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I don’t think they can get any lower

June 8, 2011

This is the second time I have stumbled across the blog in this article:  Patty, the author of the blog Assume Love, has an interesting concept.  You have to hear her back story to get it. 

As she tells it, She asked her husband for a divorce after making up a list of all the things he wasn’t doing and she wasn’t getting from him.  (Sound familiar?)  Shortly afterwards, he died.   (OK, awful, I know.)   What she realized was now she had to do everything on the list and MORE (all the stuff he was actually doing.)  This was an “Aha moment” for her.

One of her big concepts is that we have unrealistic expectations of our spouses.  That we need to lower these expectations.  Dramatically.  “The only expectation you should bring to the marriage is the expectation that you will be loved”  and she even cautions against expecting the expression of that love to take certain forms.

OK. Ok. ok.  I can see this.  For some people.  I can even see this for me in my younger days.  I can maybe even see this for me in that heady courtship and honeymoon period of our life.  But I am having a hard time seeing that for me, right now in our life.

I have taken the pruning shears to my tree of martial expectations.  Heck, I have taken a chain saw to that tree.  On several occasions.   I don’t think they can get any lower.

Here is my list of my bare minimum (I am pretty sure I would be not upset with my marriage if I had this):

  • No Yelling at me or the kids (EG not taking his bad mood out on everyone else)
  • Respect request for Timeout
  • Spending within budget
  • Present & together 1-2 nights or days per week 
  • Nice  (Not Snarky, passive aggressive or just more “taking his bad mood out on everyone else”)
  • Try not to completely trash the house every day
  • Actually supervise the children  (PS – remember the Choking post?  I found a 1″ chunk of crayon in little’s diaper the other day.  2 days later I walk into the living room and hubby is on the couch.  Little is standing up mouthing a crayon in EACH hand!  Hubby’s response?  “Where did he get those?”)

I wouldn’t want to lose what he does do now:

  • Continue to watch the boys 3 days per week plus school pickup for the girls two days  (We share with my sister – she takes the opposite and has a girl the same age and a 2yo boy.)
  • Bedtime a couple of times per week 
  • Saturday am Y time with both kids
  • I should also note that he does about 1/2 of the dishes
  • And takes care of the occasional DMV visit, car repair, and/or plumber issues

Yes, I do everything else.  And I work full-time.  And no, we don’t have a maid, nanny or any other household help.  (Grandmas help with taking Girl sometimes on the weekend or overnights.)

Even now, I wonder if my expectations are TOO low.  There is a point where your fairness alert goes off so loudly that you can no longer ignore it.  There is a point where what gets done by each party is so unbalanced that resentment festers, even when you try to not feel that way.

As it is, I got told last night that he doesn’t want me to plan any more projects the summer because he is too tired.  (I have been building a play thing for the kids so for 1 weekend he needed to watch the kids, I asked him to pull out two bushes for about 1 1/2 hours and the next weekend help me truck off those same bushes for about another 1 1/2 hours… I am guessing I have over 40 hours of HARD labor into the project.  Not that I am counting.)   Hmmm…. just typing this makes me mad.

Maybe I am really expecting more?  That is why it gets me mad?  (Wow, this post has taken a turn for the worst!) 

To try to turn this marriage around I have to find a way to be Nice & Pleasant without resentment leaking out. (Spewing out?)  If I can’t find a way to be nice, how can I expect him to be?  

Off to find my pruning shears…

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 12, 2011 8:25 am

    Whatever efforts you expect, your expectations create unhappiness for you and seriously get in the way of receiving love. This is what I learned on that awful day.

    If you want to get rid of your resentment, stop doing whatever it is that makes you resentful. Then find a healthy way to deal with the consequences.

    If you are reaching the end of your rope with the man you married, start taking care of all the things you will need to take care of as a divorced woman. You will free him up to be the guy he was when you fell in love with him, and you just might fall in love again.

    All our attempts to control the fairness of our marriages drive the love out of them. You can easily redefine fair for yourself as doing no more than you would do if no one loved you. It is a lot harder to redefine love as what you feel when your life’s partner does exactly 50% of what you believe needs doing.

    It is truly remarkable the things a man will do for you when you welcome them as an addition to your life instead of falling short of your due. You lose control but you gain so much.

    You know where to find me if you want any specifics. I even offer free teleclasses at I hate to see people waiting for their spouses to change when they can be happy without the wait.

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