Tuesday, February 28, 2012

relationships series: first post & link up: expectations

as part of our five-week series on relationships, gina, morgan and i are posting today on expectations. link up below if you'd like to participate!

my best friend pulled her legs beneath her and sat indian style on the sunday school couch.

she asked if i knew that boy robert, the tall fellow who hung around with her boyfriend. who starred in school plays, sat on the bench outside our third period class and worked with my cousin at the golf course. of course i knew him.

well, he’s interested in you. and he drives a BMW.

say no more, i told her. say no more.

he picked me up a few minutes early that warm, windy summer in august . my entire family huddled around the living room, pacing around and making small talk waiting for him to arrive. though i’d seen him in passing, i had never spoken to robert in person until our first date.

as promised, he did pull up in a BMW, all right. his parents’ white one. he apologized as i climbed in, noting the towel on my seat. i spilled water on the way over. i’m so sorry, he muttered.

that night, he took me back to his house and showed me his real ride. a 1985 volkswagen vanagon. tan brown with faded leather seats and a fridge in the back. not quite the BMW, not quite what i was expecting.

that wasn’t the first time robert would challenge my assumptions. the first time he looked into my eyes and told me he loved me as he kissed me against his car, i expected he would never break my heart. that i would never call him ugly things and hurt him. a few years later, we both broke that expectation in college, with late night phone calls and fights in the dorm room corridor. 

i expected he would grow to love my cute way of nagging and pestering. and i would learn to see how cool his velcro shoes were.

on a cool afternoon in november, i expected we were just going on a saturday drive. when he pulled out the boombox with our song and dropped down on his knee, i knew i was wrong.

truth is, i’ve been wrong a lot. expectations limit our ability to love someone for their true selves. their faults and hang-ups, and their beautiful quirks.

when i was in middle school, i made a list of the qualities i wanted in my future husband. down to eye color, hand shape and voice depth. i expected robert would somehow, though the years, become this man. i expected i could change every little piece of him to fit my requirements. sort of like a mr. potato head. just swap out the parts i didn’t like and replace them with bright, shiny new ones. ones that would never fracture or bend or fade.

but robert was never supposed to be the dreamboat. an unobtainable vision behind smoke and mirrors.

he is real. he is huggable and dependable and rugged and smells like old pipes, which has become my absolute favorite smell in the world. he is grumpy sometimes and i am rude sometimes. i wear holey sweatpants to bed and his favorite t-shirt is a thrifted hertz auto rental one in a faded tangerine shade. his characteristics are solely his, from his penchant for sleeping in on the weekends, to his love for the rambo trilogy. 

his parents sold the BMW and we now own a new vanagon. some things never change, thank the good Lord above for that. but some things do, and that’s what makes this flexible, bendable, often breakable, life worth feasting upon.
what about you? did you go into a relationship or marriage with expectations? how did it turn out? 
 join us next week as we tackle communication. the schedule for the remainder of the series is as follows:
  • Week 3: Comparisons (Or, Keeping The Passion Alive- you pick)
  • Week 4: Loving Through (when the unexpected happens)
  • Week 5: A Strong Marriage While Parenting

link your blog posts below and be sure to check out gina's and morgan's perspectives on expectations:


Ana Magdalena said...

Beautifully written, I couldn't agree more with the idea of having bendable, reasonable expectations. I think they are the key ingredient for a healthy marriage (or any relationship in general)

Courtney B said...

I LOVE this! So many people, myself included) would never think to go into a relationship without the fairy tale expectations. That can ruin a relationship SO fast! Our arguments or little fights in the beginning of our marriage always came from the expectations we had of each other... that neither one of us could live up to! We figured that out pretty fast, but I think some couples are never able to figure that out until someone points it out.

Michelle said...

This is so wonderful! I struggled with the same things, thinking I could change my husband and mold him into what I thought he should be. The true beauty is loving someone through their faults and quirks.

ginanorma said...

Oh Courtney I can't get enough of your guys love story, and this was no different, I adore this post, all the cute details and then your wisdom of what having expectations does to our souls..i love how you put that in italics, ooooohh so gooooood.

ruthy ann said...

I was 31 when I married, and I think the older you get the easier it is to let go of all of your expectations are (or for some people it might get harder I guess). In hindsight I can see God's hand in all the waiting and heartache, and now I can see how he still has his hand in our disappointments and arguments, but we are human, and expectations still worm their way in to relationships...pre maritatl counseling has been the very best thing that has helped with this.

chambanachik said...

"I expected he would never break my heart."
That line really got me.

Love this series.

Amber said...

I think when you are younger you have these wild expectations about what love will be (for me I thought it would be more like a romantic comedy film). That said, when I finally fell in love, the actual experience with its constant ups and downs, was better than anything I could have imagined. Great idea for series!

Valerie said...

great post, courtney! i think our expectations coming into a marriage are also so influenced by the marriage that we witnessed when growing up. and when you bring together two people from very different (but both great!) families, there are bound to be huge gaps in each person's expectations of the other. It is so important to always communicate about those, and reality check yourself! thanks again for this post - loved it!

Morgan said...

Oh Courtney, I can SO relate! I, too, was waited a long time for my husband to conform to my list of qualifications. He never did, but now I'm so happy for that!

Kira said...

I love reading about relationships :)

I would link up, but my husband gets all weirded out when I blog about our relationship. Apparently some of his co-workers read my blog and he doesn't want them reading that stuff. It's a bummer, but of course I comply with his wishes.

Amanda @ New Adventures said...

This is amazing! I love reading your blog- your writing is always so great and moves me each time I read! Thanks for sharing this, I really needed to hear this right now :)

wildchild said...

as a young bride-to-be, so excited for marriage, this was really good to hear. it's good to be reminded. thank you for that :)

Amylou said...

Oh man! I know I'm just going to love this series! My expectations of marriage were completely changed! For the better though.

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