So, what were you thinking… What if we did get down and dirty about relationship expectations? Here are my top five expectations that show up in nearly all vibrant relationships. If you have these and become user-friendly with them, you’ll be able swim in the relational mud baths with ease.

1. Expect your relationship to be difficult at times. Don’t avoid the dirt! All relationships take effort to make it successful. And when there is “effort,” there is also problems. And successful problem-solving

breeds new depths of connection (if you let it!).

2. Expect to throw your childhood (or wedding day) dreams out the window! All newlyweds and couples tend to have a handful of dreams that they carry into the relationship. When those dreams don’t come to fruition, most couples get disillusioned and resentful. Let your dreams change over time.

3. Expect that you will be not be as “vibrant” as you thought you were. In other words, keep yourself humble. Your partner will not always have those can’t-wait-to-see you feelings throughout the day. In fact, as your body changes with age (aka “diminishment”), be intentional to attract from the inside (your heart), not the outside.

4. Expect that “life changes” will change your life. A vibrant relationship leaves room for change and isn’t afraid of it when it comes. They understand that children, jobs, health, perspective and more, are par for the course, and learn to adapt and grow with the changes.

5. Expect that you will at times “fall out of love.” This goes against all the romance novels and movies and any other source of fantasy. The truth is, unlike “commitment love,” everybody falls out of the feelings of love several times in their relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the gushy romantic closeness. Vibrant relationships expect feelings to come and go, while working to jump start connection on a regular basis.

Kevin Barwick, LCPC