The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts

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The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby nebraska » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:37 pm

" 'You marry them,' Blue Hijab said, ' hoping they'll change, and grow. And they marry us, hoping that we won't.' " the Mountain Shadow page 741

Do you believe this? What differences do you think men and women have for expectations of a spouse. Do you think people marry their own future image of the person they love rather than the real person beside them?

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Re: The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby fireflydances » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:52 pm

I've been dying to answer this so I am going to just go ahead.

I married and I divorced so my perspective on marriage and why people marry in the first place is probably somewhat jaundiced. I do think it is a psychological mine field -- it carries the weight of generations, all the expectations for a glorious future that one can image, so it is not surprising that people come into marriage carrying all sorts of hopes, dreams, unrealistic expectations and downright illusions.

Over the years I've come up with the theory that people marry for radically different reasons at different points in their lives. Personally, I married because I felt this overwhelming desire to become part of the family of life. What do I mean? As I married I thought, I felt, part of LIFE in a way I never had before. I imagined my ancestors and his ancestors and the generations waiting beyond us. As though part of some great vine of life. I wanted to be a mother, a grandmother, part of the sisterhood of mothers. At the time I thought I was marrying because I loved the man I was marrying. Later on I decided I had married to become something else -- this woman with child. It is ironic that I ended up infertile, but we did adopt and I love my children, now in their twenties, very deeply. But my dream of marriage and life as a married woman was altogether different than what I assumed all those years ago.

Now, did I hope this man would change? I would say I thought we would be changed. I remember the day I got my engagement ring. We were on 47th Street in Manhattan, and afterwords he had to go somewhere I so I went home on the subway, and I swear that I was convinced that everyone could see how I had been transformed.

What about my ex, did he expect me to stay the same? Yes, I do think that. Since he has remarried and his wife is younger I think for him the external qualities of a woman are important. Not to put him down, I just think marriage is such a powerful phenomenon that those contemplating "marriage" carry all sorts of unconscious desires into the process. Good things and maybe anxieties and even fears.

If I was to marry now I think it would mean something altogether different for me. When I love now, I love the soul of a person. Not what they represent, or what we would become. I guess I am not even sure I value marriage anymore as a necessary thing. I love because I love and I don't need any external sign of that love.

So, what about you?
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:58 am

I had no expectations we got married to legalise our relationship. I do think alot of people only think of their wedding not the marriage itself. I think living together before marriage is a very good idea having done so myself.

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Re: The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Mar 06, 2017 12:11 pm

Blue Hajib was speaking to her own situation, but I think there is a lot of truth in her observation.

When we got married I was 20 and my husband was 22. Filled with hormones and dreams we both had expectations that were not realistic. I think each of us idealized the other to an extent, seeing what we wanted to see instead of who the other really was. It takes a lot of patience, tolerance, acceptance, determination and forgiveness to get through the years as you live real life together and discover who your partner truly is. Neither of us is the person we were on our wedding day and neither of us turned out to be what the other dreamed we were. We are now in our 70s and getting ready to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We have shared most of our entire adult lives and we are comfortable with each other now, but it was a long and sometimes painful process.

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Re: The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby ibbi 3 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:08 pm

We allready lived together and only got married because simply that was the easiest way, because we wanted children. Otherwise you need to go to an laywer, and cityhall etc. more work for the father to be legally registerd father to the child etc.
But I believe Blue Hijab. Offcourse I thought I would change my husband into some better person.... tell me one wife who doesn't think she can change her hubby :biggrin:
Joel:"That's the movies, Ed. Try reality." Ed:"No thanks." Northern Exposure

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Re: The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby Liz » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:33 am

Yeah, I could change my DH when it seemed like he was going that direction. Never really happened. But I was young and naive and in love with being in love. I was also insecure and ready to jump into the first relationship (it was actually the 2nd relationship). The goal was marriage as opposed to finding the love of my life. And now I'm in the midst of a divorce and realizing later that I should have been shooting for a soulmate.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby cussot » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:25 pm

ibbi 3 wrote:Offcourse I thought I would change my husband into some better person.... tell me one wife who doesn't think she can change her hubby :biggrin:

That kind of hits home, ibbi. I did think it was my job to change my husband when we were young, sort of civilize him or something. Now, looking back, I'm glad he was able to change me.

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The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:03 pm

I do think people enter into marriages thinking that things will change for the better, whether that means the spouse changes or both change or their situation changes, I do think people expect marriage to change their lives.

For the most part it does, but its how people react to changes as a "couple" instead of "individuals" that determines if it's for better or worse. They find they must be accountable to their spouse and shouldn't be making decisions without consultation first. What's best for the marriage? The couple? The family? It's no longer what's best for me.

I feel people generally don't think that far ahead in their lives to determine if marriage is the best move to make, many feel that love will find a way, blah, blah, blah. They don't really discuss ahead of time how they intend to live and make the marriage work. Many don't even discuss if they want/expect children. And most have no idea how to be that committed to another person until they are. (Same as being a parent...you have no idea what you're doing until you have to do it.)

They expect those annoying habits will stop once they are married without ever telling the other that something annoys him/her. They expect a baby to save a relationship that teetering on the brink. They expect that money won't be a problem since they are both working. Or maybe one is working to support the other who is going through school. Then the working spouse expects the non-working spouse to get a better job after graduation and support both of them for a while, maybe so the other can stay home with the children they thought they wanted. Or maybe they expect an affair or two will make the marriage better or at least bearable.

And many, if not all, go into a marriage with the same approach as their parents...why not, it's the only long-term relationship they really know. If their parents made marriage look easy, then they approach it with the same idealistic view. If their parents fought all the time, they vow never to let that happen to them...until it does. If their parents cheated on each other...same thing...that won't happen to us, but it usually does. If the parents are divorced/separated, they may choose to live together first, then get married later, thinking marriage will solve any problems they had while living together...it rarely does.

I do feel marriages that work best are the ones with good communication lines open and a willingness to compromise...and very few expectations. :bigwink:

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The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby Liz » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:47 am

SnoopyDances wrote:I do feel marriages that work best are the ones with good communication lines open and a willingness to compromise...and very few expectations. :bigwink:

Communication is the most important. And yes, not having expectations.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:18 pm

Liz wrote:
SnoopyDances wrote:I do feel marriages that work best are the ones with good communication lines open and a willingness to compromise...and very few expectations. :bigwink:

Communication is the most important. And yes, not having expectations.

And the willingness to compromise. From both sides.

More and more, I see people taking a stand and never budging. I see that in marriages, friendships, with siblings, certainly with politics and religion.

I think that's why Lin was such an interesting character...he never really seems to judge anyone, nor is he blinded by appearances. He's quick to assess the situation and the people involved, but willing to compromise and usually finds a way to make things work out.

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The Mountain Shadow Question #8--Expectations of a spouse

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:15 pm

The most difficult truth is that marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. Sometimes it is 90/10 for a while. And sometimes you get a lot more of the worse than you bargain for and less of the better. For us, it has worked to stick it out, but it sure was ugly for a while!


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