The February 2012 issue of Psychology Today has the best cover– with a bride holding hands with a chimpanzee. The feature article by Rebecca Webber is entitled “Are You With the Right Mate?” She does a great job of explaining that it is quite natural at some point in every marriage to question whether you made the right choice. Sooner or later the honeymoon period will end, and that cocaine-like high stemming from infatuation will fade– that is when reality sinks in. When that moment hits, having realistic expectations is truly key.
As Ms. Webber explains in her article, it is not possible for one person to have all their needs met by simply one relationship. While it is essential to share core values, it is actually quite healthy to have some different interests. Respecting each other’s need for personal space and time with others is an important skill to making marriages last. Happily ever after does not mean you have to be together 24/7, in fact I see that as a recipe for disaster.
The best quote in the article (in my opinion) is the following: “Marriage is not about finding the right person. It’s about becoming the right person.” Learning to communicate, express disappointment appropriately, resolve conflict and adjust our own expectations is a work in progress, and it is HARD. The payoff, however, is amazing– to have a solid partnership with someone that you love, trust and respect is the best reward married life can bring you.