Many couples today are older, more mature, and have more life experience than couples who married a generation or two ago. Does that mean they enter marriage without the rose-colored glasses that blinds them to their spouse’s shadow side? Maybe not.
Human nature doesn’t change much from generation to generation. Most couples still enter marriage with high hopes and ideals. But if couples fully understood the ramifications of “I do,” would anyone be brave enough to commit? Perhaps it’s like becoming a parent. At the time of conception we may have been fully committed to bringing a new life into the world. As a child grows, however, parents often wonder what they were thinking.
Disillusionment can arise out of silly little things such as fixating on the personality quirks or annoying habits of your spouse. Does she chatter on about insignificant details while you are trying to read the sports page? Does he fuss that your cleaning efforts aren’t up to his standards?
The most common (and perhaps troubling) disillusionment, however, often is phrased as “I just don’t know if I love him (her) anymore.” It’s usually accompanied by a general feeling of loss of excitement and passion for your spouse. You wonder where the romantic feelings of earlier days went. Life might be OK. Nothing tragic or earth-shattering has happened, but it all just seems dull or boring. Is this all that marriage is supposed to be?
Fortunately, both the minor disillusionments and not “feeling” love can often be helped by attending a marriage enrichment program. Marriage enrichment is not meant for couples who have serious problems. It’s for ordinary couples who want to grow closer together or who move their relationship out of a rut.
Marriage enrichment programs will not tell you whose cleaning standards are the right ones. They will usually enhance your communication skills for resolving this yourself. They’ll give you special time away to rediscover and renew your love.
Major disillusionments usually require specialized programs and/or counseling.