It was a couple of months before our wedding and was working as a nurse on the Progressive Care Unit. Eversince I had gotten engaged it seemed that everyone had marriage advice to bestow unto me. It was as if I was holding sign with a basket "Heading to the altar, drop advice here". Some of the advice was cliche "don't go to bed angry", "laughter is the best medicine". I would smile, give the polite head nod and thank them.
One day while typing away at my computer, casually engaged in conversation about marriage with the nurse next to me, the case manager who was sitting behind me spun her chair around and dropped her pearl of wisdom into my imaginary 'drop advice here basket'. "Don't have any expectations" she quickly said. She always spoke super fast, I thought I missed what she said. She then repeated it, her index finger waving in the air, shaking her head "Don't have any expectations". I remember thinking 'that sounds weird, of course I have expectations' I mean come on, we will both be wearing rose tinted glasses and gaze lovingly into each others eyes every night, right? I was perplexed, but listened as she gave an explanation.
Her words "Don't have any expectations" hung in the air and stuck onto me, but I was still unsure of what they fully meant for me. That first year of marriage I remembered that advice about expectations and my idea of marriage being like a romantic movie. I then realized what the case manager had meant. Of course you have the general expectation that your husband will posses moral standards. But my discovery of the meaning behind that phrase was "let it go", "don't cry over spilt milk", "go with the flow". If he doesn't come home with flowers, no biggie; if he doesn't remember every detail of the conversation I had with him while he was fixing the lawnmower, that's ok; if he forgot to pay the bill on time, I've done that too.
By no means was this an easy lesson for me and by no means do I have this down pat. In no way am I perfect in this area, I fail all the time. Which is amazing because Jeremy is very patient with me, thank you :) But embracing this idea helps me to be pliable. It gives me permission to be easy going, to be graceful, and to be gentle. I think back on those words about expectations with appreciation and realize why they stuck with me.