A reader who has been married for almost 10 years asked if she’s expecting too much from her husband. These signs of a “normal marriage” will help all women who wonder if they expect too much from marriage.
In The 4 Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage, Gary Chapman describes the recurring seasons of marriage, helps you and your spouse identify which season your marriage is in, and shows you how to enhance your marriage in all four seasons.
Hollywood movies and TV sitcoms make us think marriage means happily ever after. How do you know if your marriage is normal – or if you’re expecting too much because you’ve watched too many movies and TV shows?
Here’s what Carol says: “I have been married for 8 years. I am not happy like I used to be. I have grown up and changed since we got married. I do everything around the house while he sits on his butt and does nothing. I have to take him his food, pick up his clothes, throw away his trash, get him cigs (even though he is in town all day), and do everything else. He is always asking his kids to get him this or that. Yeah he mows the grass and cleans up outside but I do everything in the house. I don’t mind washing clothes, dishes, vaccuming, and dusting but I have a 5 yr old to pick up behind and everyother weekend a 14 yr old stepson to pick up behind if he doesn’t. His attitude has gotten worse. He wants to have sex during the day while our 5 yr old is awake. I don’t think I can take it anymore. I feel more like a slave than anything. I am happier when he is not home. Anybody have any advice?” – Considering Divorce? Signs You Should Leave Your Husband.
This article that describes a few signs your marriage may not be normal won’t give you the answers you’re looking for – but it will give you something to think about. But ultimately, only you can decide if your marriage is giving you what you need.
Signs You Expect Too Much From Your Husband
It’s important to remember that what’s normal in my marriage may not be normal in yours. For instance, one of my friends irons her husband’s jeans, and asks him to “babysit” their kids when she goes out. My husband and I decided long ago that if we ever did have kids, he’d be the one to stay home and raise them! I iron almost never – and when I do, it’s a skirt (of mine, not my husband’s!).
So, what’s normal for me and my husband in our marriage may not work for you. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to figure out if you’re expecting too much…
You tend towards romantic ideals, instead of reality. One of my favorite movies about love is Crossing Delancey, because the smart, snobby heroine falls in love with a man who sells pickles. She’d rather be with an arrogant, narcissistic author who cheats on women, but she’s drawn to this guy who doesn’t write, doesn’t fit in with the wealthy New York City literati, and plays handball on his lunch break.
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Are you expecting too much from love and marriage, because you watch Hollywood movies that aren’t realistic? I’m thinking Titanic (she’ll never forget her true love, who drowned before she had to deal with his snoring, stinky farts, and annoying jokes) and Sleepless in Seattle. Hollywood movies are all about the coming together, never the nitty gritty details of being married.
You don’t realize that all marriages go through stages. It’s not normal to be 100% in love and attracted to your husband 100% of the time. Life, kids, work, health issues, financial responsibilities, human flaws, and the whole “familiarity breeds contempt” cliche can wreak havoc on our relationships. There’s a big difference between expecting too much out of a normal marriage, and being in a bad relationship.
If you think your marriage is unhealthy and abnormal, read 10 Signs of a Bad Relationship – It’s Time to Pack Your Bags When…
You don’t step back and take an objective look at your marriage. I don’t know if Carol’s marriage is normal, or if she’s expecting too much from her husband. But, I do know that many couples divorce too quickly, and only later realize that their relationships weren’t as bad as they thought. Every marriage has problems, irritations, and struggles. No marriage – and no man – is perfect.
Sometimes we’re not happy because of who we are or what we’re doing with our lives – and it has nothing to do with our husbands or marriages. Sometimes we lose ourselves, because we’re wrapped up in housework, meals, children, aging parents, and money matters.If you’re wondering if your marriage is normal, take an objective look at your husband, home, and relationship. Is he a good man? Do you trust and respect him? Would you want your daughter or sister to marry someone like him? Is he committed to you, your children, and your marriage?
You never have time apart. My husband is a geologist; he travels and works in the field for three or four week stints, two or three times a year. I’m glad this is part of his job, because it gives us “spaces in our togetherness.” It gives us a chance to miss each other, to realize that we really are happy being married.
When was the last time you and your husband spent a week or two apart?
You’re mistaking the cause of your unhappiness. Sometimes we look for fulfillment in our marriages, when we really should be fulfilling ourselves. We blame our relationships for our unhappiness, when we need to look within. If we’re passionate and happy about something in our lives outside of our marriages, then it’ll be easier to live with the daily irritations of living with a man.
If you think you’re expecting too much from your marriage, read How to Save Your Marriage Without Counseling.