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So, I want to talk to you guys about something: what you read versus reality.
I read this article the other day that compares a lot of the things you see on Pinterest (perfect homes, perfect families, etc) to porn, because it casues you to have unrealistic expectations of your life (much like porn causes you to have unrealistic expectations of sexual relationships).
I got to thinking about it because, every now and then, I get reader comments/emails saying what a wonderful wife I must be, and how I’ve inspired them.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the compliment (and the latter part of it just about makes me cry every time), but I feel, lest I give the wrong impression, that I need to address something.
As a wife, it’s likely you wear a lot of hats. For instance, here are a few of the roles I play at home:
And there’s definitely more that I just can’t think of right now. Of course, there’s one role I need to focus on a little more – and that is, being my husband’s girlfriend again. I know that sounds silly – I mean, we’re married. I’ll never just be his girlfriend.
One of the biggest challenges of being married to a first responder is the fact that they see awful things day in and day out, things that they don’t want to tell you about (or bring up at all, ever.)
If you’re married to someone who works at, say, a bank, it’s pretty easy to ask them, “Hey, how was your day?” It’ll probably be a lot of boring stuff, maybe drama with a coworker or two or frustrations with his boss.
At some point in your marriage, it’s going to be glaringly obvious how different you and your spouse are… and there’s a good chance it’s going to frustrate the crap out of you.
I don’t know whether that difference is going to be a fight over where to go to dinner, or if your husband accuses you of being too trusting (and you, in turn, accusing him of being jaded.) Maybe it’s a difference of opinion in how to approach your toddler’s tantrums, or how to deal with a wayward teenager. You think he’s too harsh, he thinks you’re too soft, or vice versa.
I feel like this is such an easy phrase to apply to acquaintances and even friends, but when you try to apply it to a marriage, it seems to fall apart.
I know I hold my husband to my own standard of perfection sometimes that’s totally unfair. When he comes home from work, I sometimes expect that he’ll be the perfect conversationalist (since, after all, the only person I’ve talked to all day only wants to talk about choo-choos – I’m dying for real conversation!). I also expect him to be an engaged father and help with the chores somehow.
I also want him to give me a break, and make sure to thank me for every single thing I’ve done that day.
Sexting is kind of a hot topic. I mean, you read about it all the time, though usually the articles are talking about teens and how they’re getting into trouble because of sexting.
While the implications of grown, married people sexting one another are a world away from those of teenagers doing it, it’s still just not a good idea.
And I suppose I should be clear here: by sexting, I’m talking about sending photos/videos to your significant other. I’m not talking about flirty/sexy, plain-text texts. I realize these both technically fit the definition, but one can be a fun way of building anticipation and facilitating closeness with your spouse, and one, well, as I’m about to explain, has a lot of drawbacks.
One piece of wisdom I heard a lot growing up was, “don’t talk about people behind their backs.” You don’t want to be rude, for one thing, and you don’t want to lose the confidence of those you’re talking to. Because, of course, if you’re gossiping about someone else, the person to whom you’re gossiping is soon going to realize you’re bound to do the same thing to them.
You also don’t want these negative things getting back to the person you’re talking about. I can guarantee a secondhand rendition of what you’ve said is going to sound a lot worse, and hearing it this way is going to hurt the person’s feelings even more.
It’s 5:00. The babysitter is on her way, you’re all dressed up, and now all you have left to do is wait for your husband to get home from work.
You’re so excited for this date night. Things have been rough, and you’ve needed some time together, not to mention some time away from the kids and your normal responsibilities.
That’s when you get the text: he’s cancelling again because he got held up at work. Again. He says it looks like it’s going to be an all-nighter.
You sigh, call the babysitter to tell her the plans have changed, change back into more comfortable clothes, and hope the kids go to bed easily tonight, because you’re just so not in the mood to put up with any crankiness or whining. You spend the rest of the evening fuming.
I wrote this past Monday about why you shouldn’t be afraid to fight with your spouse, but with the caveat that you need to have a good fight, not a screaming match or a series of put-downs or other negative behaviors.
When two people come together to be “one flesh”, it’s not always happily ever after. Actually, it’s often not peaceful and without conflict, especially in the early years. Throughout your marriage, you’ll have to learn how to mesh your expectations, wants, needs, and desires. It’s a lifelong struggle, but you get better at it with practice.
Because it takes practice, you can’t come together without a fight here and there. It’s just a part of the process of growing to better understand and be able to express yourself to your spouse.