You know when you were little and Christmas Day felt magical and, I don’t know… christmassy? And your birthday was the best day of the year just because it really felt like your birthday?
I have this problem. I grew up, and outgrew the magic, but never outgrew the expectation of the magic.
Enter Riley. The poor guy never stood a chance. Suddenly my expectations for these holidays and special events could finally again be realized because I had a husband, and his job, surely, was to make the magic happen.
Then came our first anniversary. I built it up in my mind, like I always do, because it was the first; it was new and it would be our only first anniversary ever! The day was a complete bust. I couldn’t even get Riley on board with celebrating. His reason was so strange and foreign to me that even now I have trouble wrapping my head around it. In his mind, practically anyone could stay married for a year, so why make a big deal out of celebrating?
|First Anniversary. An odd picture, to be sure, but it pretty much sums up the day.|
Anniversary number two. Riley is nothing if not a fast learner, and he was not about to make the same mistake twice. He really made an effort this time, and booked us a night at a resort in a National Park that we had visited while we were dating. To make a long story short, let’s just say that the term “resort” was used very loosely, and that we went to bed hungry. However, even though the day wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for, it meant the world to me that Riley put the time and thought into making an effort. So, we were making some progress.
I can’t for the life of me remember what we did for our third, so it probably wasn’t that great, but it must not have been that bad, either. By our fourth, we finally got it right. It was a weekday, and we made plans to stay in that night, cook our favorite dinner together and watch a movie. It was low key, and it was perfect. My expectations were realistic, and Riley was 100% on board with the plan as well.
So, what’s the moral of the story? This is real life, and it’s not always magical. And you certainly can’t expect someone else to make the magic for you. I have heard so many women complain time and time again that their husband (or significant other) didn’t do enough for their birthday, or didn’t buy them the right present… so I know it’s not just me. And for us, it’s not even about the presents, because we’re not really present people, anyway. I will just always love holidays and feel the need to make them special. And Riley probably never will. So, I have learned to lower my expectations to something somewhat realistic (for the most part… this is a work in progress) and Riley has learned to expect, and even accept my expectations. Now we know to make a plan ahead of time, one that includes some of things that would make me happy and some of the things that would make Riley happy, and do our best to meet in the middle. It’s a silly thing, really, to even make an issue about something that, in the big picture, is such an insignificant detail. But I have found that working through the insignificant details just like this one, make our marriage that much smoother, and that much stronger.
In my whole, big five years of experience, that is.
|Fifth Anniversary. If you're ever in New Bern, I highly recommend this place!|
By the way, we had a very nice anniversary this year. On our way down to the boat, Riley treated me to a shopping trip, and then a very delicious dinner that evening in New Bern. In return, I left him to his boat projects for the rest of the weekend.
And yet, I still managed to come out ahead…