Thursday, February 5, 2015

Newlywed lesson: expectations

(this has been in "draft" mode for a bit...)

i think that i have identified the primary source of our (mine & GTs) major and minor disagreements.
unmet expectations

we were going to a late movie at 8:45pm.
like i said- late.
in between getting the boys to bed, we got dressed and ready for the movie at different times.
when we finally said, "ok, let's go", our attire did not match up and we gave each other a double-take.
GT was in some old work pants, a hoodie and a "pull-through ponytail" (i put that in quotes because those are his words).
i am dressed as if we were going on a date...a casual one, but still... no hoodie.

that's where it started. 
i made a little quip about his clothing choice and his driving on the way to the theatre.
he got aggravated (rightfully so) and i got my feelings hurt.
a great start to a rare movie date.

we drive along in silence for a few minutes and i softly mutter out an "i'm sorry"
he starts telling me why he got frustrated and said, "we're going to a late movie, i want to be comfortable and you come out wearing lipstick and short boots".

different expectations about the evening

luckily, we've both learned a few things in our few years of marriage and were holding hands as a team once the movie started. 

when i think back on all of our arguments, disagreements, fights-however you want to label them-there have been a few....clear throat. 
the root, most always, is unspoken and therefore unmet expectations.
whether it be me expecting him to get my honey-do list completed in a day and him planning it out for the following weekend (or 6 months. let's be real)
him expecting a calm, quiet saturday morning at home and i plan a days worth of activities

if we don't voice our expectations upfront...they're very likely to be unmet or unsatisfied.
and it's not that we don't want to meet each others expectations.
on the contrary, we both delight in taking care of one another.
but, we are two completely different people and sometimes, our plans and thoughts just don't match up.

i think we all seem to get upset when our expectations are unmet:
we expect people to comment on what we're wearing and tell us how great we look and no one even notices.
we expect to love a new hamburger at Wendys and it has too much mayonnaise
we expect our best friend to show up to a birthday party and they forgot.
we expect our children to nap and they ate too much sugar at Mothers Day Out and can't settle down and just keep doing flips in their bed and talking to their stuffed animals (not that this is happening as i type)
we expect our husband to wake up with the baby in the middle of the night and he never hears them crying
we expect our wife to wife to cook healthy meals when you're trying to lose weight and she just keeps using butter
you get the point.
unmet expectations leave us feeling tired, frustrated, angry, irritated, sad, you name it- usually not a positive feeling.
i suppose you could just have lower or more realistic expectations.
or you can work on your maturity and emotional stability, so that when your expectations aren't met, you don't have an emotional breakdown.
just some suggestions.

more deeply rooted, are the expectations we have for the roles within the family as typically defined by our family growing up.
how involved is a husband and father with the children?
does he expect his wife to cook a meal every night and clean afterwards?
or does she expect the man to do the dishes?
what does he expect of a wife in regards to working outside the home?
what does she expect of her husband when it comes to doing laundry, handling finances, buying cars, etc, etc, etc?
what do we expect?

our expectations arise from various sources
what we saw in our own family, from watching our parents
or from movies, television or books
our own dreams

no matter what we expect to happen or how we expect someone else to act, in a marriage relationship i think it is incredibly important to vocalize this to our spouses.
and to have realistic expectations
even with the little things.
communicate ahead of time.

marriage 101...communication, right?
we're still working on it.

and i strongly suspect we will still be working on it in 10 years and even in 50 years.

(thanks again to Stephen for our lovely photos)

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