1. The right person will meet all my needs
Even if you have found your “soul mate,” one person cannot be the sole source of your need satisfaction. That’s too big a burden, and impossible besides. Your partner is a human being, not an all-knowing, all-compassionate, love machine. You’ll need multiple sources – God, friends, a strong sense of life purpose, healthy self esteem, and a willingness to take responsibility for your own happiness.
2. I can change my partner
OK, out there, hands up if you’ve ever tried this one. Did it work? Both men and women fall prey to this delusional temptation. There is only one person you can change. Guess who it is? Thomas a Kempis said, “Be not angry that you cannot make another as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
3. Love will conquer all
Though love is ultra-powerful in its pure and spiritual form, the feelings we call love can be ultra-fragile in the face of major differences in values, backgrounds, behavioral styles, and personal habits. Courageously face those differences and their practical implications before making a commitment. (I hear a resounding “Amen!” from those who did not!)
4. Love is a feeling
I hinted at this one a moment ago. Yes, real love contains feelings, but those butterfly-in-the-stomach, heart-throbbing feelings ebb and flow. Love is a verb. It’s about doing - even in those temporary times when you inconveniently don’t have wonderful feelings to stimulate the positive action.
5. We'll live happily ever after
There’s an additional hidden assumption here: If it’s real love, you won’t have to work at it. Even the best relationships have potholes, tragedies, and disappointments. As Shakespeare said, “The true course of love will never run smooth.” Truth is, a marriage certificate is really a work permit. Sometimes the most important thoughts we have are those that contradict our emotions. In every stage of a relationship, especially in the early stages, love can be blind.
Get real in your expectations, and you can save yourself from many unnecessary disappointments.
I think Ben Franklin had it right when he said, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half shut afterward.”