Letting Go of Marriage Expectations

On February 15, 2014, my now husband popped the question in our hotel room in Charleston, South Carolina. When I saw him down on one knee, I actually collapsed with happiness (I’m not even sure I was able to get the word “yes” out). We spent the rest of the day impossibly giddy knowing that we were about to start our life together.

After we announced our engagement, I, like many other young military spouses, received some hesitation from friends and family members. People often said things like, “Are you sure about this?” “But you’re so young!” Or a more general, “Marriage is really hard, you know.”

While I appreciate the people I love looking out for my best interest, I think it’s important that rather than discouraging others from saying “I do” all together, we start talking about the unrealistic expectations our culture has about marriage and how we can change these beliefs in order to have longer, happier relationships with our spouses.

You don’t need to have sex a certain number of times a week. We’re constantly looking for the answer on how much sex is normal or healthy in a marriage when the reality is that there’s no such thing as normal. The beauty of being a unique married couple is that you and your partner (and absolutely no one else!) get to decide how much sex you want to have and when you want to have it. Maybe for one couple, having sex every night is ideal, but for another, having sex once a month works better. Some couples might decide not to have sex at all, and that’s okay too.

Will there be times where one partner wants to have sex more, and the other wants it less? Sure, but that’s something couples can work through together by communicating about how to create a happy, healthy sex life. Turning to the Internet for an imaginary magic number only puts pressure on couples to be having sex when they maybe don’t’ want to, and sex by obligation is the furthest thing from sexy.

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