Throughout your journey towards marriage make sure you ask questions, a lot of questions, about your partner and also about what they expect from you as their future spouse.
Although there are some things that will not become apparent until after marriage, you can still aim to prepare yourself, and your partner, by being open and honest from the beginning.
One of the most important questions you can ask your partner is…
“What do you expect from me as a wife/husband?”
This question should open your eyes to what they expect from you… you may be shocked!
It also causes them to consider exactly what they are indeed expecting… and could lead to some very interesting conversations.
There are a number of factors that determine our expectations of marriage – what we grew up seeing, movies, books we’ve read, our imagination, advice we’ve received – all these things cause us to build a picture and world in our heads of what we believe our marriage should and will look like.
This would be great if there was nobody else involved… the only issue is that you are marrying a whole different human being who also has a picture of what marriage looks like in their head.
The key here is to share your picture and understand your partner’s picture as well. Then through a series of questions identify where your pictures differ and seek to build a picture together. Sounds straightforward right…
I remember when my wife and I were initially getting to know each other, it was easy to spend hours on the phone speaking about everything in the world; your hopes your dreams, your past, your present and your future, but not address the nitty-gritty of what your lover actually wants from you once you say “I do”. What I’m trying to say is that this type of question has to be intentional. You need to get down to the detail!
What does a husband look like to you?
What does a wife look like to you?
What did you see in your home?
Is that what you expect in our home?
Question, question, question… DO NOT ASSUME! The chances are you’ll be wrong. So get out your notebook and ask your partner some questions, real questions.
Do not underestimate the influence of what 18 years of living at home has on your outlook on life and marriage. Whether good or bad your experience will shape your outlook, so you need to understand your partner’s home life and how it has impacted their outlook on marriage.
Who cooks and how often?
Who washes up?
Who does laundry and ironing?
Do we both work?
Who does shopping and who pays for shopping?
Who handles the finances?
All of these questions plus many more are all questions you need to have answers for. Once again, do not assume anything. You may be surprised what is going on in the beautiful head of your partner.
So… in order to minimise confusion or friction in marriage, address as many of these everyday life questions as soon as possible. One question I always ask in job interviews is what will my day look like? I do this in order to build a picture of what it will be like in that job and decide whether or not it is something I’d be willing to do. By getting answers to these questions you’ll be able to build a picture of what marriage will look like with your partner.
With all this in mind please remember every relationship is different, you and your partner need to find your balance and what works for you. You are going to be a team, so work together to find a process that works.
I’ll leave you with the below quote…
“Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.” Miguel Angel Ruiz
NOTE TO MARRIED PEOPLE: This question never gets old, regularly check your spouse is happy and that you are living up to their expectations. (Note to the men… the expectations of the female specie have a tendency to change frequently).