14 May 2007

Lowered Expectations and Joy

I was reading this post at Halfmoon Girl's blog - and after years of feeling much the same way she is right now, and knowing how many other women may be caught in this same trap, I just had to respond.
Let me explain this - my first child was born on April 5th - my first Mother's Day was about 6 weeks later. I waited all day long in eager expectation and nothing happened. The next morning I burst into tears and told my husband that he forgot Mother's Day - to which he replied "You're not my mother!" It took a while to help him understand why this was flawed thinking.
Anyway, long story short - it has taken almost 20 years to realize that my husband is not a good gift-giver. I honestly don't want another cake candle (something he realized I liked and then bought for every occasion for a few years until I said "uncle"). He has been miserable around every holiday because there is this expectation to meet that he will fail at. I got to thinking about it last year and wondered where this "expectation" came from. The man tells me in other ways that he appreciates me. Honestly how special is it when these things are done out of obligation on the same day that every other husband does? My hubby tells me what a good mom I am at other times - I don't need anyone else dictating a special day for him to do so. And while he isn't good at gift giving, he is my hero, provider and protector in many other ways. Why was I allowing these man-made, (and excuse the rambling ahead of time) commercialized holidays that are orchestrated to financially benefit the greeting card companies, florists, etc. dictate whether or not I feel loved.
Last year, I decided to liberate my husband - and myself from this vicious cycle of his impotency to please me and my chronic disappointment. This past Christmas I told him I knew what I wanted and if he didn't mind, I would get it for myself. The man was scratching his head thinking, "no shopping? there's gotta be a catch." I told him I would not throw it up in his face that I "got my own gift" (I knew I wanted windchimes - which by the way I didn't find until April!) nor would I be mopey or sad on Christmas. This was a win-win situation for both of us. And guess what? I had the best Christmas ever. I did the same with my birthday in February. I bought some birdfeeders that I wanted for my front porch. It was awesome. On Saturday we were talking on the phone and I was reminding the hubby-man to call his mother on Mother's Day - and he said, "Well I'm gonna call you too and wish you Happy Mother's Day." I said, "Aw, man you ruined the surprise!" We both had a laugh.
Now let me tell you, I grew up the daughter of the president of the He-woman Man-Hater's Club. I remember holidays where my mother was threatening her husband weeks before that she had better have thus-and-such ring, or the so-and-so item that she wanted - OR ELSE! It was so ugly that I determined never to be that kind of wife. My mother would be certain that my husband, who didn't succumb to such torture, didn't love me. I choose to submit these thoughts to Christ - and remember that my goal here is to think of others more highly than myself. Instead of expecting a "gift" or special treatment, I give it to my husband now - and I can tell you - it is a delight to my heart.
What is a gift bought in obligation? Now if he buys me a gift, it is because he wants to, and it comes straight from his heart. It is not purchased or pursued out of some twisted obligation that he must fill to keep me from being mad at him. (His interpretation of my disappointment.)
I hope I have helped someone else suffering from "holiday torture". Free your husband and yourself. Choose to see expressions of love all around you that don't come in ribboned boxes. Reject the commercialistic ploys that Satan would use to erode your relationship with your spouse.
PS - If you happen to frequent blogs where the author may be prone to gushing about what HER hubby got her for Mother's Day - just skip it today!


  1. I have one of these husbands as well. I would describe my hubby as the absent minded scientist type. Usually I am pretty good at understanding him but for some reason yesterday my feelings were hurt. I had myself a little temper tantrum and pity party followed up by a long nap. This morning I am back to myself and a bit embaressed at my behavior. By they way, will you be continuing the Scrap Happy Meme? I love the idea so if you are not up to hosting it, I would be happy to host it at my blog.

    Blessings to you-

  2. Thanks! I needed to hear that.

    My hubby and I had a serious conversation last night and we're making a decision to walk together in a new direction.

    He's such an awesome guy, I need to change. (Of course, he knows that there are things that he needs to change as well.)

    We decided that we were going to make a do or die commitment to pray together every day and then allow God to tell us the next step. Praise God, He is so faithful!

    And you are right on point about one secret is to figure out that you have to let go of those expectations.

  3. I too have learned that expectations get me nowhere. I'm much happier with what I get if I'm not all worked up about what I think I deserve~
    You said it very well!

  4. awesome post... what more can i say....

  5. I agree in my head- now I just need to stop attending my own pity parties!

  6. Good post, Julie.


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♥ Juls ♥