Long-time husband and judge James Sheridan offers four tips to husbands and wives seeking to strengthen their marriages:
- Don’t expect things to go well all the time.
- Don’t expect your spouse to be perfect.
- Expect your spouse to change, but don’t expect to cause the change.
- Don’t expect your spouse to know what you want unless you clearly say it.
Sheridan’s tips can help smooth out bumps along the way of marriage by helping set realisitic expectations for marriage.
Couples in long-term, successful marriages often say working together through troubles as a team actually made them stronger and intensified their sense of intimacy. Having someone you can trust at your side during hard times makes the good times feel even better.
Your spouse isn’t perfect, Sheridan says, and neither are you. Expecting perfection inevitably leads to disappointment. Sheridan suggests that a more realistic goal is for husbands and wives to work, learn and grow together.
And with growth comes change. Expect your spouse to change, Sheridan says, but don’t expect to cause the change. “Trying to change your spouse rarely, if ever, succeeds.”
Instead, Sheridan suggests, change your marriage by changing your behavior. And be sure to clearly communicate expectations.
Expecting your spouse to be a mind reader will undermine your marriage. If you want to be cuddled, receive cut flowers, have help with the dishes, have more sex or have your spouse accompany you when you go somewhere, say so. Spell it out in detail; don’t beat around the bush with clever hints or vague comments.
The solution to most expectation problems is simple: Talk about them with your spouse. Decide which expectations make sense in your marriage and which don’t. Keeping your expectations realistic and sharing them between you is a great step toward a healthy marriage.
These four tips can help husbands and wives get onto the same page and grow in mutual understanding, leading to a stronger marriage.