It was almost 17 years ago. The day I had dreamed of since I was just a sprout.
My wedding day.
It was going to be perfect. The wedding. The marriage. The Life.
I was full of dreams and expectations. While in my head I knew there would be hard days ahead, because fortunately for me, many well intending married people who saw my jaded eyes were very quick to advise me in these ways… “He brings you flowers now? Well that will change!” OR, “You just wait until you’ve been married as long as we have, then we will see how starry-eyed you are”.
It made me anxious as a young engaged woman. And also a bit soured at the bearer of the negative, rain on my parade, elder. I would say to myself… “Posh, they only tell on themselves”.
I dreamed of bridesmaids dresses and unity candles. I was single focused on chicken salad and wedding music. I didn’t need anyone bothering me with their negativity about the union I was about to commit to.
I was sure that it would be different for us. It would all be sort of like a marathon of sleep over’s. We would stay up late and share our dreams and secrets. (Of course we couldn’t talk about boys like I did at my childhood sleep over’s) But it would be a grown up sleep over and we would share our feelings. It would all be very deep and fun. He would know that what I need is undivided time and attention. It would not be perfect I knew…but it would be bliss.
Why else were so many people doing it?
On March 26, 1994 I looked that guy in the eyes and said “ I do”.
I will respect you. I do. I will honor you. I do. I will bring you good not harm. I do.
Till death do us part. I do.
And I am so glad I did!
My guy is exceptional I will be the first to tell you the truth on that.
He is sensitive and kind. He is helpful and encouraging. He is tender and funny. Faithful and honest.
I’m not just saying that because he will read this.
My love for him runs deeper than ever!
It’s not because my expectations of marriage were accurate. In fact, after the first week or two of him falling asleep in the middle of my late night chats I realized that I may have to lay down the expectation that he would be like my girlfriends and chatter on with me about his feelings. After all, how far can we get when I have asked my best questions in attempt to open him up and he responded with phrases such as, “I’m fine”. “It stinks”. “That’s nice”. “I don’t know”. “I’ll try”. And “I’m tired can we talk about this later?”
I had waited 22 years to hear my knight in shining armor say that?
The realization came to me after about year 3 that I hadn’t married my girlfriend and maybe I should stop trying to turn him into that. Maybe he didn’t like to shop with me. Or notice my shoes. Perhaps he had not been gifted at mind reading and guessing what social cues he had missed. Is that why I married him? So he could be like me?
Respect him. Was I?
How about all the disappointments over expectations that I had logged somewhere back in the shelves of my mind. Those things that I didn’t speak, I just assumed everyone knew. The feelings that I didn’t want to express because if I told him how badly I needed him to fill that void he would do it only out of obligation and that would feel forced and manipulative.
Honor him. Did I?
In marches baby 1, baby 2, and baby 3. With that came new challenges and as soon as one expectation was laid down it felt like I faced another. I had this overwhelming feeling that the life was being sucked right out of me as we entered year 7. It was difficult and I was turning 30. I loved mothering. I loved being a wife. But I was struggling with identity. I didn’t know who I was. I wanted him to fulfill me. Tell me who I was and offer me all I lacked. I was looking to him for happiness.
I will bring YOU good. Not harm.
And then…. One night I met someone who filled all those holes. He romanced me. He loved me unconditionally. He listened to me as long as I wanted to talk. He never fell asleep. He whispered the words I longed to hear, even before I asked him to say it. He gave me confidence and purpose. He let me dump on him and never told anyone my secrets. I fell hard.
I had known him all my life but I didn’t know how wonderful he was at love. He was my first love and I had come back to him.
It was a match made in heaven.
The funniest thing happened to me after that. My expectations of my earthly groom who I had promised to love in sickness and health started to change.
I realized that those negative Nelly’s that told me how dreadful my future looked were right.
When our focus is on our imperfect mate and keeping track of what he does or doesn't do for our pleasure, we will live in disappointment and anger.
There is another.
Anything our earthly partner does for us is extra.
When we meet the ultimate romancer we can live fulfilled without flowers and poetry because he is the only absolute love we will ever encounter. The amazing thing is even though he’s my eternal flame, He can be yours as well!
Maybe you need to hear that there is one who will fill all the holes in your heart. The fulfilment of your highest expectations will be met in him. You may even find that the things you thought were so important will dim as you dance with the one who knows how you were formed.
The molding of your heart to his.
A marriage in the making.