I love my husband, but some days I love myself more…
By Christine Suhan
Marriage is hard. Ill be the first to admit all those years of studying relationships in graduate school “ve given me” a wealth of knowledge about how to have a successful matrimony, but living that knowledge is an entirely different narrative. My marriage is a constant work in progressemphasis on work.
I love my husband, but some days I love myself more. Days when Im busy loving myself, expectations of how he should be treating me and what I think I deserve start to creep into my thinks. Instead of greeting the day with an attitude of service, looking for routes in which I can be helpful to him, I meet the day with a list of selfish passions and an attitude of entitlement. With the latter, I am unavoidably defining myself up for letdown, anger and resentment.
When we had our first child, it became painfully obvious to me how often I lived with a sense of entitlement and a listing of expectations. The wonderful world of parentingand by wonderful I entail crazy hard, insanely frustrating, yet most amazingbrought with it a score card I tucked away in my brain. Each time I sacrificed myself for the very best of my family, I made a mental note. My spouse now owed me.
I get up last night, so he should be the one to wake up with the baby tonight . I induced dinner yesterday, why isnt he offering to induce dinner today ? He ran golfing last weekend; its my turn to do something fun .
The more I kept score, the more resentful I became. My own indignation and self-pity were taking away the joys of parenting, precious moments with my newborn baby. My husband and I were scarcely speaking; and when we did talk to each other, it quickly was transformed into a fight. We both spent so much day keeping score, throwing our sacrificial deeds in each others faces and demanding our expectations be met that we were missing out on having a relationship. We were missing out on enjoying the beautiful baby we had created together. Our household was falling apart, and we were to blame.
Rebuilding our relationship took time, attempt and patience. We didnt shred the score cards right away, but we were so desperate to let go of the thick wall of fury between us that we were willing to work. And we worked hard.
We learned to let go of expectations by asking ourselves each morning, How can I be of service to my spouse today? This simple thought shifted my entire perspective. Instead of looking at him with a critical eye and judging him for what he did or did not do for me, I was able to look at him with love. Pure, genuine, altruistic love.
We now have three children and a fairly hectic life. We both spread ourselves very thin trying to be the best parents and spouses we can be. We are by no means perfect at it. Sometimes, the score cards come out. Our wedding ebbing and flowings, but we are committing to a lifetime of continuous practicepractice that includes letting go of expectations so we can be of service.
Love through service is a pretty great way to love.
** This article first appeared on SheKnows .
About the Author : Christine Suhan is a spouse, stay at home mom to three wild toddler boys and novelist/ creator at www.feelingsandfaith.net. She has a masters degree in marriage and family therapy and enjoys helping people through openly and honestly sharing her journey of life, recovery, mental illness, marriage, parenting and more. You can also find her on her Facebook page .