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This topic is adapted from the Tech Insider YouTube channel.

The concept of marriage has been around for a long time and has changed throughout the ages. Unfortunately, this evolution of marriage hasn’t made things easier for people to stay together. Marriage is harder now than ever been before, and this is even more apparent in those middle-of-the-road-marriages. Great marriages are even greater now, but it’s tough for an average marriage to stand the test of time. What changed throughout the years to stress these relationships to the point of breaking?

[Related: The Best Marriage Advice for Newlyweds]

An Evolution of Expectations

As our cultures and societies have progressed, our ideas and preconceived notions about marriage have also evolved. Initially, marriage was about survival and based on a mutual partnership between a man and a woman. These relationships operated more like workmates than lovestruck duos, but there was a deeper commitment to staying together back then because of mutual benefit.

[Related Series: Marriage Basics]

Centuries passed, and the marriage relationship further changed as individuals began seeking more emotional support in relationships. People wanted to marry for more than just a good partner, they wanted love and personal fulfillment. These new expectations put a strain on marriages. Although a marriage with two fully-engaged partners could thrive under these circumstances, it added a degree of difficulty that began to erode relationships where one or both partners were not able to offer each other the same things.

Today, marriage relationships have moved another step further emotionally. Expectations in our current era include everything the past eras wanted in addition to personal growth and an even deeper level of emotional support. People are seeking self-actualization, and they want a partner who will help them achieve it.

[Related: Don’t Follow Your Passion]

Higher expectations in marriages aren’t explicitly bad, but they have grown to a point that they place a strain on the relationship. While everyone wants to be happy and feel fulfilled both physically and emotionally, bringing those expectations into a marriage will often cause conflict. Placing these needs on a spouse to fulfill can lead to unmet expectations and feelings of inadequacy or disappointment These feelings, if left unchecked, will typically lead to one partner trying to fill that void somewhere else and with someone else.

[Related: Marriage: Setting Goals for Your Relationship]

What can people do to encourage successful and fulfilling marriages without overburdening their spouse? There’s a lot of great advice out there. Check out some of the marriage resources on FLEXTALK.org for help.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. What would you say are the top three expectations you have for your spouse/future spouse? Why are these your top three?
  4. Do you think any of your expectations are unfair or unrealistic? Or are there ways they could become unfair or unrealistic? Explain.
  5. What expectations does your spouse/partner have for you? What do you think about these expectations?
  6. What expectations or standards do you have of yourself toward your spouse/partner? Why are these your standards/expectations?
  7. How often do you prioritize communicating your expectations to your spouse/partner? If you need to improve, what steps must you take to do so?
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.