Expectations vs. Reality

*Disclaimer: I’m in no way offering advice on marriage here. My meager six years of marriage gives me absolutely no right to, I’m simply sharing my experience in a particular area of my marriage.

When we got married I thought I'd be a really great wife. I grew up learning how to do all the things a good wife does, so obviously the transition would be effortless; or so I thought. Naturally, I’d have a good job, a clean house, dinner on the table, and the laundry cleaned and folded. My husband would feel like royalty and I’d never be caught dead in yoga pants or sweatpants, after all a good wife always looks presentable.

Then this thing called real life hit me between the eyes.

I discovered I’m not all that great at the whole wife thing. I learned that I pretty much hate cooking, I’d rather scrub a toilet than fold laundry, working while trying to be a wife and mom is extremely challenging and emotionally draining at times, and sweatpants are really really comfortable. For real, they just are. While I wanted to be super woman and have it all together, I just couldn’t.

I was, and am still not, the wife I wanted to be. I wasn’t at all the wife I expected to be. I didn’t expect our first year of marriage to be what it was. I didn’t expect to be sitting in front of a counselor after only 12 months of what was suppose to be “wedded bliss." I didn’t expect my husband to tell me that he didn’t feel respected by me. After all, I was taught to love and respect my husband, even though looking back he feels he didn't deserved it. I didn’t expect to be so overwhelmed, so unprepared, so totally lost at times.

I also didn’t expect it to change...but it did.

In all honesty, It took me putting all my expectations aside. I didn’t have any, I started living in the moment and stopped living towards a moment. I put away the ideas and stereotypes I had of what marriage was suppose to look like and started to see what my marriage relationship needed. I stopped putting pressure on myself to be the wife I thought I had to be, and let go of the unrealistic expectations I had placed on my husband as well.  

And guess what, I discovered reality was better than my expectations.

Yes, there are hard times. No, I have not arrived...let's be real here, I’ve only made dinner once this week. I still don’t see eye to eye with my husband all the time and no, that’s not because I’m literally a foot shorter than him. But we’ve gotten to this place where we can be pretty real with each other and we’re okay with not having it all figured out. I’m totally okay with the fact that we’re very different from each other. I’m finally used to closing dresser drawers, kitchen cabinets, and open closets doors when my husband leaves the room. He’s happy to press “clear” on the microwave when I don’t reset it, place the toilet paper on the “right way,” and he even screws on the milk cap without even mentioning it any more. Clearly we’ve come along way ;-)

As we celebrated our six year anniversary this past weekend we talked a lot about our expectations as newly weds and our expectations now; they’re very different to say the least. Years ago an anniversary celebration would have been time away together, something nice and romantic. And while that does sound awesome, the day spent with our little three year old was even better. I know, and if you’ve followed me for any amount of time you know this to be true, putting your marriage relationship above your parenting job is something I feel very strongly about. I’m all about making special time for each other without kids around. But this year we celebrated how far we’ve come and that didn’t require anything more than the three of us being together.

Maybe your expectations need to be thrown out too. Perhaps it’s time to set aside those thoughts and ideas and just live your life. Don’t let outside pressures influence your thoughts about the way life should be...especially in this picture-perfect social media driven world we live in. Marriage is hard at times and there’s no need to add extra stress by bringing unrealistic expectations to the mix.

And yes...I’m wearing yoga pants, there’s laundry up to the ceiling, my house is almost as messy as my hair and dinner has not been started. Maybe we’ll get pizza.

If only I could take a picture of that to go with this post, but since we only have our pictures taken once a year I figured I put a dress on.

Photos by: Carrie Friesen Photogrphay