Q&A: Wishing I wasn’t married to my spouse

Q: Is it normal to wish I wasn’t married to my spouse? I guess we still love each other, but we’re worn down from hardships and disappointments that have overridden our hopes and dreams.

A: “Normal” is a relative concept. There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage. While some relationships are especially troubled or dysfunctional, a certain amount of dissatisfaction or disillusionment is “normal” for any marriage.

This is mainly a reflection of what we’d call the “expectation gap.” Most couples start out with their heads full of dreams of marital bliss. Hopes, expectations, and plans – expressed or unexpressed – have built up in their minds during the courtship and dating process. But those ideals often hit several speed bumps not long after the honeymoon. One spouse loses a job. Another is diagnosed with a chronic illness. Habits that seemed cute at first become annoying. In-law conflicts arise. A baby is born and financial resources begin to run thin. Reality sets in and the dream may begin to fade.     

Good marriages are forged in the crucible of day-to-day experience. If you and your spouse can examine your expectations honestly and recognise them for what they are and where they came from – false or true, positive or negative, healthy or harmful – you’ll be in a better position to put them in perspective and deal with the challenges of life as you’re experiencing it at the present moment. 

If you’re like most couples, you could probably use some extra help in this area. An objective third party can help provide insight into your situation that you might never recognise on your own. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that your marriage is a failure and that you’d be better off single, you should consider the option of seeking counselling. You can start by calling our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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