Relationship Expectations

This post is for you.
All of you.
The married and the unmarried.
The ones who struggle with expectations and let-downs. The ones who leave every experience feeling defeated, frustrated, isolated, or alone. The ones who find themselves saying “but why not this way” often.
I hear you.
I am with you.
I get it.

A few weeks ago while visiting home I was sitting on the guest bed and talking to my aunt about all of the changes going on right now in my life and in my marriage. I was sharing how I felt like things weren’t “going as I though they would” and she asked me a really simple but completely profound question; “Well, why do you feel like that?”. I kind of sat there and without even realizing it was the truth said “because I feel like it should be going x,y,z way” and she gently responded “and why should it go that way? It’s probably because you’ve been told it should, or read that it should, or have seen on social media that it should; but everyone is different.”

If you’re anything like me you read a lot of articles, books, talk to people, look at surveys, and see social media and think you should be doing options a-z to safeguard, build, protect, and enjoy your marriage (or relationship, or job, or friendship). And you know what? It just isn’t always that easy.
We are taught things wrong far too often, we are led to believe that if something isn’t going the way of the “norm” then it’s wrong and you should be concerned. I’ve read so many books over my adult life on marriage and building a healthy Christ-centered foundation, and do you want to know how I feel after reading all of that right now? About thiiiiissssss small. Marriage isn’t a follow this guide and you’ll get this result; it’s about learning.

What even is “a normal marriage” anyways?
I’ve gathered from what the media puts out that that it’s being able to spend evenings and weekends with your spouse and go on these great adventures with them. You should also be having deep conversations at least 3 times a week, sex more than that, and if you’re not doing ____ well then, prepare for the struggle.

The truth is, Eddie and I have been a part a lot of the first 6 months of our marriage. With his job (Navy) and going out to sea and spending a lot of time at work he is over-stressed and exhausted and when we do get time together in the same city a lot of it is spent relaxing and just enjoying each others company – what do they say now? Netflix and chill. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s just US and our season right now; and yet I’m feeling this “pressure” to have all of these other things happening. We SHOULD be going to the lake and kayaking, or going to eat a fancy dinner, or setting a nice picnic at a park…right? That’s what I’m being fed by instagram, blog posts, and all advice columns.

Well, let me just break this down right now, for the real and nitty-gritty of it all.
Marriage isn’t this predictable thing where you should be crossing off all of these boxes to create something perfect. It’s about enjoying the time you have, however much or little it is, with the other person and investing in them. In the last 2 months some days Eddie and I haven’t even been able to speak with each other, others we get a 5 minute phone call and coming up we will have a small window to just love on each other for a few weeks, and good Lord it will be glorious.

I’m just tired of feeling bitter.
Bitter at the wives who get to see their husbands every night and weekend, bitter at the single ladies who don’t feel the struggle to create a perfect marriage, bitter at myself for being so dang ridiculous. That isn’t the way my heart is happy and I don’t want to be that way any longer.

The truth is – I’m just rambling and I really just wanted to put it out there that if you’re struggling keeping up with expectations or perfection it’s ok to just let it fall; there is no such thing.
Perfection can be just as simple as a fancy dinner outside of the house or curling up with each other on the couch watching Wicked Tuna.
Let’s throw away these feelings of not good enough and continue to invest and build up the good things in our lives.

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