By Karin W.
Brandon and I were married in 2000, and I have to confess something before I go much further; I was an awesome wife... before I got married that is. I had no model for what a marriage looked like - I was raised on Pretty Woman for Pete's sake. As you can imagine, my fantasy world was quickly shattered before the ink even had time to dry on our marriage licence. I thought to myself, "Boy, I've got my work cut out for me with this guy!"
I am convinced that while marriage is one of THE BEST blessings God gave us, it's also one of the hardest. You have to surrender and mold into the "oneness" and in our case that took a lot of years, tears, and disappointment. God quickly points out your brokenness and failures as you dive into the waters of marriage. We've had a lot of ups and downs in our relationship, with our kids, life threatening diseases, family drama, etc., etc. We've had it all. Finally around year 6-7 (yep, you read that right!), we hit a good stride. I think that's the point in which I quit praying for God to change him and started asking God to change me.
One area that has been the biggest hurdle for me is expectation. Because of all those great John Hughes movies I had these stupid and unrealistic expectations of what a romance was like. On top of all that, Brandon hates big events because he feels pressured (probably because of me!) to "get it right". It's been a bad cycle with us and I've allowed this unrealistic expectation to totally blow up well meaning plans for us (engagement, honeymoon, countless birthdays, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.).
Year ten is a milestone, and so of course, the expectations were high - even though I swore I wasn't going to fall into that pit again. How many 10 year anniversaries will I ever have? With 3 kids, 1 dog, 1 cat and activities that keep us apart literally 4 nights out of 7, I wanted something HUGE for us besides the same movie night via Netflix on the sofa again.
It had been 6 years since we had an overnight date alone without the kids because one of our kids has a disease that is life threatening. A girlfriend of mine offered to let us stay at her uber hip downtown condo for the night, and she would sleep over at our house. I thought, "Wow, this is perfect; we wont' be too far in case there is an emergency, and we won't have to spend money! I'll plan everything so I don't put any expectations on Brandon this year, and I won't be disappointed". So I plan it and then the week of our date my friend gets sick and has to cancel. I was heartbroken, but what could I do? We decided to reschedule, and the next available option was 4 months later. At this point I'm still hanging on to my "10 Year Anniversary" dream date, so I don't even care that's its 4 months later. I'm on a mission to fulfill this crazy fantasy that "I'll only have once in my lifetime!" (totally forgot I wasn't going to fall into the expectation trap again!).
This past Friday was the big night and I was so excited. I cut my hair, got it colored, put on make-up, wore grown up clothes (not my "mom clothes"). Girlfriend came over, Brandon came home early, and we booked it. I think there was even marks left on the drive way from the tires.
We grab an awesome dinner at my favorite Japanese steakhouse and then head downtown to catch the sunset. We get to the condo, park in the parking garage, then go upstairs for wine and dessert. About an hour or so later we decide we want to walk a little downtown and people watch so we head to our car so I can grab something, but we notice that the car is not there. I laughed at first because I thought Brandon was messing with me, but the look on his face quickly made all my giggles leave. We go upstairs and I call my girlfriend and tell her our car is missing. She calls the front desk of her condo and then calls us back. Turns out our car was towed and now we had to hunt it down on a Friday night in Austin, Texas. My girlfriend's parking spot was 86, but what we didn't know is that there are 4 different sections and thus 4 different 86 spots. We were in someone else's spot and we got our car towed. We spent the rest of our hot and fab anniversary calling JJ towing, and Brandon hitching a cab to their place and waiting for 2 hours in line to get our car back and paying $250! While he was gone I drank more wine, baked some cookies I found in girlfriend's fridge, took a bubble bath & sent text message to Brandon. All of a sudden Netflix was looking REALLY good to me.
I was asleep by the time he got back to the condo, but we woke up early and ate cookies for breakfast and laughed at all the stories he had from people watching at the towing place. It was in that moment that God spoke to my heart and told me this was good. This was us, jammies and all, and it was good. This was our special moment of celebrating our lives together and there was laughter and joy. Was I going to celebrate with God & Brandon in this moment or still hang on to some expectation that I had been sold as a little girl?
I feel like God finally broke this stupid expectation within my heart. I walk away from that date, 4 months past due and totally not at all what I had planned with a new lesson in my heart. Unrealistic expectations in our partners is just disappointment waiting to happen. Hopefully it won't take some of you 10 years and 4 months to learn that same lesson.
Oh, and HAPPY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY Brandon. You are my best friend and our life together is so good!