When I’m eating out, I hate not getting what I ordered. Once while traveling, my wife and I pulled off the interstate to grab something to eat. Like a pit stop at Indy, we drove through, got our food, and got back on the road. Back on the interstate, my wife opened the bag to verify the order. (Yeah, I know.. we should have thought of that before getting back on the interstate.) She discovered they had gotten my order wrong. I was so frustrated I turned around at the next exit…several miles down the road…and went back to get what I had ordered. (Can you say “obsessive?”)
What’s this got to do with marriage?
Remember when you used to dream about what your future spouse would be like? You would envision them looking a little bit like a model, but just “regular” enough to make the vision believable. You would hear them laugh at your jokes and see them look at you enthusiastically as you talked about your latest interests. You would even imagine them being romantically and passionately responsive to you at a moments notice. (Hopefully I’m not the only one who dreamed that. That would be awkward.)
Very early in marriage, you feel like you got what you ordered, but that’s because being a newlywed is more intoxicating than a blood alcohol level of 0.30% (which by the way is the point of unconsciousness.) But later in marriage, you see more clearly and you start thinking, “Wait! This isn’t what I ordered!”
What are the options for people who realize their spouse isn’t exactly what they ordered?
- Some leave and go elsewhere. They see their spouse as wrong. They don’t believe the spouse will change, and since they don’t plan on changing themselves they decide to look elsewhere. They want what they want, and if they don’t get what they want they’re gone.
- Some expect their spouse to change and get it “right.” They will give their spouse the chance to change, but they need to get it “right” and do it quickly. Otherwise, there will be a price to pay.
- Some accept their spouse, but grumble about it. They live with their spouse as they are, but they continually complain about them…becoming the perpetual martyr.
- Some accept their spouse and learn to adjust to the way they are. They see their spouse as different, not wrong. They determine to find a way to accept it without complaining or putting their spouse down.
Which seems like the better option to you? (Yeah, that was a loaded question.) If #4 is the better option, why do so many people (not you or me of course) pick another option? Because whether we want to admit it or not, it’s easy to see ourselves as the center of the universe and expect the universe to bend to our center of gravity. The problem is, all that gets you is a big bang.
So when you’re going down the interstate of life and you realize your spouse isn’t exactly what you ordered, remember these things…
- It’s a good to expand your tastes buds.
- Trying something different won’t kill you.
And most importantly, remember this. When your spouse looks at you, they’re probably thinking the same thing…”This isn’t what I ordered!”
Leave a comment and tell us what part of marriage was not what you expected or ordered.
Copyright © 2014 Bret Legg
2 thoughts on “Wait! This Isn’t What I Ordered!”
I didn’t expect the space between us to become stale, crusty or old. I didn’t expect the quiet every day space to be such hard work. I didn’t expect it to be painful, incredibly frustrating and sometimes boring. In fact, I didn’t invision any negatives at all. It has not been what I ordered or expected – but I know that is a good thing. I am not a # 4 – but I really want to be!
It takes us all by surprise. The Law of Entropy (physics) basically says that everything progressively deteriorates unless energy is applied to hold that deterioration off. This is as true for marriages as it is for anything else. Everything that’s good or great is the product of intentional effort. We all have trouble getting to #4 and staying there, but that’s the good goal.