The challenge today is to go back to our dating days and do something that would remind my husband of the "youthful wife I once was" (wow - I hope it won't be that hard granted we got married only 2 years ago - lol)
Our dating started slowly and progressed rapidly. Bryan and I met through our ministry (http://www.metroministries.org/) in 2004 in Summer Camp. I was on staff and Bryan has been coming for years to camp as a volunteer. I came over to the boys' side to relay a message... and I can't even remember what the deal was but I remember thinking, "How dare he talk to me like that?" I did not like that man.
Bryan came to our internship the year after in 2005 and stayed on staff. We were both in the same training to become team leaders for our Sidewalk Sunday School ministry. I think that was the time when we both started to let go of our judgmental and negative thoughts toward each other (oh yes, I later found out that our camp dislike was mutual). As we got to know each other better we gained more respect for each other. When we became leaders, our offices were next to each other and so... we talked once in a while.
In 2007 Bryan got transferred to another team and with the new team came the new assignment to our Preschool Class on Saturdays (guess who was in there?). We had lunch once and after a while they became a Saturday tradition. We both enjoyed those times. As that semester was coming to a close, both of us were getting ready to leave on extended vacations. Bryan was going to the Philippines and I was welcoming my mom for the first time into United States. We were going to be apart from each other for most of the summer. Bryan wanted to tell me how he felt about me and so Monday morning June 25th, 2007 we met for breakfast. I don't remember Bryan actually telling me that he liked me (I am sure he might have eluded to that at some point in the conversation) - so for me nothing was changing. We were good friends - that's all. For Bryan, however, that day became the day he fell in love with me and realized that he wanted to pursue me for marriage.
(the day Bryan fell in love with me - June 25th is now Red Polka Dot Day in our family)
We had breakfast and in a few days left for our vacations. As we spent long four weeks away from each other, I realized how attached I have become and how much I missed him.
We started dating in August.
(our first official dating photo - September 3rd, 2007)
For New Year's I flew to Arizona to meet Bryan's family.
(visiting Bryan's family in Arizona for the first time - Grand Canyon)
As I look back to our dating days, I am realizing how much we sought to please each other. Everything we did was geared towards serving and loving. We spent every available moment together.
We walked... a lot!
For our first Valentine's Day I made Bryan a nice breakfast (yes - these are heart-shaped pancakes on the picture) in the morning...
... and in the evening Bryan treated me to an exquisite meal.
We had a great time - and I loved dating him. He was the most wonderful person to be with.
As the reality of marriage settled in, I wondered what happened. I no longer had the butterflies. I blamed Bryan for many things that he could have been doing better. I was often frustrated and annoyed.
This has NOTHING to do with my husband!!!
I was the one who had changed. It was no longer enough for me to simply hear, "I love you". It was no longer enough to keep getting flowers. I wanted more. I wanted him to pick up his socks off the floor and put them into the laundry hamper. I wanted him to make more money. I wanted him to be more responsible. I wanted him to read my mind and know exactly which mood I was in. I wanted him to want to do the dishes (mainly because I didn't). Somehow I held him to a much higher standard now in our marriage than I did during our dating days... when just being with him was enough.
So... What's Next??
My next step was letting go of unrealistic expectations and simply enjoying our marriage. It worked for me. I may still sometimes get frustrated - but I am sure he has as many reasons (if not more) to be frustrated with me. God did not call me to be right. God called me to serve and love. And this is what I am resolving to do.
We went to Central Park today and took "couple pictures" - just like when we first started dating. And then we walked to Times Square. Just walking and talking and simply enjoying each other.
Think today: Do you have unspoken or unrealistic expectations of your spouse?