I think we all can humble ourselves and raise our hands to this post. And I personally think that communicating expectations is something that you continue to learn throughout marriage. Or I at least hope so, because I'm slowly getting better at it! Jess, like you and me, can relate and share some encouragement for us all! She's a dear friend, passionate writer, gifted English teacher and past bride of mine, and she's sharing her gift with us all on the blog today! I fall into her writing so easily, because she's truly so gifted with words. I'm grateful she's sharing on such a topic that I know we call can relate. I hope you leave with a delicious cup of coffee and boost of encouragement! You can follow Jess' journey on her blog!
You know the feeling. It’s the one you get when your spouse knows exactly what you want in any given moment without having to ask. He just surprises you, whisks you away, or (insert desired action here). I was certain that would be marriage every weekend. A magical time of fun and adventures all planned and executed by my husband.
Before you can tell me how selfish I am--I know--let’s rewind a bit.
It was maybe four weeks after we moved to Dallas, amounting to a whopping total of six weeks of marriage. Presley was working a door-to-door sales job that kept him out from 9 am to 9 pm, Monday-Saturday. I worked morning shifts at Starbucks from 4:30 am until about 9:30 am. Yep, you heard that right. We never saw each other. Mind you, I also did not know a soul within hundreds of miles, and had to drive on the big scary highways if I wanted to do anything at all.
It was a Sunday morning--a sacred day for quality time. I decided it would be so awesome to skip church and go on a little adventure or something to explore the metroplex.
Of course, I didn’t need to communicate this to Pres.
He’s my soulmate! Of course he would be thinking the same thing. He would wake up, get ready, and promptly sweep me off my feet by saying, “Get in the car, little lady! We are skipping church!”
Suddenly, I heard him start to make breakfast, and it dawned on me. His mind was nowhere near this adventure, which meant I would have to tell him.
Rationally, I started to cry. In our teensy-tiny apartment, the only place I could hide my crying was the closet. I went in there, shut the door, and sobbed.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, my husband didn’t pick up on my plan? What do you mean, he didn’t want to spend time adventuring with me instead of going to church with people we don’t even know?
You see, I love surprises. I love the idea of Presley thinking up a scheme and executing it without my knowledge.
However, after a little over two years of marriage, I’ve learned a bit about Presley’s brain and a lot about letting go.
He’s usually thinking: Jess is not very spontaneous, and likes to have a plan. True. She likes to be ready and dressed up when we go somewhere. Mostly true. It helps the stress of the week if we can get chores done on Sunday. Very true.
After many fights, even more discussions and attempts at understanding, we arrived at the fact that random spontaneity was a rare exception to my many internal rules.
Marriage Tip: Don’t assume your love knows all the exceptions to your rulebook. In fact, don’t assume he knows all your rules yet, either!
Just because you commit to being husband and wife on your wedding day doesn’t mean you’ve become partners yet! The becoming--the learning, the messing up, the laughing and loving together--it never stops. In fact, that in between space when we’ve learned the most about each other has become one of my favorite parts of marriage.
Hey babe, remember when you discovered I was crazy enough to lock myself in the closet and cry about something I never told you I wanted?
You have to evaluate every situation and decide which part you are more willing to let go. Is it more important to you to do the given thing you have in your mind, or is it more important for you to be surprised? I’ve discovered that telling Presley I want to go to Downtown Fort Worth for a Date Night does not take away the fun of the Date Night. It won’t ruin the surprise, just tell him what you want!
Fast forwarding back to the present, I have a new definition of adventures. It looks a lot less like getting fancy and going somewhere crazy. It looks a lot more like driving through a new neighborhood or scamming the sample-system at Costco. Telling your husband what you want takes away the pressure of fairytale magic and leaves room for the kind of magic that takes the cake--the mundane, the everyday, the authentic rhythms of life together.