Expectations can downplay blessings

So, the last blog I wrote about our marriage actually covered years 1-7. I’ll pick up there today and share about how we celebrated our 10 year anniversary (which was yesterday).

We moved from Seminary in 2013 because Michael had another job offer in Pearl, MS. He was leaving Farm Bureau for the opportunity to live where we wanted to live. We moved to Brandon, but we weren’t able to close on our house before the kids started school. So….we moved into our camper. For 6 weeks. Now, I know people have experienced worse things, but this was a hard time. It started out fun!! I mean, we loved to camp! But normally it was a few nights at a time. Not 6 weeks straight!!!! By the end of the six weeks, we were all on eachother’s nerves. My anxiety was through the roof. And we were just ready to get out! Needless to say, after we moved into our house, we put a for sale sign on the camper! haha!

Once we got settled in the house, everything was great! It was everything we EXPECTED it would be. A nice house, great neighborhood, good job, amazing school, awesome church…I mean, life was really good. I started working a year later. I was able to help people with design services and it was a lot of fun. About 9 months after starting with ALFA, Michael went back to Farm Bureau. Still….life was really good.

However….a pattern we’ve seen over and over in our marriage is that when we start getting too settled and comfortable, God changes our direction. I’ve grown to learn that once things are just how I EXPECT them to be, God makes sure that I’m not missing His potential blessings.

So, long story short–Michael quit his job, started his own independent insurance agency, we sold our house and downsized, pulled the kids out of private school, started homeschooling, and yeah….that’s our current situation in a nutshell. It’s definitely not where we EXPECTED to be 2 years after moving to Brandon…but it’s where we are. And we are SO blessed! We’re blessed because God is at work. And His blessings are so much better than our expectations.

Alright, let’s talk about this 10 year anniversary trip. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some pictures of our trip. But for those of you who don’t know….we left last Monday and hit the road for a Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dive’s road trip!! We stopped in Memphis that day for lunch, and then headed to Nashville. We stayed in Nashville for 2 nights and had a BLAST! I learned that I’m no good at riding a bike in a big city. I got to sing Achy Breaky Heart with the man himself! We had good food and listened to good music. We laughed and relaxed. And then on Wednesday, we hit the road again. We drove to Lexington, KY. No rest for the weary though. We headed right to dinner. After this meal, we started realizing that we were getting pretty full….and still had 3 days of eating to do!! Ahhhhh!!! We left Lexington the next morning and made a quick stop in West Virginia to eat a hillbilly hotdog. LOL! And let me just say….it was the hillbilliest place I’ve ever been to! But it was yummy food and good company. This next leg of the trip was the longest. We drove 5 hours to Asheville, NC. Once we got there, we had about an hour of downtime before dinner. This meal was by far our favorite. It was a Spanish tapas restaurant. SO yummy! After dinner, we went and had dessert (because at this point-we just couldn’t stop eating!) and then we walked through downtown and enjoyed the atmosphere and live music. Just being together was awesome. It was everything I had EXPECTED this trip to be!

Until Friday….Our actual anniversary….

We woke up that morning in a good mood and excited about heading to Atlanta. It was a pretty quick trip. We got there at 2, and had anniversary pics scheduled for 6:30. I wanted to get my hair done and Michael wanted a hair cut. What was supposed to be a relaxing afternoon turned into a pretty rushed one. Michael and I went our separate ways, and that’s when my mind started forming all these EXPECTATIONS. Something like this…

“I bet Michael is going to surprise me when I get back to the hotel room.”

“I bet he’ll have flowers and champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting.”

“I bet he’s made reservations at a fancy restaurant.”

“I can’t wait to get back to the hotel and see all the surprises he’s come up with”

I mean, it IS our 10 year anniversary….surely he’s got big things planned.

I got back to the hotel room to finish getting ready for pics, and he was there sitting in a chair on his phone. All ready for pics….just waiting on me to get ready. {insert: he was looking smokin hot!} So, I started putting my make up on…..wondering where the champagne and strawberries were….getting a little aggravated…..I started getting dressed….wondering where my flowers were…..getting a little more aggravated. So, I finally asked him where we were going to eat after our pictures. And he says “Oh, I don’t know? I haven’t made any reservations. Let me go down and ask the concierge what he recommends.” Umm….seriously?!!??!?! Ok, Tonya, calm down. It’s ok. Don’t let this get you in a bad mood. It’s fine.

We met the photographer in a park at Atlanta and the pictures were so fun. It actually helped my mood a lot, and I was ready for dinner. But….a switched flipped when we got to the restaurant. If you’re a woman, you know the switch I’m talking about. Good mood-Bad mood-Good mood-Bad mood–Dang hormones!!! Michael immediately started asking me what was wrong. I told him nothing. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in 10 years of marriage it’s communication. So, I told him what was on my mind. I could tell he felt awful that he didn’t live up to my EXPECTATIONS. But my willingness to communicate how I was feeling led to a great conversation. Michael started pointing out that he didn’t think to do any of those things because the whole week has been a celebration of our marriage. Not just that day. The whole week had been nothing but us enjoying eachother, experiencing new things, and not one single argument or fight had come up. And here I am, about to let these stupid EXPECTATIONS ruin a trip that has been the biggest blessing! I was NOT going to let that happen. He was so right. It wasn’t about “stuff”…..it was about our time together. Gosh, I love when he helps me put things into perspective.

And that’s what I want to leave you with today. I can look back at our marriage and see that when I start letting EXPECTATIONS fill my head….I start missing out on the blessings that are all around me.

No, we’re not a perfect couple. We do still argue and get mad. But the arguments and bad moods are a lot fewer than they used to be. We’ve learned a lot over the past 10 years. But it’s because we sought it out. You can’t put a book on your head and expect to be smarter. You have to open the book. And The Book that we’ve found that helps our marriage the most is The Bible. It’s not just a book…it’s an instruction manual for life.

Well…..we’re about an hour from home. WOOHOO! We are so excited to hug our babies and sleep in our own bed. Thanks for taking this trip with us. I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures and posts….and I pray that God will use something I’ve said in these blogs to encourage you to fight for your marriage!

Have a great day, friends!

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