{Read in 4 minutes} Congratulations! We’re in a committed relationship. We're in love and planning a wedding or planning on moving in together. Everything is so wonderful. And then one day, we roll over in bed, look at our partner and say: “Who the heck are you?” 

You think you know each other by the time you get married, and you probably do. Even if you have an argument or two, not much goes wrong when you are courting. But that's going to wear off over time and as spouses they will reveal more of who they are “when the honeymoon is over.” 

Most couples do not like to enter into relationship counseling. They don’t know what to expect. They may fear:

- Is it all my fault?

- Does this mean we made a mistake?

- What if I’m not good enough?

- What if someone finds out I have been battling depression or something else?

- What if we find out we are not a good match for each other?

People have a lot of fears around making a life-time commitment. We also have a lot of expectations of what our partnership “should” look like. When it doesn't happen in the way we think it should, we often feel as if there is something wrong with the way our partner is behaving or thinking. We might even believe that this is the wrong relationship, when in reality, we are simply disappointed that our expectations don’t match the reality.

The Buddists believe that expectations are the root of all misery. And so it...we want our expectations or illusions of who our partner is to match who we believe they are...and vice versa. A friend of mine recently told me that her only marriage ended because of that exact reason. Her husband and her idea of what a good husband should be were different and they couldn’t agree. What had they missed when they were dating?

Probably nothing.

I have a friend who said she had an image of what the man in her life would be like. When pressed, she admitted to Captain America. Well, who can compare to that? Because no one came close, she chose to not commit and be disappointed later. Smart? At least she knew what she wanted. Would she change her expectations through the years? Perhaps...but knowing what you want and accepting something less is a big mistake.

Couples need to know who the other is if they are going to have a life-long partnership, whether they marry or make a life together without being married. Strange as it seems, the biological clock running out is not a great reason to expect marital bliss, even if it is a good reason to have children now.

So what can a couple do to learn more about each other?

- Premarital classes taught by an actual therapist or marriage coach;

- Private sessions with a relationship coach/therapist who understands personality and communication styles;

- Intensive weekends where you can work with other couples who are in the same boat.

Preparing for your own life-long journey? Give us a call to help you make that journey a success at 716-446-9226 or www.creativerelationshipcenters.com.