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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Thursday, October 25

Marital Expectations

After seeing a post with a question about what a person might expect in a marriage, I've been thinking about what my expectations were as a bride 16 years ago, at the tender age of 18.

I tried not to have any or to at least be flexible about them and willing to change. I suppose the one true expectation I had was that my spouse would do the same thing.

For example, I "expected" that my husband would want to be with me quite a lot. I hadn't thought about what would happen if we didn't particularly enjoy doing the same things. I suppose I assumed we would like doing the same things and would naturally prefer to do those things together.

When that didn't happen, due to our interests being more different than they first appeared, I tried to take it in good stride. I determined that a couple might actually get along better and learn more from each other if they spent some time developing their own, separate, interests and friendships. I thought, perhaps, that being "too" close could create conflicts where none was necessary. I felt a little lonely sometimes but certainly didn't consider it a deal breaker for the marriage.

I think it would be a fun project, now that I'm divorced to figure out more about what my expectations were, how they changed, how useful they were, and what they would be now. I don't think I'd ever want to be married again, but it would be entertaining to make a theoretical list which might be useful for a "special" intimate relationship. I won't post that sort of stuff here, but I might post some general ideas about expectations and what's useful (or not) about them.

To start off, I thought I'd share a funny article I found on the topic. It is about expectations in the era right after the Civil War. Here's a sample of a personal ad from the late 1800s:

I am 33 years of age, and as regards looks can average with most men. I am looking for a lady to make her my wife, as I am heartily tired of bachelor life. I desire a lady not over 28 or 30 years of age, not ugly, well educated and musical. Nationality makes no difference, only I prefer not to have a lady of Irish birth. She must have at least $20,000.

I was amused to see how many made mention of expectations about money. It seems "shocking" for this day and age, but I find something refreshing about it. After all, finances are supposedly one of the most important problems married people face - and a big reason for divorce. So, for fun, my first attempt at (current) expectations will be in the style of those personal ads from 100+ years ago:

A lady, but not prim, 35 years of age, average in appearance, educated, musical desires a person, mature, preferably 30 years to 50 years of age, and good with children.

It seems to be leaving so much out. It's a wonder people survived their marriages.

1 comment:

Leo said...

But you already got such a person, don't you?

I think people were more reasonable then. Love is a delusion which convinces people they can't chose their partners.

I'm going to think of an add myself.