Relationships have existed since God made little green apples. But this concept of marrying “for love” is a relatively modern one in our Western civilization. Now, we marry for love and have high expectations that this love will last.
I am at the age and stage where I know too many people who have either separated, divorced, or are so unhappy that they would unhesitatingly throw their partner under a moving train if they could get away with it. Do you want to know the saddest thing? Every single one of these people married for love. And they thought their love would last.
Loving someone and making a life with someone are two entirely different value propositions.
It is damn hard to keep loving someone when your expectations don’t mesh. And when you live with someone there are endless opportunities to be on different pages—everything from what is a fair division of housework to your expectations of faithfulness.
Wanna have some fun?
Grab your partner or a friend and engage in a thought experiment. If you were challenged by the following three scenarios how would you handle them to get on the same page?
What are your expectations of faithfulness?
You and your partner pledged to be faithful, till death do you part. But that was when your libidos were through the roof. And now? Honestly, you are more interested in exploring the great offerings on Netflix than you are in exploring new sexual positions with your partner. Your partner is sticking needles in their eyeballs from sexual deprivation, but is that your problem?
How do you expect to divvy up the housework?
You are watching the roving dust elephants in your living room crash into the dust bunnies. And your partner is expecting you to tame them. But you work 15 more paid hours than he or she does every week, and your growing menagerie doesn’t bother you. Life is short. Should you really be wasting your time with a vacuum rather than a golf club?
What do you expect from your partner’s career?
You met in your MBA program fourteen years ago. Your partner’s drive was an aphrodisiac—the only person in the class who maintained their top 5% standing while participating in a varsity sport and volunteering every week at the food bank. As expected you’ve both done well on the fast track—lovely home, spectacular holidays, and three kids in private school. So who exactly is this person standing in front of you now saying they have applied to teacher’s college because they want to shape the next generation of leaders (at of course 1/20th of their current salary)?
These three areas—faithfulness, housework, careers—are just a small number of the many relationship buckets that are part and parcel of a committed relationship. There are many more.
What assumptions are you making in your own relationship in the areas of faithfulness, housework and careers? Is your partner meeting your expectations? Are you meeting theirs? It’s never to late to find out, hash out your expectations, and figure out the commitments, compromises and sacrifices to keep your love alive.
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