One of my favorite date nites
With all the busyness and chaos of the holiday season, I had the strongest need for a night out with my husband, just to get away and clear our heads. I was just about ready to hop in the shower to wash the baby poo off my arm, yep I said it, when he called from work.
‘Hey Baby, how is it going it today?”
I hurriedly explain my 5 minute window of time for a shower as my mind wonders if we have any peanut butter left. And wine??
“ Oh so you are naked then, allriiight”
“NO this is not good or sexy naked, this is your son smeared his poop all over the crib naked and this time he got it in the carpet, so what’s up?”
Clearly missing the urgency of my situation, he goes on: “Just wanting to set up our plans for a fun night out, I was thinking we could sit down and discuss how our relationship has been going the last ten years and then plan on how we want the next ten years to roll out.”
“You mean you want to have a business meeting with me. Do I need to bring an agenda? That doesn’t sound like a fun date at all.” Actually, I don’t really get annoyed because one of the things I love about my husband is that he already has his favorite moment’s reel of our 10 yr marriage ready for me to preview. He is always thinking of me. He’s not even swayed by the poop situation.
Unfortunately our plans were derailed by a number of different reasons and our night away didn’t happen. Instead we happily stood by our old tradition of snuggling by the fire with Chinese take- out and wine.
Whenever I start to plan ahead for the next year, month or even weekend, I suddenly turn into this travel agent guru and am sidetracked by a luxurious week‘s stay on Kauai. Just as I am ready to mentally book the vacation of a lifetime, my husband snaps me back into reality, “I want to make sure we are starting off the year on the same page, thinking about what things we should change, maybe talk about some resolutions we want to make.”
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I figure if I’m not doing it already I won’t start just because it’s January, but I do attempt to go back to what was working in my life . I have all these great ideas but I get lazy or busy and then stop doing the things that I really liked or made a real difference in my life. One of those great ideas that fell by the wayside had been nagging at me lately and it was something my mom told me when I first was married.
This doesn’t mean not to hold any expectations, I think having some expectations are important, but for me it means to surrender my own expectations that I put onto others, mainly my husband. I expect that he will love me and keep our vows, but it’s unfair for me to place my unrealistic expectations on him. If they are my expectations why should he have to live up to them, shouldn’t I be the one doing that for myself? He can’t be everything I need; no one person could possibly meet all my needs and expectations. That’s a lot of weight to put on one person. I don’t want my husband to expect things of me that I can’t possibly fulfill. I’ve had to get honest with myself and realize some of my expectations are about some image or idea that I have dreamed up. Expectations can cause resentment followed by frustrations towards each other. Now add a little strained marriage into the picture and it’s really hard to be a good parent.
I struggle terribly with demanding he come home from work earlier, the fact is he has a lot of responsibilities that don’t fit into a 9-5 time frame. When he finally does come home, instead of welcoming him, I scowl and fuss at him for being home so late and making me have to do it all. In response he is hurt and becomes defensive or basically wants to get away from me so he doesn’t have to hear me complain. Nice way to end your day together.
So I stuffed all my expectations of the perfect family sitting down together for dinner and when he came home exhausted at 7:30, I showed him warmth and compassion instead. His whole attitude and demeanor changed and he was happier to be home and even more helpful than usual. I am someone who thinks my every thought should be heard -a you better listen to me or else kind of wife- so imagine how hard it was to stifle my rantings. But I have to admit I felt better being respectful and understanding towards him rather than my usual exasperating self.
So, I am focused on all the wonderful things he does, like building our basement and saving us hundreds of dollars or staying up late to clean so I can wake up to a sparkling spotless kitchen. He is my kitchen fairy.
I have found it freeing to release some of my expectations and I think my husband feels more valued and appreciated. If those are the results than perhaps I just found my New Year’s resolution afterall.