Unexpected Expectations: how expectations crept into our first anniversary
Expectations can be a heavy burden to carry. You often don’t even realize you have certain expectations until you are left disappointed and wondering why you feel hurt. Then you finally realize, “Oh, I guess I went into this situation with certain expectations and they weren’t met”. Expectations from others can stifle. Often well intending individuals will unknowingly placing their expectations on you.
We recently celebrated our first anniversary. It is crazy how fast the first year flew by. Every month on the 20th we could say to each other happy __ month anniversary. We even went out to eat on our six month anniversary. Yet when our first anniversary came around, we were caught slightly off guard. It has been a whirlwind of a month. I finished up the school year, celebrated my 32nd birthday, and then we flew out west for a two week vacation in Lake Tahoe and in Washington State. We were just getting settled back in our home in Boston when we realized that our anniversary was a week away.
During that week we had several people ask us what our plans were for our first anniversary. The unspoken expectation we heard was this is a big anniversary. Your first anniversary. You need to celebrate it well.
The world throws us many expectations. When preparing for marriage, the world’s expectation is to have a picture perfect wedding. Yet, where is the expectation to actually prepare for the upcoming marriage that should last the rest of your life? The expectation is for that one day to be beautiful.
My husband and I continue to learn and grow in the area of communication. Why do I feel like this may be a lifelong lesson? We never actually sat down and communicated our expectations to each other for our first anniversary. We ended up having a miscommunication which one day will be funny but at that particular moment was very confusing.
Our first anniversary rolls around and I had the worst morning. I didn’t feel well, was exhausted, and extremely emotional. Emotional in the sense that I can’t stop crying. (And no, I am not pregnant!) Then I felt awful that I was ruining our anniversary because the expectation is to have a romantic day together. All I wanted to do was sleep and try to feel better.
My husband did have an anniversary surprise for me. He planned for us to go to Wentworth by the Sea, a beautiful romantic getaway in New Hampshire. We wisely decided to postpone the trip a week so we could fully enjoy it.
It was amazing, once we postponed our anniversary trip I felt an unbelievable amount of hope. Yes, I still didn’t feel good but I had such a sense of hope. I was not ruining our anniversary. The expectations of the day were just lifted and removed. I felt free of the expectations of what our first anniversary should look like, according to I don’t even know who.
I have learned during this first year of marriage how sneaky expectations can be. The more I can be aware that they are hiding, the more I can communicate them to my husband or talk them out with God.
How have you seen expectations sneak up on you? How do you deal with expectations when they are not met?