This weeks topic of conversation is Expectations in Marriage. I am not a marriage counselor, nor do I profess to have all the answers (maybe). I’m just talking about marriage from my point of view, being married to my husband.
I believe my expectations of what marriage is supposed to look like and be like, has been the one thing that made those first few years the hardest. I got married at 28 years old, which wasn’t exactly young but for me. But it was my first real commitment outside of the commitment to have my first born without help from his donor. So I went from having a part-time boy toy of 4 years with no commitment to starting a family in a short amount of time. I had this notion that now I was married life was good. All of those darn fairy tales and some of my favorite song always talked about the “Knight in Shining Armor”… I thought I had found him, kind of… I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I figured we would work at it and life would be great. No, really, I really thought that. Our marriage wasn’t completely routed in God, but I figured I was half of the relationship and my love for God would triumph over that. HaHa! How young and silly I was.
My expectations have had the potential to ruin things and have caused major problems within our relationship. When Ike didn’t come with me to school functions for the kiddos, even after we had talked about it the night before. I would get so pissed and we would end up in a huge argument. When bills didn’t get paid on time or we didn’t have the money to get the kiddos something they wanted, he was a failure at being a provider. When he would continue to get me chocolates for every present, I would get so ticked and throw it back at him and say, “You obviously don’t know me that well, and don’t care to get to know me.” When we would get into an argument and he would say things like, “Well tell me again, I don’t remember.” I would about LOSE my mind and go postal. I’m telling you those first few years of our marriage was HARD, and when I say hard I mean Freaking HARD! To the point where I was ready to jump ship. I spent a great deal of my free time on my knees praying, asking for guidance because it just seemed like it was harder than it was supposed to be.
Before getting married I was a single mother, doing the DAYUM thang (sorry that just sounds so cool… insert how one can tell how old I am, ha!). I supported myself and my son, we had a roof over our heads, food in our bellys and clothes on our back. The child was a loved, spoiled little brat and I did that. I remember the day I did cartwheels and about flipped when I was told I “made too much money to qualify for any assistance”, and then I rejoiced again when I moved into the ranks of upper low income, I was finally above that cut-off and I was freaking proud of myself. So getting married should have boosted that, right?
I was also an independent, strong, stubborn, smart mouthed woman. I raised my fist in the air for women’s vagina’s and their right to do with it and any other parts of their bodies as they please, there was no way in H.E.L.L. I was going to bow down to some dude. Even if that dude was my husband. My mantra was I didn’t need you before, and I definitely don’t need you now. I was taught to handle your business, to always live somewhere you can afford if your man left you. I was pretty much groomed to live a life alone. It was cool with me though, I had friends, God and the family I had made for myself.
So if you are following where I am going with this, you can see where my expectations came crashing into reality. Strong, independent woman meet… your strong, independent husband. Overall, the tone of our marriage was I can do it when you decide you want to leave, so when you do choose said path. Don’t let the freaking door hit you in the ass on the way out #POW!
I’ve found that when I stopped living in the zone of possibly being alone, to stop living in the box that those before me lived in. That life and my marriage seemed to thrive a bit more. I mean when one is raised in an environment where men are only needed when you need them, well, that’s how you tend to navigate life. I didn’t need a man to raise my child, to support me, to pay my bills. I paid the cost to be the boss in my shit, and no one was gonna come in and switch that up.
I found I needed to let go of all of my expectations, and reform my thoughts on what I wanted my marriage to be like. Because for me the lack was not in my expectations or in my reality. The lack was where my reality did not meet up with my expectations. I was looking for the knight in shining armor to come and sweep me off my feet, but I wasn’t allowing the man that I had married to love me at his full potential. I know sometimes peoples best aren’t always good enough, but I wasn’t giving him any benefit and I was robbing myself and him of that opportunity.
Life is filled with the unexpected. Relationships with another person in such a short amount of time, with all the things we had going on… was intense and full of the unexpected. Some we handled gracefully and others, well, we will leave those for later conversations. I can focus on what I don’t have, or how my life isn’t the way I had hoped, or, or, or. But I’ve been learning that there are so many other things that could have gone wrong. So many other ways our situation could have gone the other way. And instead of dwelling on that I am going to rejoice and be Thankful for the good times, for the health that we do have, for the love that we share. I am going to be thankful for what is, not what could have been or should have been.
In no way am I saying I’m cured and I don’t occasionally get frustrated, I’m just saying I am aware of those things and I am learning to change my thinking. And when I need help, God gets an earful. I think I have finally reached the stage where I can see us going the long haul, as a matter of fact I am planning (God willing) our 10th Anniversary celebration. Yeah I know, a bit premature. But our goal is to be in The Virgin Islands renewing our vows, and well, that takes planning, money and time… March 31st will be 6 years, and I can’t be more excited. It’s the little things, enjoy them!