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 examining relationships in grad school “ve given me” a wealth of knowledge about how to have a successful marriage, 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 suppose I deserve start to creep into my thoughts. Instead of greeting the working day with an attitude of service, go looking for styles in which I can be helpful to him, I meet the day with a listing of selfish passions and an attitude of entitlement. With the latter, I am inevitably setting myself up for frustration, indignation 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 mean crazy hard, insanely frustrating, yet most amazingbrought with it a score card I tucked away in my brain. Each hour I sacrificed myself for the very best of my family, I made a mental note. My spouse now owed me.
I got up last night, so he should be the one to wake up with the newborn tonight . I built dinner yesterday, why isnt he offering to stimulate dinner today ? He went golfing last weekend; its my turn to do something fun .
The more I maintained score, the more resentful I became. My own rage and self-pity were taking away the elation of parenting, precious moments with my newborn baby. My spouse and I were barely speaking; and when we did talk to each other, it quickly was transformed into a fight. We both expended so much hour keeping score, hurling our sacrificial deeds in one another faces and demanding our expectations be met that we were missing out on having a relationship. We were missing out on enjoying the beautiful newborn we had created together. Our family was falling apart, and we were to blame.
Rebuilding our relationship took time, effort and patience. We didnt shred the score cards right away, but we were so desperate to let go of the thick wall of rage between us that we were ready 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 guessed 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, selfless 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 matrimony ebbs and flows, but we are committing to a lifetime of continuous practicepractice that includes letting run of expectations so we can be of service.
Love through service is a pretty great way to love.
** Such articles first appeared on SheKnows .
About the Author : Christine Suhan is a spouse, stay at home mom to three wild toddler boys and writer/ 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, wedding, parenting and more. You can also find her on her Facebook page .