“I blame my high expectations on Nicholas Sparks.”
That was the status update of one of my son’s friends yesterday. It seems true sometimes doesn’t it? That our expectations for a husband are unrealistic and that somehow, that means we have to ‘settle.’ Before marriage, we date men despite knowing they have no intention of committing to our long term happiness. When we have children, we believe the myth that they are now our first priority and that our husband should understand he is not. When difficult financial or health problems overwhelm our daily circumstances, we believe those difficulties are just life, there’s nothing we can do about them.
On the surface, our story looks like a modern day fairy tale. High school sweethearts, married in a small ceremony, two kids, military career, world travel. A little Nicholas Sparks anyone? Women have asked me many times how we have stayed happily married for nearly eighteen years.
They assume that we have never really had to deal with the kind of things that have nearly knocked them off course.
I have to assure them we have stayed married because we have learned to work through those very things. How do we work through those challenges without settling? That is the ongoing challenge we call marriage. Every day is an opportunity. A chance to choose love and commitment over selfishness and personal desires. A time to encourage our spouse to strive for improvement without discounting their current accomplishments.
Today as I continue my monthly focus on gratitude, I have to take the time to express gratitude for a man who has struck that balance more times than not for two decades.
His spontaneity balances my planning nature, helping me to be fully present.
His competitive nature encourages me to constantly strive for better.
His devotion compels my desire to make our home a place of refuge.
His pride in our children stirs gratitude in this mother.
His work ethic provides for our needs and wants.
If today is a hard day to find something you can praise your husband for, won’t you take a trip down memory lane. You may find the very things that drew you together, are the qualities that try your patience. If things are fine, today might be a good day to tell him just how grateful you are for him.
#120-#124 Of One Thousand Gifts
All the times he forgave me when it was the hardest thing to do.
His fierce loyalty.
The way opposites compliment each other.