Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Expectations in Marriage (Part 2)

"Do you think she should be a cupcake and we could be bakers? Or would you rather her be a sunflower and we could be gardeners? Or is there another one you like better?" I continued to press Zach for a response as we searched for JaiseAnn's first Halloween costume. My eagerness to choose the perfect costume was met with responses like, "I don't know," "Sure," and "I guess?" Our family venture to pick out our daughter's first Halloween costume left me feeling disappointed and defeated. 

On our drive home, I was sitting next to my husband and reviewing all the reasons I was upset: He wasn't taking an active role in this experience. In fact, he rarely took an active role in any experience. Didn't he care? Didn't he love these things as much as I did? Why was he not participating in our family? Fuming, I was just about to begin sharing ALL THE FEELINGS with him, when I had an epiphany. An epiphany that was likely five years too late, but still. Maybe Zach didn't have a picture in his head about holidays like I did. Maybe he didn't have the same expectations for holidays and if I didn't clearly share those with him, how would he know? 

handling holidays as a married couple

Rather than yell at him, I decided to calmly explain to him that this experience was a big deal to me because I wanted to have a fun family costume for JaiseAnn's first Halloween. I was picturing going to our ward Trunk-Or-Treat, visiting family to show off JaiseAnn in her costume, and cute pictures of our family's first Halloween together--perfectly placed in her baby book under "Your First Halloween." 

I picture everything--I picture the rest of my day when I wake up, I picture date nights, I picture holidays, and I picture parts of our future on a very regular basis and I still don't realize that my husband doesn't. If I don't clue him in on what those things look like to me, it's hard for him to care. And if he doesn't seem to understand how important it is to me, I get upset, disappointed, and I get my feelings hurt.

We have a long way to go, but I now realize that I need to let Zach know that I expect him to wake up with (or before) me on Mother's Day and make me breakfast. I have to let him know that I'd like family pictures on Easter. I have to let him know that it would be nice if Santa left something in my stocking. It's give and take--Santa visits every year, but I have never gotten a visit from the Easter bunny. I have to share the way I see holidays and expect them to play out with my husband, and it's important that he listens and takes it to heart. I also have to let some of the things go when he doesn't play along with my silly games and forgets to care about something that matters to me.

One of those future things I picture, is a future us where we have finally figured out the expectations thing. Zach cares a little more and I care a little less. We are not there yet, but someday I hope to be. In the meantime, I have learned that if you have an expectation in your marriage that is left unshared--it can cause a lot of disappointment and heartbreak that otherwise could have been avoided. 

How do you handle expectations in your marriage? Are you on the same page as your spouse when it comes to holidays?

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