Marriage is hard. I’ll be the first to admit all those years of studying relationships in graduate school gave me a wealth of knowledge about how to have a successful marriage but living that knowledge and dealing with those expectations is an entirely different story. My marriage is a constant work in progress — emphasis on work.
My husband and I work really hard at practicing love. Loving each other well takes endless practice; we can both be very selfish people. Most people have a natural tendency toward self-preservation, which is why relationships are so difficult. We are wired to take care of ourselves first; it’s [a] natural instinct. Often, taking care of ourselves comes at the expense of others. Having a loving relationship with someone, especially a spouse, is a constant practice of putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own, which can be quite uncomfortable.
I Had Expectations
I love my husband, but some days I love myself more. Days when I’m busy loving myself, expectations of how he should be treating me and what I think I deserve, start to creep into my thoughts. Instead of greeting the day with an attitude of service, looking for ways in which I can be helpful to him, I meet the day with a list of selfish desires and an attitude of entitlement. With the latter, I am inevitably setting myself up for disappointment, anger, and resentment.
When we had our first child, it became painfully obvious to me how often I lived with a sense of entitlement and a list of expectations. The wonderful world of parenting — and by wonderful I mean crazy hard, insanely frustrating, yet most amazing — brought with it a scorecard I tucked away in my brain. Each time I sacrificed myself for the good of my family, I made a mental note. My husband now owed me.
I got up last night, so he should be the one to wake up with the baby tonight.
I made dinner yesterday, why isn’t he offering to make dinner today?
He went golfing last weekend; it’s my turn to do something fun.