Wednesday, February 15, 2017

on expectations after several years of marriage

Our first year of marriage was hard. As in, we probably spent more time fighting than we did enjoying one another's company hard. Perhaps I am misremembering, but it was not easy.

One of the biggest issues we had was communication (shocker). We remain not the best at it, but we have markedly improved at nearly 7 years into our marriage. One of the things I've learned is that I need to communicate my expectations for holidays such as Valentine's Day.

When we were dating, Jon would surprise me with flowers.

As we got older and I became the source of primary income, I told him I no longer really liked receiving flowers because in a sense it was like I was paying for them myself and I'd rather that money go to other things (like a date night). I know this comes off as me thinking of the money as 'mine' and not 'ours,' but I swear that's not what it is. My sentiment came from the fact that flowers are often expensive and they die and I'd rather us spend our very limited "fun" budget on something we could actually do together.

Except then last year I realized I still wanted flowers. Poor Jon must have whiplash from all the times I go back and forth on what I want or need. But it all circles back! By communicating my expectations, it prevents me from setting Jon up for failure by making him read my mind (which--to be fair--I don't even know what I want most of the time so why should I expect him to?) and it also results in me not usually being disappointed. Win/win, amirite?

Anyway, I told Jon for Valentine's Day this year I wanted flowers. Nothing fancy, just something to show he put the effort forth. I even pointed out that last time we went to Heinen's they had gorgeous bouquets of flowers for $5/each. Talk about wife of the year, right? Then we had this conversation while I was driving home from work yesterday.

J: I ruined your Valentine's present.
D: What do you mean?
J: You'll see when you get home.
D: Well did you get me flowers?
J: No.
D: (silence)
J: Are you upset?
D: I mean, I don't know how much more clearly I could have communicated that I wanted flowers...
J: I'm sorry.

Suffice to say, I was pretty bummed out when I got home. But then Jon gave me my gift and while it's not flowers, I think I'll keep him:
hand drawn and painted by the man himself
He remembered that I had made a comment about a week ago that it felt like he was painting things for everyone but me (did I mention watercolor is his newest hobby?) and decided to change that. It isn't flowers, but he definitely put forth the effort. I love it and I can't wait to hang it up. // As for the rest of Valentine's Day, we made the kids heart-shaped pink pancakes on Valentine's eve and I had purchased Edith this book and Elden this one. Elden had a party at school and shared his treats with Edith (swoon). For dinner I cooked this pasta with a side of Brussels sprouts. We went to Mitchell's for ice cream. It ended up being a pretty great day with the people I love the most. I am so grateful that Jon is so patient with me and understanding that I am a wee bit crazy.

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