Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Expectations: One Year Later

So when you decide you want to get married, it is recommended that you participate in pre-marital counseling. I fully support this recommendation and believe it is a powerful tool to help both parties prepare for life together. I also believe that the conversation must be continued and the couple must always be willing to discuss life as it changes and as you change, and change will happen.

So during pre-marital counseling we were asked to share our expectations of marriage. Our study was very detailed and gave us a list of common tasks and we had to tell who we expected to complete them.  We discussed what we envisioned for our finances, home, children, work, etc. I believe that we were very open and honest with each other and it helped our first year of marriage be less confusing and frustrating than it could have been. Of course, confusion and frustration cannot be avoided completely when dealing with two people living in a broken world. People fail, things are out of our control and expectations grow and change. And neither of us ever having been married before, a bit of it was just a guessing game.

So a year later, we asked ourselves, what has changed? What have I learned about you, myself, and us in the past year that can help us create a smoother transition into our second year? So we each made a list of three things we expect of the other person that we feel is different or new since we first began (one of the items had to be related to our faith, as that is very important to us) and three things we've grown to expect of ourselves in the past year.

I'm not going to share everything, but I will share some.

I'll start with an expectation I now have of myself, because (1) honestly I'm the only person in the whole wide world that I can control and (2) I've first got to take responsibility for the role I play in this marriage before looking outside of myself to fix something.

So I've learned that I need to be more flexible with my expectations. I can't go through life expecting TJ to do things the way I would, because he's not me. There's a saying that goes, "If you want it done right, you've got to do it yourself" and I say that's a bunch of baloney! Only do it yourself if you insist on having it done your way. And if you insist on doing it your way, don't be annoyed if other people stop doing things all together. So, I'm loosening up a little bit and it's making everyone happier and more things are being accomplished, and, GASP, my way may not have been the absolute only way in the entire world to do things.

What really surprised me during this exercise in expectations is how much I didn't know about myself last year.  For example, I learned that I came into this marriage with an expectation for TJ and I to do everything together, and that is just plain unrealistic and just setting both of us and our marriage up for struggle and failure. So that went out the window.

I learned that I am responsible for my own well-being, physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, in all ways. If something is missing or needs to be corrected, my husband is there to help me and push me, but he can't solve the issue himself. I must be willing to do the work and put in the effort and accept that what I need (like shopping - yeah, yeah, not a need itself, but it fulfills a need to be creative and do new things) aren't necessarily things my husband will jump for joy and do excitedly. And that's OK, because I certainly don't jump for joy over Black Ops or sports.

Now onto an expectation I have of TJ. I'd like to point out that once again, this is really a lesson I learned about myself. I didn't realize before how much I enjoy getting little, surprise gifts (like FLOWERS) because I've never considered myself to be a gifts person. I'm more of a quality time gal (and TJ is so absolutely amazing at spending time with me in quality ways), so this was very surprising to me. So one of my expectations for TJ is to be even more romantic than he already is (which is a ton) and in a new way by surprising me with small gifts.

I wanted to record this brief glimpse into our discussions about our marriage for multiple reasons:
(1) I hope that it may help someone else to realize how important expectations are when living your life with another person,
(2) I want to remember this a year from now when we do it again, and five and ten years from now and see just how different we are then,
(3) I hope someone sees that its okay to change your mind, it doesn't mean you have to change your spouse.

So there ya go.

P.S. Not all of our expectations changed. It was also interesting to recognize how well we knew ourselves and each other a year ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...