My Marriage vs. Background Noise

On my birthday in 2016, my future husband gave me a little black box. I remember looking at that box with such puzzlement. We had only dated for sixteen marvelous days, and yet there I stood, holding a symbol of commitment. I opened the box with bewilderment and found two things: a note and a paper-clip. The paper clip represented a conversation we had earlier that he remembered, and the note stated his intentions for our relationship. I read the note with tears in my eyes, and I turned to look into his sweet face and those dreamy green orbs.

He then took my hand and gave me a promise ring. I must admit that of all my 38 years that no one had ever given me a promise ring. Yet, even today, the ring rests on my left hand. I have barely taken it off for three years. The note stated the ring was a promise. The note read, “I promise to be here for you and your girls as long as there is breath in me.” That birthday was undoubtedly one of the best I have had. I reminisce about that day fondly. However, two years and eight months later, romantic gestures are few and far between.

January 10, 2019, my husband and I will have been together for three years. After so MUCH turmoil and LIFE troubles, making it three years is a huge milestone for us. Although I should be celebrating and focused on the positive, I find myself obsessing with all the NOISE. This week, I contemplate much about how my expectations flounder, causing me to doubt the strength my relationship. Chris and had many expectations when we set out on this journey, and sadly, I must confess that most of those expectations probably have caught fire, burned into cinders, and blown into the air at this point.

Expectations are the root of all that kills (excuse the tweaking of Everclear lyrics). I must admit I had expectations that now seem frivolous. I expected to never cry again. NOT!! I expected to never struggle financially again.  HAHA!! I expected for all of Chris’ family members to love and to accept me with open arms.  WOW, was I deluded. I even expected him to wash his own clothes. Even as I type this list, I see the ridiculousness of it all. There isn’t a man on this planet who could live up to an idealistic woman’s expectations, nor could I ever be the domestic goddess that Chris had imagined me to be. I cried before bed last night because I realized my husband isn’t the man I thought he was: he isn’t perfect

He has mommy issues and for some strange reason he actually believes that after working in the extreme Middle Georgia heat that he smells like a fresh daisy. He is oblivious to his own body odor (B.O.). As preposterous as an odorless working man is, I never believe his NOISE (aka pontification) on the topic. He often pontificates about how his manly pheromones should bring “me to the his  yard” whenever he beckons me hither.  Yet, I laugh, roll my eyes, and move on because commentary on his B.O. can be ignored.

I have no problems ignoring his jeers on the B.O. topic, or about the Republican agenda, or how much GDP has grown since Trump took office (says Chris). I have metaphorically selective NOISE cancellation headphones. Unfortunately, I have chosen recently to take the NOISE cancellation headphones off and pay more attention than I should. Here lately, my expectation flag waves in tatters. I ponder: who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s ignorant, whose turn is it, etc. etc. I write. He welds. I teach. He farms. I mother. He fathers. He this. I that. I should be focused on this fact: me wife. him husband. We are a team, and I need to stop thinking like a whiny girlfriend. Now, as far as my husband goes, he is supposed to love me as Christ loved the church, based on our religious preference. 🙂

This weekend Chris asked me to make a list of things that he could do to make my life easier, and at the time of the request, I did not understand the point of the task. I may not still understand his reasoning, but for my purposes, I have created a list. This list would be necessary for me to consider the NOISE inside our relationship as background noise instead of foreground noise.

Don’t threaten me

Just listen to me

Don’t abuse me

Just love me

I am a highly educated, attractive woman with morals, values, and a purpose just as he is a highly successful business owner with goals, plans, and a dream of a new Ford truck. I am a natural nurturer who will rise to the occasion when the occasion calls for it. I can and will admit when I am in the wrong, and my level of commitment supersedes my emotions at any given point in time. Today, I do not feel reconciled or resolved; however, I am committed to overlook the background noise.

Ultimately, it would be nice if our romantic game would step it up a bit. I got a promise ring for my birthday after two weeks of dating, and I gave Chris a vacation for our first anniversary. A camping trip with just us sounds heavenly. I will begin to plan! I want January 10, 2019 to be as special and as memorable as it was in 2016 where we ordered the same entree at Longhorn and bonded over heartbreak and sweet tea. I want to tear up when I look into his face from the joy derived from a healthy, thriving relationship and a shared commitment and love of family.

wedding pic

MUSE

redbird

the bird pecks
at the window
while atop
its perch of
overgrown shrubs
my voice catches
inside my throat
certainly it knows
how secrets stream
down the eaves
silver and gray
one, two, three
they ooze out of me
as the bird sways
in the breeze
lighting upon
the leaves of a bay

 

Jennifer Greene Sullivan

5.16.18