Guess what! I have figured my marriage out. I was married for just under 10 years, then divorced. I have remarried, and this year will be celebrating my fourteenth year anniversary. Guess what I have learned…
The biggest cause of problems in a marriage are UNMET EXPECTATIONS. And upon learning that, I realized I needed to change how I thought, and acted, and reacted.
WE ALL HAVE UNMET EXPECTATIONS
tWe all have unmet expectations. I’m going to share some examples that might make you laugh, and you might even relate to this. This event happened years ago……so it’s funny now. It wasn’t funny at the time….but now as I look back and reflect on what I’ve learned, and how much I’ve grown, I thought I would share with others, so they could learn from my mistakes too!
Unmet expecations – what are they? When we EXPECT another person to act, or do something that WE want. The funny thing about expectations is….that the OTHER person (who you have expectations for) doesn’t have a CLUE that you are expecting them to do something…..
MY “WHO’S COOKING DINNER STORY”
Okay – here’s the story….
I was at work, very tired, and forcing myself to keep it together, because I needed to rush home, and then head out the door to teach piano lessons. Paul had the day off, and was at home. When I left work at 4:30 p.m., I got in my car, and thought to myself, “I sure hope Paul starts making dinner”. I had more of these types of thoughts, and eventually got to “he probably won’t be making dinner. He’s probably being a lazy bum, and playing games on the computer.” Well, after having these thoughts almost all the way home, I was pretty sure he would NOT have dinner ready, even though I reasoned in my mind that he SHOULD have dinner ready. So, I worked myself into a frenzy, and by the time I got home, I was pretty MAD already, because I was almost positive dinner would NOT be on the table.
Swing over to Paul. He was sitting at his computer, playing games online, and he looked at the clock around 4:30 p.m. and thought to himself, “I should probably make dinner – Donna is tired, and she’s going to be in a hurry. What should I make?” The more he thought about it, he couldn’t figure it out, so decided that he would just wait for me to come home. After thinking about that, he decided that I would probably come home, and be mad at him for not making dinner. That wasn’t enough to motivate him to make dinner, but what happened is he started getting mad at ME, because he KNEW I was going to be mad at him.
Back to me. I pulled up in the driveway, came in, up the stairs, and of course, no action was going on in the kitchen. Paul was in his office, JUST LIKE I KNEW HE WOULD BE. He got up, came to hug me, and I was as stiff as a board. “What’s wrong?” he asked me.
THE ANGER UNLOADING BEGINS
WHAM. I unloaded. “You could have at LEAST started dinner…you KNEW I was in a rush……blah blah blah blah blah blah……” etc. etc.
WHAM. Paul unloaded. “I KNEW you were going to be mad at me….Blah blah blah….etc. etc.”
We both pushed each other away, I made dinner in a complete snit, and he retreated back to his office. We didn’t talk through dinner, and when I left for teaching that night, I made sure I slammed the door, so he would KNOW that I was still mad at him.
CHATTING ABOUT OUR EXPECTATIONS
A few days later, we chatted, and what Paul said to me was really profound. He said “Donna, if you wanted me to start dinner, why didn’t you just call and ask? I would have happily started, if you had asked, and maybe given me some ideas.”
CLICK. The lightbulb went on. How could I possibly get mad at Paul for not making dinner, when I didn’t ask, and he didn’t usually prepare it anyhow? I did not have the RIGHT to behave so badly. I went and asked him to forgive me for behaving so badly, and he gave me a huge hug, with a huge grin, and said “of course baby!”
ASK FOR HELP, ASK ASK ASK!
Guess what? EVERY SINGLE TIME I have asked him to help, he has helped me. And I mean that. EVERY time. Not just once, but every time. (and not just dinner!) Is that amazing or what! All I have to do is ask. Men cannot read our minds, they CANNOT possibly know what we expect of them, unless we say it.
Now – this doesn’t mean we can be unreasonable with what we ask. Put the shoe on the other foot. If your hubby asked YOU to do something, would you do it? Just because he asked? Something to think about!!!
YOU DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO FORCE YOUR SPOUSE TO DO SOMETHING YOU WANT
Which leads me to example number two:
We do NOT have the right to be grumpy and angry at our husbands, if they don’t want to do something WE want them to do. They are allowed to say “no, I don’t want to do that”
For example: you want to go and see Mamma Mia, but he doesn’t want to. Are you going to make him feel guilty, or pressure him into it, until he goes, but he’s miserable? Would you want him to force you to go to a car show if you didn’t want to go? NO! So – we need to learn to respect each other, and stop trying to control each other with moods, snits, or rudeness. Or the worse weapon – crying…..
MY BAD ATTITUDE BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET MY WAY
Okay – here’s the other example.
I get a coupon card twice a year from Tommy Hilfigger, and when I do – my sister and I go together and shop shop shop! This year, my card arrived, and I wanted to shop with Laura. I gave her a call, and this time her hubby wanted to come along too. They have 2 children, and since I wanted to shop childless, I asked Paul if he was willing to watch their kids for an hour or so, while I could shop. He said no – he didn’t want to.
I stood there, and was mad. I said “it’s only for an hour – why not?” Again, he said, “Donna, I don’t want to.” I muttered fine, and went stomping over to the phone. I called my sister, and said “go without me – Paul doesn’t want to watch the kids.’ Then I said goodbye, and hung up. I walked around in a snit, being rather rude for the rest of the afternoon.
MY REALIZATION AND APOLOGY
While I was sitting in the living room, I started feeling badly about my behaviour. I realized that I was pouting because I didn’t get what I wanted. Part of me wanted to stay angry at him – because really, what was 1 hour out of his time? The kids would have played together, he wouldn’t have had to do anything. But thats besides the point.
The point was, he didn’t WANT TO – and I needed to respect his boundaries. I thought about the situation, and then put “the shoe on the other foot” so to speak, and thought about what I would have said if he had asked me. Well, I’m different, and I probably would have said yes, but then I said to myself, “what if I didn’t want any kids around, and so I said no? Would I want Paul to be mad at me the rest of the day because he didn’t get what he wanted?”
And of course, the answer was no. It was embarassing for me to realize just how bad my behaviour had been. I went and apologized, and he again gave me a big hug, and said “I love you Donna” He hadn’t slept very well, had a headache, and didn’t want extra kids around making noise. He had REASONS why he said no. He didn’t say no just so that I couldn’t go shopping. I realized that his “no” wasn’t about me – it was about HIM!
MOST TROUBLES IN MARRIAGE ARE FROM UNMET EXPECTATIONS. LEARN TO TALK
After realizing that most of our “disagreements” or feelings of anger were mostly from unmet expectations, or me just being selfish, I have learned to STOP and THINK about what I’m doing or saying.
And guess what the result is? We don’t fight. We don’t argue. We don’t yell. We get along, and love each other. We have a terrific time together, and enjoy each other immensely. What could be finer?
The best thing you can do for your husband is to LOVE him. UNCONDITIONALLY. And next time you are doing the dishes and muttering under your breath because he’s watching tv (or on the computer), STOP AND ASK HIM to come and help you. You’ll be surprised at his reaction. But hey – ask in a nice voice……!!!
This doesn’t have to be just dishwashing – it can be laundry, or any household chore that makes you mutter about your husband under your breath!
MEN LOVE TO BE NEEDED
Men like to be asked. Men like to be needed. Men NEED to be respected, and that means not stomping all over them, just because they don’t do something, or say something, or buy us something we expect.
If you can learn to respect your hubby, and let him be different from you – he will love you…..and when he loves you – there is NOTHING finer in the WHOLE WORLD.
GET RID OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS RIGHT NOW
So – get rid of all those unmet expecations. Stop thinking “my husband never does…….(fill in your own blanks) Stop being selfish (it’s usually us – the women who are selfish) and just SAY what you mean, and SAY what you want – don’t try to make your husband guess with your moods.
Start giving your husband ALL your love and attention. Make him number one. Yes – he should be number one, not your kids. If your kids are number one, then you will NOT have a happy marriage.
TREAT YOUR SPOUSE AS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD!
When you treat your man as the most important person in your world (besides God of course) then you will find that YOU have the BEST MARRIAGE in the whole world!Oh wait, that would be me………..!!!