As you begin marriage, it’s common to have some expectations of what you will experience.  But you probably have never made a list.  Well, we did it for you!  Here are some things you can expect during your first 3-5 years of marriage:

  1. Challenges with finances
  2. Difficulties in relating to the opposite sex
  3. Loneliness
  4. In-law strains.
  5. Romance and affection!
  6. Spiritual growth together.
  7. Struggles in defining roles of husband and wife
  8. Communication challenges.
  9. Decisions about values and lifestyle choices.
  10. Trials and suffering.
  11. Choice of where to attend church
  12. Dealing with differences (including male/female, backgrounds, religious training, regional)
  13. Travel.
  14. Debt.
  15. Children.
  16. Entertainment choices.
  17. Decisions about what to do on weekends.
  18. Decisions about traditions (how to handle holidays, birthdays, and other celebrations)
  19. Resolving conflict.
  20. Work and career struggles.
  21. Vacation decisions.
  22. Determining priorities (schedule).
  23. Sexual intimacy (hopefully lots of it!).
  24. Assuming new roles of mother and father.
  25. Selfishness.

Most couples face common challenges in marriage. If you don’t discuss and resolve the differences between you and your spouse, you’re headed for rough marital waters.

Here are four ways to resolve “great expectations.”

First, remember your wedding-day commitment to a lifetime of love and forgiveness.

Remain committed. Love always. Remember, “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Second, your marriage won’t grow without communication and understanding.

Communication means talking and active listening. You’ll know you understand your spouse when you can verbally express your mate’s actual needs and desires and he or she agrees with that expression. Communication is vital to clarifying your needs. The Bible urges husbands to “live with their wives in an understanding way.”(1 Peter 3:7) Guys, that means you have to seek to understand. Ladies, that means you have to help him understand you.

Third, work to develop God’s perspective of your spouse.

Remember, God selected your spouse for you. Accept His provision, knowing that He has an agenda for your life through unmet expectations.

Finally, don’t give up on your dreams.

All of the things you imagined your marriage to be may not come true. God may have a new dream for you to live together. Talk about your dreams. Then dream together.

For more information on the subject, check out Starting Your Marriage Right by Dennis and Barbara Rainey.

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