I used to set my husband up to fail.
I know. It sounds really bad. Who does that?
I think we all do, really.
I celebrated my 23rd birthday this past weekend, and it was my absolute best birthday yet.
Not because I got loads of gifts or some magical, perfect day where the world revolved around me. Because, while I did get extra attention and nice gifts, I also changed dirty diapers and swept and mopped the floor.
So what’s my secret? Why was this my best birthday ever?
While they’re useful, they can also be killer.
And in recent years, I’ve discovered the lower mine are, the better time I have.
This still sounds really bad, so let me explain.
For a long time, when any sort of “special day” was approaching, I would envision the stuffing out of it.
What I would wear, who would be there, what would be talked about, what it would look like, all the thoughtful moments that would go into it… and then the day would arrive. And nobody was playing their part correctly.
The outfit didn’t look how I imagined it would. Someone couldn’t make it. Everyone seemed to be in a bad mood. The flaws and imperfections and unfinished aspects would completely steal my joy.
And make me the most stuck-up, prideful, arrogant person in the whole room, even when the only two people in the room were my husband and I.
I became so bad about expecting entirely too much that I not only stole my own joy, I stole my husband’s.
The man that could be okay with pretty much anything. Who could smile about a flat tire or laugh about a broken dishwasher was now terrified of any minor inconvenience because his wife was going to turn into a raving lunatic about nothing.
I was a complainer.
I can’t tell you the exact day I decided to change. It didn’t happen overnight. And it didn’t happen because my husband asked me to or challenged me about it (because he was probably afraid he’d have to endure my bad attitude longer). I can tell you it was definitely Jesus. And probably a few good books…
(Ben, I’m thinking that Vicki Burke purchase was not a coincidence!)
Anyway, I had a fabulous time on Saturday. Because, well, I didn’t have any expectations.
I knew what we were going to do and some of who we were going to see, of course. I knew relatively what time we needed to be places and I’d made plans for dinner and for my kids and all that jazz. But, beyond that, I tried not to bog myself down with plans.
I did not expect for the house to be spotless before we left. I did not expect for my husband to buy me flowers and send my cute little toddler up to me with a rose and a “Happy birthday, mommy!”–which happened and was wonderful!
I did not expect my husband to bring me a latte, or, on the flip side, to need a nap because he wasn’t feeling good. (Ugh, how dare he, on my birthday!) Come on, somebody, can I get an amen?
You know the worst part about the way I used to be (and sometimes have to remind myself not to be) is that I didn’t think I was the one with the problem. I thought everyone else just wasn’t trying hard enough. And because of that attitude, I had to make myself try even harder because I didn’t want to let anyone down.
What a prison to live in.
Now, for the most part, I can simply enjoy the person my husband is. Sure, I challenge him sometimes with ideas I have or things I’d like to see happen or need to be the best version of myself.
The most important thing for our marriage and both of our happiness is grace and mercy. We both have to let love cover a lot of infractions. Snappy comebacks, I told you so’s, different opinions, misconceptions, pointed insults, I mean the list can keep going.
And it’s not the big things that break up a marriage.
It’s all. the. little. things.
And if I make it so there is less to be bothered by, then we are both going to be happier.
I still voice my concerns, my hurts, my frustrations, and my needs, but always in love and for the sake of stronger love, but not because of overarching, unrealistic expectations.
Better to dwell in the wilderness,
Than with a contentious and angry woman.
Proverbs 21: 19 .
So here’s to faith–in little things.