Tag Archives: unrealistic expectations

Why are Women Less Happy than Men in Marriage?

Men are generally happier in their marriages than women are. A survey of men taken by the Chicago Sun-Times showed 78 percent of men would remarry their wives. Another survey by Women’s Day Magazine showed only half of women would choose to remarry their husbands.

Why do you there is such a wide disparity? Some may say it’s because women do more of the work at home and increasingly bring in a second income for the family. Some experts believe that men experience fulfillment more easily than women. Women, on the other hand, have high expectations and romantic inclinations.

Mark Gungor, speaker and author of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage writes that he used to put the blame on men’s shoulders for thoughtless or insensitive. However, he says women file for 80 percent of all divorces and are usually the ones frustrated with the relationship, the disappointed ones. He writes that women’s unrealistic expectations are often responsible for divorce, not inept men.

I’ll say I agree up to a point. Just because a man is happy with the situation doesn’t mean that it’s a positive environment for his wife. However, I will agree that I as a wife have struggled with having unrealistic expectations, and I know other wives do as well. Despite having excellent husbands, we sometimes wish life were a little more romantic. And, truth be told, we wish our husbands could read our minds and know (and fulfill) our deepest longings.

I also agree that women look to their husband to meet too many of their needs, especially with family often living at a distance. While generations ago, women lived and worked together and supported one another, today’s families are much more isolated. So, we expect our husbands to be our confidants, our lovers, our best friends, our emotional supports, and more. We also want them to be good providers and share the workload at home.

Our spouse shouldn’t be expected to meet all of our needs, and he or she cannot be our source of hope or happiness.

“A successful marriage is possible only when two complete and happy people get together for the purpose of building a life together. They do not need the other to be truly happy, complete or emotionally whole,” says Gungor.

This is where I wholeheartedly agree. Yes, men need to feel respected, and women need to feel loved. We need to express our needs and our feelings to our spouse, but we also need to be responsible for creating our own fulfilled and joy-filled lives.

For a better perspective on this, read What if Today Were Your Last Day With Your Spouse; Patty Newbold learns the hard way about dropping unnecessary expectations. Also, check out What Do You Expect From Your Marriage and Mate, especially if you feel life and marriage for you hasn’t been entirely fair lately for you.

Read from the Washington Post about how delaying divorce can save marriages, and how new legislation may be coming to your state. It’s a very interesting proposal by two well-qualified individuals.

Photo by Photostock courtesty of freedigitalphotos.net

Does Reading Romance Novels Stifle Real Romance?

“Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series

Some experts have recently suggested reading romance novels fuels unrealistic expectations about love, and are as addictive and as damaging to relationships as pornography.

I’d like your input on this subject. Do romantic novels, movies, and shows make you feel more romantic toward your partner, or do they cause you to expect constantly “romantic” behavior from your partner, thereby causing you to be more dissatisfied with your relationship? Are you waiting to be swept off your feet and showered with rose petals?

To be honest, I had never given much thought to romance novels’ impact on a relationship or marriage until a few reviews came out like this one. I had, however, thought a good deal about how the fairytale mentality so widespread in our culture creates unrealistic expectations. Romantic comedies and TV shows like The Bachelor, which often end in a fairytale-like proposal, also fall under this category of creating unrealistic expectations.

Psychologist Dr. Juli Slattery reports she is seeing more and more women “clinically addicted” to romantic books, and that for many women these novels promote dissatisfaction with their real relationships. Some experts claim there are parallels between what happens to a man when he watches pornography and what happens to a woman when she reads a romance book. While other experts say addiction may be too strong a word, sex addiction expert Paula Hall agrees that romance books can become an “unhealthy preoccupation.”

This article profiles a 24-year-old advertising executive in London who describes how she enjoys the ideal fantasy world of romance books, in which “the men are always strong, handsome providers and everything is done for mad, crazy love.”  Her constant striving for the perfect relationship found in these books has led to multiple failed relationships. Of her last relationship, she said she put too much pressure on them both to live “a fairy tale” but learned the hard way that real life isn’t constant romance. Her inability to be satisfied ultimately destroyed what had been a good relationship, and now she’s left looking for her “Prince Charming.”

Fans of these romance novels tell a different story, suggesting that high expectations for romance isn’t a bad thing, and that women are smart enough to know the difference between fact and fiction. Some say believing in love and a happily-ever-after ending is a good thing to hold onto. A 2005 study even found out that women who read romance novels are less likely to divorce.

Some evidence suggests the recent boon of electronic readers has fueled the growth of romance novels, because readers don’t have to be ashamed to carry their book around. Even the recession did not damper sales of romance books.

So, what’s your take? Do you think the romantic books, movies and TV shows of today are fueling unrealistic expectations, or do they help you feel romantic toward your partner?

Additional Info:

If you’re interested in more reading on this subject, I found this honors thesis by Jennifer Bunn at Boston College from 2007 on the effects of romance novel readership: “Results showed that women in their late teens and early twenties had very high ideals and expectations when it came to relationship characteristics, but did not have many dysfunctional beliefs or romantic ideals. They tended to be very satisfied in their romantic relationships, and were more satisfied when their actual relationship resembled their ideal relationship. Results of this study also indicated that women were not just solely drawn to romance novels that supported their currently held beliefs, but postulated that such an attraction could also have originated from their own hopes and desires for their actual relationship. The content of these books influence the thoughts and perceptions of millions of readers around the world, making it into a very powerful medium. Similar to television, romance novels portray reality in many unrealistic ways, therefore influencing the perceptions that readers have about social constructs and relationship standards and expectations.”