Aug 5, 2013

anniversaries and expectations

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. 

Second Anniversary.
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. 

See, compromise. 
And yet, I still managed to come out ahead…

            

8 comments:

  1. Glad you had such a great 5th anniversary :) It sounds like a great way to spend the day/weekend.

    The anniversary of our first date is right before Christmas, so we've never really celebrated. And normally we don't do much for birthdays either, but Jesse has done so much work on my new studio that I want to make this birthday special for him :)

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  2. It sounds like you're really working to make it work--the key, I think, to every great marriage!

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  3. Your 1st anniversary reminded me of mine haha. I used to make a big deal of special occassions too as that was how i was brought up. Poor hubsey! :) But we've learnt to adjust and accept each other.
    www.mossyjojo.blogspot.com

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  4. I can relate to this post so much! I have high expectations for things, but am also not a present person. What you said about just wanting a special day is spot on. My fiance and I have been together for 9 years, 10 in September (we're getting married at the end of this month!) and I remember our fourth or fifth dating anniversary was a complete disaster. I had the worst day teaching and he had some sort of after work event that was being catered. He brought home left over h'or dourves from the work event for me for dinner. I think I made some sort of comment about THAT being my anniversary dinner to which he realized he had completely forgotten it was our anniversary. Needless to say, I've definitely gotten to the point of lowering my expectations and he's gotten better at realizing I have expectations. That's not to say we haven't had some pretty silly things happen since. :-P

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  5. Great post, and I am happy you had a good anniversary, and I hope you´ll have many more!

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  6. Every year is getting better! I love this. I just tell Jordan exactly what I want to happen. Then he can fulfill my desires, and I don't have to be disappointed :)

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  7. I am the same, 4 years of marriage and I finally have a grasp on a realistic expectation for celebrating... but its perfect.

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  8. I love this post so much! It definitely reminds me of me and my husband - I love going over the top to celebrate special days, and likes to keep things much more low-key. Glad to know we're not alone in trying to come to a compromise on this stuff :)

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