I’m really not sure what I was supposed to be expecting. Largely out of this life but more specifically out of marriage. I think I knew what I was hoping for once. But I’m not sure if “hoping for” and “expecting” really share the same ledge. What I’m realizing now, in short form, is that what I hoped for and expected, I thought I got but I’m sadly mistaken. And now I’m retracing my steps to figure out how I got here.
An old African Proverb states:
“If you understand the beginning well, the end will not trouble you.”
And I imagine that’s why I’m looking back. My answers are there. In the beginning. There was pathology there already. But I thought… that the idea to making a great relationship was compromising overinflated expectations and arriving at realistic and achievable hopes. For instance… the overinflated expectation of being the only one your man would ever think about / dream of / want could be compromised down to you being the only one he wants to marry or the only one he can see himself with long term. Although the expectation / hope attractive, it’s lofty and unrealistic.
What I’m finding that I did wrong is that, from the very beginning, I placed my husband’s thoughts, expressions, words, intentions… everything on this very high pedestal. In my mind, I immediately made him “the one” I’d been looking for. I was convinced of a little conversation I had with God that it was time to give up my dirty evil ways to settle down with THIS man, because he was the one fashioned just for me. So – from the beginning, I didn’t leave any room for human error. How could there be error in something God created himself? Again with me and this starting folks out at 100% and chopping down, but for him I started him out at like… 10000%. He had a long way to fall whether he tried to or not. And through the years… he fell, just a little… with every argument. Every disagreement. Every harsh word. Every failed expectation. And I saw myself doing little things to chop down the pedestal so maybe he could breathe. I remember I used to have this comic strip hung up at my desk. Rose is Rose. I love it because Rose and her husband, Jimbo, just plain ol’ love each other. Love. Are infatuated with. Still have fire for. And in one strip, they were enjoying a walk at night and found that upon kissing… it made the moon appear. A crescent at first. And the longer they kissed the fuller it became. Then little peck kisses made the stars appear. Then Jimbo asked Rose, “I wonder what happens if we really let it all hang out?” and he dipped her and kissed her… and in traipses in their little son, Pasquale. It was the perfect little romantic microcosm of everything I’d love to have. And I read it every day in my periphery at my desk. Right beneath it? A framed black and white photo of me and my fiance that I could look at and remember how in love we were anytime. Across my desk from that? Two little bears sitting on a pedestal – a little chocolate bear with a cane in his pocket and a little light skinned bear with a pink dress and sun hat on. (a valentines gift from my man). On my ringer “Ain’t No Other Man” would have Christina Aguilera blasting his introduction if he called Letting everyone in earshot know that “ain’t no other man, can stand up next to you… ain’t no other man on the planet does what you do… you’re the kind of guy a girl finds in a blue moon…” On my IM window box, he had his own “Buddy Group” for all the names he signs in under. And the grouping was called “My Superhero”. After each argument, something got taken down. Moved out of sight. Renamed. Reprogrammed. Because… how can I hold such a high standard for so long if it’s not being met?
And maybe that’s the thinking that led me here. I gave up on so many of my great expectations, but in my heart, I held on to my hope. My dream of what married life would be DIDN’T change. And that dream was founded on my ORIGINAL expectations of who would ride in on his horse and sweep me off my feet. So although I’d lowered my expectations on what to have for a boyfriend… I thought somehow there would be a rising to the occasion for the husband. But how can that be? If I didn’t HOLD the standard in courtship? I’m asking for a lot to have him live up to these standards now. I’m asking for too much.
The strip has since been thrown away. The photo never made it out of my drawer again. The bears are up high and out of sight at my desk. The buddy group just says “Earl” now. The ringer plays “Flashing Lights”. So maybe now it’s time to look at the expectations I had for marriage and either… compromise those too – or be uncompromising and get what I’m looking for one way or another.