In This Series:

1. When Expectations Meet Reality
2. Why Isn’t Marriage the Way I Thought It Would Be?

  1. Why Isn’t My Wife the Person I Thought She Was?
    4. Viewing Your Wife in a New Light
    5. Why Isn’t My Husband the Person I Thought He Was?
    6. Viewing Your Husband in a New Light
    7. Did I Marry the Wrong Person?
    8. How Can I Change My Spouse?

Was your wife someone different before you got married? Has she changed for the worse over time?

It’s much more likely that you saw her through rose-coloured glasses while you were dating, and now the glasses are off. And guess what? You’re probably not the person she thought you were, either.

Before the wedding, differences tend to seem intriguing, interesting, and attractive. A few months or years into the marriage, however, what seemed so inviting in the semi-fantasy world of dating now seems considerably less than idyllic.

That beautiful angel you married turns out to be a real woman. She has flaws that weren’t previously apparent. She may handle things in ways that you find inefficient, and isn’t interested in your suggestions about how to do them differently — even though, from your viewpoint, your ways are obviously superior.

You discover to your shock that she has the capacity to express a range of emotions not plumbed in your dating days. You hadn’t felt that hot edge of her temper nor the cold, steely glare she now feels free to display.

Perhaps your wife has expectations you never guessed were there. You assumed hers would match yours — and they don’t.

How do these "mistakes" occur?

Barbie and Carl were so in love. They wanted to be with each other constantly. Unable to endure the thought of a long, drawn-out courtship, they married within three months of their first meeting.

Barbie was a life-of-the-party sort of girl — a social butterfly. A former high school cheerleader, she was bubbly and happy-go-lucky.

Carl was an A student at University. He had serious career plans in accounting and business. He liked books and challenging discussions about theology and politics. Not having dated many girls, he was in a daze when Barbie was willing to go out with him.

Barbie saw Carl as a responsible, mature man who’d provide stability and security in her life. Carl saw Barbie as the perfect compliment to his otherwise rather pedestrian life.

They quickly decided they were perfect for each other. Surely they’d have no problems that couldn’t easily be resolved.

Two years into their marriage, though, there was a deep rift in their relationship. Carl was coming home from the office just wanting to read a book or have some quiet space. He didn’t want to talk to Barbie about her day or her shopping plans for the next day. At bedtime he didn’t feel very amorous.

Barbie seemed frustrated and angry when Carl had no interest in dinner parties or going out dancing with her old friends. Going to church on Sunday mornings was more than enough social life for him.

Carl was angry and frustrated, too. Barbie was chronically late and seemed not to care how annoying this was to him. She was running up bills on the credit card and was irresponsible about paying them. She visited the hair salon frequently, apparently wanting to look very sexy when going out. In his view she was a terrible housekeeper, leaving the place in a mess most of the time.

What had gone so terribly wrong with this relationship? Had Barbie really changed? (Continued in Viewing Your Wife in a New Light)

© 2006 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission. From Focus on the Family’s Complete Guide to the First Five Years of Marriage published by Tyndale House Publishers.

Next in this Series: Viewing Your Wife in a New Light

Phillip J. Swihart

Phil Swihart is director of counselling services and community relations for the counselling department at Focus on the Family.

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