11 Reasons Why the Perfect Marriage Doesn’t Exist

closeup of couple's clasped hands with sunset in background

We’re all searching for that fairytale romance. We want all the good parts that come with love, without dealing with the messy parts. The idea of the perfect marriage exists in all our minds and starts forming from a young age. We have our own perception of what the perfect marriage is and spend a good part of our adult lives searching for our perfect partner. But if the perfect marriage truly exists, why is it that the divorce rate in the United States is over half that of the marriage rate? Because while there are plenty of movies and romance novels that suggest the perfect marriage is possible, in reality there’s no such thing. A successful marriage, like anything in life, is complicated. The perfect marriage doesn’t exist, and, in this article, we’ll explain why.

11 Reasons Why the Perfect Marriage Doesn’t Exist

You Expect Too Much

Our idea of the perfect marriage is that our partner will meet all our needs. We think that the person we marry will be our everything on all levels. They will love us how we want to be loved, solve problems the way we want them to be solved, say the right things, do the right things, and understand how we’re always feeling. But in reality, no one person can meet every one of our needs. We set our expectations too high and believe that the perfect marriage means things will be perfect all the time. When these expectations are not met, we blame our partner or that relationship.

Few of us fail to realize that a successful marriage is not the happily ever after ending we’ve been promised since childhood. Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t be happy in a marriage. But to expect to be happy all the time is unrealistic. If you have problems with your partner before marriage, those won’t go away once you're a married couple. The perfect marriage won’t solve your issues. On the contrary, they may exacerbate them. If you want to have a happy marriage, lower your expectations. Understand that there will be as many bad times as there are the good.

Worried young woman sitting on sofa at home and ignoring her husband who is sitting next to her

It’s Not All About You

When it comes to modern marriage, many of us go into it with a sense of individualism. Being an individual is not inherently a bad thing, in fact, it can be a very good thing. It is ideal to know who you are and have your own life before you enter a marriage. And while you should certainly not be expected to be completely selfless in favor of your spouse’s needs, you do need to compromise. The perfect marriage is a partnership. Many unmarried couples don’t fully understand that when they enter a marriage, they are no longer making decisions just for themselves. You must consider your partner’s wants and needs as well as your own. Understand that the perfect marriage can’t exist unless both partners are willing to compromise. Often in many relationships, one spouse caters to the needs of the other. While this may work for some period, eventually the giving spouse will grow resentful. Each spouse must have their needs met, otherwise the perfect marriage can’t exist. Determining the best way to fulfill each of your needs in a long term relationship is the key to a happy marriage.

You’re Not Just Marrying Your Spouse

When you enter a marriage, you’re not just marrying your partner, you’re marrying their family. Many unmarried couples think that the perfect marriage will be all about them, all the time. But what they fail to realize is that the perfect marriage is about joining two families together, not just two people. As much as you may want to keep to yourselves, understand that your families will have a role in your relationship. You will have to interact with your families during your marriage. There will be family matters that arise and affect your relationship in some shape or form. The perfect marriage can’t exist when you have family members on either side that put a strain on your relationship. Again, any problems you encounter during your relationship won’t disappear as soon as you get married. If you have difficult family members or dislike your partner’s family, you will be stuck dealing with them. Forever.

Angry wife and mother-in-law rebuking young man

You’re Both Human

Having the perfect marriage would require both you and your spouse to be perfect people, all the time. But how realistic is it to be perfect, all the time? The truth is you and your spouse are human. You're an imperfect person and so is your spouse. You get hungry, tired, angry, sad, etc. Not every moment will be happy-go-lucky. There will be times when both you and your partner won’t be so loveable. There may be periods of time when you and your spouse can’t stand to be around one another. Having the perfect marriage is impossible if your idea of perfection is never disagreeing with your partner or never finding them difficult to be around. You will place too much pressure on both yourself and your spouse trying to be the most loveable person to be around. The perfect marriage means you stick with one another during the rough times and there will always be rough times. If you can’t stand to see a little dirt on your partner’s face every now and then, you’re in the marriage for the wrong reasons. Humans are perfectly imperfect; so is marriage.

Marriage Itself Creates Problems

Our idea of the perfect marriage is one devoid of all problems. Unfortunately, we know that’s not true. Marriage is rife with problems and sometimes, marriage itself creates the problems. When you’re in a committed lifelong relationship, you’re in it forever. As you both grow with time, your lives and relationship will change. You will continually have to take the other person’s wants, needs, and feelings into consideration. You can’t make decisions without having to first consult with your partner. Many single people don’t fully grasp this concept before entering a marriage. They don’t think about how their life will change once they tie the knot. The perfect marriage will cause problems that both partners must solve together. Many of these problems will be marriage related. If you think the perfect marriage will solve your problems, think again.

African American couple standing apart in kitchen after quarrel

You’ll Get Bored

Boredom is inevitable in any long term relationship. If your idea of the perfect marriage is that you and your spouse will be forever having fun, you’re in for a rude awakening. Let’s just face it, we all get bored with our lives at some point. Cohabiting couples easily slip into routines that can last years. The excitement of getting to know your partner fades once you, well, know your partner. Years down the line, your partner is no longer a mystery to you. You’ve seen them at their best and worst. You know their daily routine and habits. There’s nothing left to figure out. In the perfect marriage, you’d expect to be continually enthralled with your partner. But at the end of the day, we’re all human. We can’t be funny and interesting and exciting all the time. Married life forces us to realize that life can’t always be a party. Some people may take boredom to mean the relationship isn’t working, but that’s not always the case. You will encounter boredom in any healthy relationship. It’s part of life and something you must accept even in the perfect marriage.

The Honeymoon Phase Doesn’t Last

At the beginning of a happy marriage or healthy relationship, love and lust are in full swing. The “Honeymoon Stage” is the period of the relationship when you’re most in love. Falling in love releases certain hormones (known as the “love hormones”) that flood your brain with feelings of intimacy and passion. Your brain is rewired to think of your partner, or anything associated with your partner as a reward. Quite literally people become addicted to love. However, there’s only so long this “Honeymoon Stage” lasts. Over time, your brain’s pleasure centers won’t react as easily to love stimuli. Once you and your partner become used to one another, the feelings of passionate love begin to fade.

The end of the “honeymoon” doesn’t mean you no longer love your partner. It just means the initial happiness and excitement at getting to know them is over. The idea of the perfect marriage some people have is that the “Honeymoon Stage” will last forever. When they marry and find out this isn’t true, they think there is something wrong with their relationship. In reality, there is nothing wrong with their marriage. What’s wrong is their idea of what the perfect marriage looks like.

Nervous young woman is trying to sleep while man sleeps beside her

You’ll Both Make Mistakes

As humans and equal partners in a romantic relationship, we make mistakes. We can’t always get it right, all the time. We will mess up by doing things we regret. We’ll say the wrong things, do the wrong things, and sometimes hurt one another. The perfect marriage where no one makes mistakes is not realistic. During your marriage, one or both of you are bound to do or say something they regret. Life is full of ups and downs which affect our mood and mindset. We’re not always at our best and sometimes we take out our frustrations on our partner. When you and your partner make mistakes in your relationship, you’ll have to work through them.

The perfect marriage can’t exist unless you and your partner have mutual respect and are willing to sort out your difficulties together. Oftentimes this means you will need to learn to forgive each other for your past mistakes and move on. If you cannot forgive each other, then there will continue to be tension in your relationship. Tension or anger towards one another is the quickest way to ruin a happy marriage. Understand that you can’t have the perfect marriage unless you are both willing to forgive.

Men and Women Are Different

Men and women are different from one another. We think, feel, and act differently in life situations. We have different strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Some of these are determined by nature, others are a result of our socialization or societal standards. Regardless, most men and women would agree full-heartedly that the battle of the sexes is real. We are inherently different from one another yet expect our partner to understand us at all times. The idea of the perfect marriage where husband and wife are always on the same page is almost laughable. Men and women should understand that their partner may see things differently than them based on their own experiences and feelings. Unless you and your partner take the time and consideration to talk about your differences, you will continue to run into problems. People are not mind readers. Your partner can’t know why you feel the way you do unless you tell them. The perfect marriage can’t exist unless men and women can find a way to understand one another.

Couple sitting back to back after a fight on the sofa

Your Spouse Can’t Make You Happy

Many people have the idea that the perfect marriage will be filled with continuous happiness. They think that once they meet their perfect partner, that person will make them happy. Having a partner in life who loves you as much as you love them certainly can make you happy. But only to an extent. True happiness must come from within ourselves. Another person can bring happiness into your life, but they cannot make you happy with yourself. If you have struggles with finding happiness with yourself or in your life, understand that another person cannot find it for you.

You must discover for yourself what true happiness means for you. Being dependent on another person for your happiness is a dangerous road to go down. The perfect marriage where your partner decides your happiness is putting unfair pressure on them. What happens when they can no longer fulfill your happiness? Should they be responsible for always keeping you happy? It’s not realistic and not fair to place the burden of your happiness on your partner. You must learn to become a whole person independent of them. Not even the perfect marriage can make you happy until you find true happiness within yourself.

Perfection Isn't Real

You’ll never have the perfect marriage because perfection isn’t real. Our ideas of what the perfect marriage is, are based on our own beliefs, not reality. We’re influenced from a young age by media, culture, and our friends and family. We construct an idea in our head of what the perfect marriage is but fail to recognize that perfection in any sense, simply doesn’t exist. Nothing in life can be great in every way. Everyone and everything have their faults. Marriage between two people is no different. But if you continue to hold on to the idea of perfection, you’ll never be happy in your marriage. You will continue to hold expectations that can’t possibly be met. The perfect marriage is not something you can ever attain or should ever aspire to. What you should aspire to is having a happy marriage. A happy marriage is attainable if both partners are willing to work towards a happy future.

Romantic couple smiling and cuddling on a sunny day

The Perfect Marriage Doesn’t Exist But a Happy Marriage Does

The perfect marriage doesn’t exist but having a happy marriage is entirely possible. Your happiness in your marriage is determined by how much you and your partner are willing to put into your relationship. Marriage takes work. It takes knowing when to stand your ground on issues in your relationship and when to compromise. It takes putting your spouse’s needs above your own, without entirely losing yourself in the process. More than anything, it takes a deep love and understanding of one another to not give up when the going is rough.

Life can be difficult at times, but it can also be wonderful. Having a partner by your side during it all is one of the best gifts in life. We all want that person that understands us the most and will stick by our side through thick and thin. Some of us are lucky enough to find that person. But pure love isn’t enough. Love ebbs and flows like most of our feelings. To stay in love with our partner and be happy in our relationship, we must make a conscious effort to do so.

When you let go of the idea of the perfect marriage, that’s when you can begin to truly experience a happy marriage. A happy marriage is built on trust, understanding, and a genuine love for one another. These things are attainable if both partners are willing to pursue them. The perfect marriage will never exist, no matter how much we wish it so. Instead, focus on the good aspects of your relationship and work towards love and happiness every single day.

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