

2. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: My Husband will make me happy… always

How would you feel if someone comes to you and says ‘You need to make me feel happy forever’. You’d run the other direction! For real, right? I definitely had this marriage expectation in the beginning. 

I thought if he is kind and loving enough, he could get me out of every misery I ever had. Girl was I wrong! Turns out he has his own issues to take care of and we’re actually on the same boat here. LOL.

I spoke to my sister-in-law about this once, and we both quickly realized that each of us are broken people to a certain degree.

Our parents weren’t perfect therefore our upbringing was not perfect.

Our life experiences before marriage were not perfect either therefore it molds us into this bruised and broken human being that is just fighting another day.

Basically, everyone living on this earth has been hurt by the people in their lives one way or another. So, assuming your husband is the exceptionally strong man who can rescue you out of your misery and make you happy for the rest of your life – is simply unrealistic (sorry, it’s sad but true).

He is just a regular guy who has weaknesses and will inevitably come short in your marriage sometimes.

The fact that no one goes through marriage never feeling disappointed is proof enough. So if you want to build a strong and healthy marriage from the beginning, let go of this marriage expectation and take control of your own happiness.

The right marriage expectation:

It is completely your responsibility to make yourself happy until the day you die. Your husband can be a great enhancer to your life (your best guy friend and supporter), but since he’s just a regular human like you, there will be times he’ll fall short in this department and disappoint you.

So take control of your happiness, be in charge of your life, and let an equally powerful man come into your life to enjoy your company. InsyaAllah

3. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: My Husband should meet all my needs

Allah says in the Quran,

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband’s property).” [Surah An-Nisa 4:34]

In this world of never-ending trials and challenges, the men are supposed to be the leaders that take care of women and everyone under his care.

Allah also says in the Quran,

“We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops. Give good news to those who patiently endure.” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:155]

As the wife of a leader, how do you set the right marriage expectations to go through possible hard times like the financially troubling times, him falling ill, family drama and so on?

The right marriage expectation:

You should this marriage expectation of him being the leader of the family as Allah mentioned in the Quran, but remember he will lack in certain areas because he will never be perfect.

In those times, be the understanding and supportive wife that helps him fulfill his duties as best you can. Don’t trouble him with your own insecurities and ungratefulness.

All decent husbands would want to give their best to their beloved wife and family – they are doing their best, so we should give our best too as wives insyaAllah.

There are also situations where our husbands would need our advice to navigate certain issues, you can assist him by suggesting what you think would be best for the family.

It’s like a Prime Minister and his trusted advisor. Be the power couple that helps each other out in every situation.

He will love and cherish you immensely for it insyaAllah.

4. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: It’s us against the world!

As husband and wife, of course we want our partner to be on our side and become a great team to take on the world together!

But unfortunately, sometimes this is not the case, especially in the beginning of marriage where you’re not entirely familiar with your husband’s ways yet.

In the early parts of marriage, most couples are still getting to know each other, testing the waters and finding out each other’s buttons (likes and dislikes).

This is the time where most of us will step on each other’s toes (get hurt) because we haven’t adjusted our ways to fit each other’s lifestyles. 

They say the first year of marriage is the hardest (this is exactly why). But alhamdulillah, you can have a smoother ride by setting the right marriage expectations insyaAllah.

The right marriage expectation:

Sometimes, when you’re upset with your spouse, it can very much feel like it’s ‘me vs. you’ instead of ‘us against the world’. Expect it and be okay with it.

But always remember that your partner’s intentions are good, therefore he is not the enemy, just a regular guy with weaknesses.

The key is to communicate your feelings, preferences and continue to focus on the good in each other. As you understand each other’s souls/intentions better, you can slowly build trust in each other and become a better union.

5. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: I’m the wife, my way is the right way

When you look back to your past actions or the things you did at a younger age, were there actions that you thought were right back then but are actually wrong and you can’t believe you did them – now that you know better as you mature?

Of course, right?

I’ve had tons of these. When I was younger there were many embarrassing things I did thinking they were correct in those days.

The worst part about this is we are completely oblivious to our wrong-doings, only when we move forward and look back to the past can we truly identify the mistakes we’ve made. But the damage has been done.

So how do we be smart about this pattern going into the future? – especially in our marriage?

The right expectation in marriage:

Be open to change and acknowledge that some of your old ways may not be the best for your marriage moving forward. Consider your husband’s suggestions, try new things and see what works best for you and your husband especially if it brings you closer to Allah.

Your old ways, habits and views of life have gotten you this far as a single Muslim woman. When you’re in a marriage, you have to grow by making choices and adopt new habits not just for your benefit but for both you and your husband’s as a couple.

So you will definitely have to learn to compromise and work together to make the marriage work.

6. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: My husband will never hurt my feelings

Even the one person who brought us into this world has hurt us in some ways – aka our mother, let alone a man you barely know. Not expecting your husband to hurt you (unintentionally) down the line is simply not plausible.

This is because no matter how compatible you are, your differences in personalities, life views and habits can sometimes cause friction and misunderstandings.

It’s the same in my marriage. Even though my husband and I love each other deeply, we have hurt each other so many times in the past. Whether it is through our words or our actions, we are bound to hurt each other especially with the people we love most and are the closest to.

Always remember that your partner’s intentions are good, or else he wouldn’t devote his entire life to you, right? So choose to forgive and love often instead of fueling your ego.

Ps. Any kind of physical, mental or emotional abuse is unacceptable in any marriage, what I’m talking about is the unavoidable hurt caused by our differences.

This unrealistic marriage expectation is about feelings only.

The right expectation in marriage:

As flawed human beings, a husband and wife will inevitably hurt each other’s feelings unintentionally down the road. When this happens, be sure to communicate your feelings so that you’re both aware of it and will not repeat it. 

It is very easy to dismiss hurtful matters because they are painful. But if you keep it to yourself long enough, you will build resentment towards your partner thinking he doesn’t care about you. When in truth, he may be clueless and just does not understand. 

So the key here is to communicate your feelings clearly so that he understands and make this the norm of your relationship so that you’ll build a strong foundation to your marriage.

Also, try to understand where he’s coming from. Sometimes our culture and upbringing that shapes our thinking and behaviors can clash.

Discuss what to do when this scenario happens again in the future. That way you can slowly build a more loving and supportive marriage down the line. InsyaAllah.

7. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: My Husband will love what I love

My grandma is the one who taught me to embrace differences in marriage. She said my grandpa and her are opposites in every sense. When she’s talkative, he’s quiet, she loves sweet things, he loves the bitter ones, she loves shopping, he hates it and so on.

Some people can feel disappointed that their partner doesn’t share the same passions as they do, but my grandma embraced it and taught herself to enjoy her own company and not to rely on my grandpa to fulfill her.

This also applies to love languages. 

Are you familiar with the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman? Each of us has 3 primary ways of expressing and receiving love, they are either through gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time or physical touch.

If we are unaware of this, our partners may not feel fully loved by us because we are not expressing their love language.

For example, my primary love languages are words of affirmation, quality time and physical touch.

If my husband keeps giving me flowers each day (gifts) without having our Friday movie night (quality time) every week, his love gestures wouldn’t quite reach me because he’s not speaking my love language.

The right marriage expectation:

Acknowledge that there will be things you love but he doesn’t, vice versa and that’s okay.

Be completely content with yourself so that you don’t need your husband to share all your passions. Respect his preferences and find ways to meet both your needs every time. 

For example, since my grandpa does not like shopping, my grandma learned to go shopping by herself and enjoy her own company as if she’s a single woman again. It’s her me-time.

Find the blessing in the difference and learn to make the most out of it. 

When you want to find out your husband’s love language, it’s better to ask rather than assume. When you discover more ways to express and receive love with each other, you’ll quickly realize that insyaAllah there are endless ways for you to have fun with each other every day.

8. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: My Husband will change after marriage

More often than not, we dismiss our partner’s bad habits, distorted opinions and even red flags before marriage thinking he will definitely change down the line. This is EXTREMELY dangerous because… what if he doesn’t change?

You’re stuck with everything you hate about him for the rest of your life. 

I had this expectation about a major issue in my marriage – his work. When it comes to work, my husband is a strategic planner and a smart worker. As a freelancer, he only takes jobs that are worth the time and effort for the money.

Therefore, there are some days he doesn’t have jobs but when a good one comes in, it gives big pay-offs.

In the beginning, I was comparing him with my father who is also a freelancer, but a workaholic one. Any job he receives, he’ll immediately take it without second-guessing.

I thought that was the way to go. So when my husband declined most of his jobs, I thought he was being lazy and wasn’t doing his best like my father is.

This became quite an issue for me and my husband in the beginning. But Alhamdulillah after understanding his strategies and the way he works, I’ve come to see the benefit behind it.

But imagine if it’s something worse like an attitude or a character flaw, his adamant ways will prevent him from changing ANY part of himself.

The right marriage expectation:

Realize that it is very very very hard for someone to change their ways. You are taking a BIG risk by marrying someone you are thinking of changing down the line. 

Develop the right marriage expectation so that you don’t get hurt.

Here’s a good rule of thumb, if you find yourself wanting to change any part of your partner before marriage, assume he will NOT change and see if you are still willing to live the rest of your life with his current self.

If you can’t accept him wholeheartedly for who he is right now, it’s better to call off the wedding. (I’m sorry love, but it’s for the best). 

You will save yourself a lot of heartbreak in the future. 

Find someone you are truly comfortable to live with as the person he is today. He will make a much suitable match for you insyaAllah. Trust me, after 4 years of marriage, there is not much change in my husband. He is still the same person that I met 4 years ago.

If I had gotten into marriage thinking I can change major parts of him, I would be extremely frustrated and disappointed by now.

9. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: As a wife, I will change into a better person too

This one is quite funny to be honest. In the early days of getting to know each other, I told my husband I’m willing to change and learn my way around the house – cooking, cleaning etc. (Mind you, I was living like a princess before marriage and was only 22 when I got married, so you can imagine how naive I was back then ).

Sure enough, after marriage it took tremendous effort for me to slowly change my ways. I’d say I’ve only really gotten the hang of this after 4 years of marriage (this year). And this is mostly due to the pandemic. 

Thank you dear patient husband!

The right marriage expectation:

Any change takes tremendous effort and willpower, even changes in yourself, or rather – ESPECIALLY the changes in yourself.  

Don’t be too quick to make promises you don’t know you’ll be able to fulfill down the line.

Just be honest and do your best. If your husband accepts you for who you are, that just shows how genuine his intentions are for you insyaAllah.

10. Unrealistic Marriage Expectation: My Husband and I can communicate our way through any conflict

Have you ever heard of the avoidant versus pursuers in conflicts? These are the 2 famous types of conflict management styles in intimate relationships.

You might want to find out your husband’s style. If he’s an avoidant, he’ll most likely avoid conflicts when he encounters them and if he’s a pursuer, he’ll come barging in your door to fix whatever conflict there is.

A healthy balance between the 2 styles is to be a compromiser. It means that before diving into any assumptions, you give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

That way you’ll both be able to approach every conflict with a level-headed mind and get to the truth faster. 

It prevents a lot of unnecessary hurt and misunderstandings as well. But it is very difficult.

In the early days of my marriage, I was the pursuer and my husband was an avoidant. You can imagine the frustration I feel every time I come to my husband with a problem wanting to fix it, he tends to avoid it thinking I’m accusing him and blaming him for all the problems I found.

Part of the problem is also our weak communication skills.

Alhamdulillah, we’ve overcome a lot of it today, but it wasn’t easy. Since he avoided me so much and I kept pursuing, I had to write out long text messages for him to read when he’s calm and ready.

Only after he understands my points and replied to all my messages can we truly come together and compromise on the situation.

It was definitely one of the most difficult times of my life. I’m a very sensitive soul, having to do this with the love of your life is really painful. Thank Allah we are able to go through it.

But I guess it’s better than both of us being pursuers because it can lead to big ugly fights that include yelling, crying and all that drama. 

The right marriage expectation:

Sometimes communication alone is not enough to solve a conflict. There are many nuances that dictate our thoughts and behaviors in the midst of conflicts.

Make dua Allah guides both of you during these hard times. Only Allah holds our hearts and softens it so that we can truly compromise with our partner.

You and your husband may or may not have these marriage expectations.

In any case, practice communicating in a neutral way without letting your emotions control your words.

It’s easier if you give him the benefit of the doubt from the beginning. Always find out where your husband is coming from before you jump to conclusions.

That way you will be able to effectively solve the situation and avoid all the unnecessary drama insyaAllah.

Conclusion On Expectations In Marriage

Although there is some truth in all these marriage expectations, it almost always comes with a price.

You need to find out what that price is in your own marriage and pay it handsomely so that you can get a happy and healthy marriage in return insyaAllah.

This is exactly why marriages are hard. It will test your level of patience more than anything.

But always remember that the reward is totally worth it. Not only will you be set in the akhirah, you will also gain a beautiful, strong and healthy marriage insyaAllah.

May we all achieve this type of beautiful marriage in our lives. Ameen.