The Danger of Expectations (in Marriage and Travel)

One of the many precautions we take in our travels is getting the proper immunizations. Before our Amazon trek, we went in to our local medical clinic and said, give us everything you’ve got! We felt like human pin cushions! Those pesky shots, while painful in the short term prepared our bodies to reject the attack of those pesky yellow fever things. But no immunization or medication can protected someone from an unrealized expectation. We have found this out the hard way.

Perception is Reality?

We just returned from a two week trip to Asia, visiting both Thailand and Cambodia.    I had lived in Taiwan for a couple of years in college, this was Luci’s first visit to the Orient. It was so intriguing to watch her experience a new culture, and dispel and confirm some of her preconceptions. She thought that the food would be spicy, and it was! In other areas she discovered that she was completely off base. Each new place we visit we arrive with the rose colored glasses of glossy guidebooks. (That’s one reason we love the travel blogging community, for its candid un-gussied up descriptions.) As travelers, we tend to be  loaded with pre-conceptions. These notions rarely hit the mark.


Pinterest Perfect?

Just like travel, we build in our minds some times unrealistic expectations from our marriages/ relationships. We think things should be a certain way.  Simply because…that’s the way things happen in the movies or on TV. Why would we want to model a relationship after a fictional portrayal? #epicfail ! (I just used a hashtag as a complete sentence! Cross that off the bucket list!) Our culture, our environment push us to envision and quite frankly expect the ideal. Look no further than Pinterest to see well-meaning people create a palette of perfection. The never ending quest for the perfect wedding centerpiece. Then there’s the dress! All of this leads us to create in our mind an expectation, typically unrealistic and unattainable.

Is that really healthy?

How to overcome?

Some of the best advice we have ever received was offered by Javier, our young Peruvian guide in the Amazon Jungle. Before embarking on our night safari in the Jungle he counseled us, “don’t set your heart on seeing any one animal or insect..just enjoy what you find in the jungle.” Wise words for sure. We have often reflected on this advice. Enjoy the ride. Don’t say..i want this, that and the other or the experience is an abject failure. Don’t do that to yourself. Enjoy the journey for what it is. Leave your expectations at the lodge of life and open your heart to the experience.

Finding the perfect in the one you love

Come up with your own perfect. One thing that we have discovered in 15 years of marriage and 25 some years of friendship is that neither one of is perfect. We likely know each other’s flaws and quirks better than anyone else in the galaxy. For a relationship to thrive, we can’t expect our lover to be a combo of every perfect character we have read about in Jane Austen novels. Likewise, it is completely unrealistic and a little dangerous to expect our sweetheart to look like a supermodel 24/7. It is up to us to find the best in those we love, especially our significant other.


How do you overcome your preconceptions? What are your secrets to rejecting the pressure for perfection? Let us know in the comments below.


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5 Responses to The Danger of Expectations (in Marriage and Travel)

  1. Ryan McCoy May 31, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    All of the happiest people I know do not shoot for perfection, but acceptance of whatever their best efforts bring them. Great post again guys!

  2. 1000 Fights June 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    So true! There is nothing wrong with seeking the best, but with the realization that perfection is really not fair to peg on some one. Cheers!

  3. magictravelblog June 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    I think you truly get to know your partner when you travel together. Living together is like first base as you only end up seeing each other a few hours a day before you sleep next to each other. Travelling, on the other hand, you end up being together for 24 hours a day, for however many days. Couples should HAVE to travel together before they even consider making house. Traveling is where you really get to know yourself and each other…

  4. A Nomadic Translator August 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    all very well said. The moment I stopped having expectations about where I would end up (in love, career, travel), I led a much happier life! =)

  5. Alissa April 30, 2013 at 3:46 am #

    On perceptions of places, I’ve found that reflection on a place after you’ve visited helps to set expectations of future travels. Understanding what you expected vs. what you experienced in Thailand might help to realistically set the bar for the next stop, say Laos. Writing our blog has helped me think a lot more about expectations and realities of a place way more than I have before. On relationships, I could be better at applying that same principle, but still working on it!