Thursday, May 06, 2010

Striving for Pefection: A Lesson in Futility Part II

If you haven't read Part I please head on over here before going further.  It's for your benefit not mine-I tend to babble and it will keep things fluid...

If you're back for more of my ugly, imperfect self say a quick prayer that my words will be completely of the Lord.  My purpose in writing about challenges in our marriage is to acknowledge and testify that we stumble when we put ourselves before God.  And marriage is not a race but, hopefully, if we are blessed enough to grow wrinkly old together, a marathon of joys and challenges. 

Now. Where were we?

I often wonder why I had this attitude of needing things to be perfect.  I certainly was not perfect and really didn't expect it of myself.  If I did I would be a meticulous housekeeper and that, my friends, is not the case.

Did I expect mediocrity for me?  No.  Did I hold myself to the same standards as my spouse?  I said I did but probably not.  Secretly I thought he should be more like me.  More sensitive, more understanding, maybe even more passive for the sake of my pride.

I can remember being a child of the 80's. I know, just saying it gives me jelly bracelet, Madonna and side pony tail flash backs.  For me, growing up had everything to do with how I envisioned my future.  I was one big, romantic mess thrust in front of a television or boom box to be schooled in relationships.  Put upon by evocative music lyrics like "I Want Your Sex" and "Like a Virgin" my perceptions of love, maturity and marriage became distorted and out of sync with what I had been taught by my parents.  I saw perfection played out in ninety minutes on a movie screen and thought to myself, "I want that".

Am I blaming society or Hollywood for my unrealistic ideals of love and marriage? Absolutely not.  But I can honestly say, as a young, impressionable girl, when you begin to romanticise a thin, legs-up-to-here prostitute that is swept off her feet by a rich, seemingly perfect man-there is room for cracks in the foundation.  And don't even get me started with Top Gun.  That movie was just one big falic symbol rolled up in Tom Cruise goodness (before his couch jumping and weird religion gave me the heebie jeebies).

But I digress.

Let's leave the 80's and move into 1998.  Marriage day.  White dress, white gloves, white chapel.  Vows, not-so-first kiss, bubbles (rice was no longer fashionable or safe for bird consumption).  Cake, friends and family, the Ritz Carlton Hotel.  Back to work on Monday for new, darling husband.  Reality hit on Tuesday.


And ever.  Oh crap.

I had no idea how to be a wife.  I was a amazing girlfriend-rocked the casbah in that department.  Loved his friends, loved his job, loved his mess. Our long distance, weekend relationship had been effortless and our four month engagement even better.  Fresh, exciting, new.  Now there were *gasp* expectations on both sides and not a single one spoken out loud.  Just.  Expected.  Quietly, painfully, brewing beneath the surface expectations. 

H had been an amazing boyfriend as well.  Thoughtful, generous, PATIENT.  Wow did that patience win me over.  He thought of me as quirky sometimes but loved the role of "I know better than you, but aren't you adorable".  I can't blame him-I put him there.  I loved how tough and stormy he could be because it made me feel safe.  He was, in some ways, an extension of my father.  I made him my solid rock and expected him to never waiver.

I began to change my way of thinking shortly after the birth of our beautiful son.  Our miracle.  H was deployed and I delivered with the support of friends and family. But there was no husband to welcome our son with a kiss and no looks of adoration for the bride who gave him his first child.  It was extremely painful to have that experience without him and soon after, the creeping, nagging thoughts whispered to me in those quiet moments alone with our new baby.

I did this all on my own.

I didn't need you after all.

You left me and I was still fine.

I am a good mother even without you here.

My pride began to grow, filling every void that had been opened with loneliness and insecurity.  That pedestal slowly made it's way into the earth's atmosphere and I established myself as martyr extraordinaire.  I was blameless and faultless because I had been (in my mind) abandoned.  Again and again and again.

How could he compete with that?

I know you might be wondering where God is in all of this but stick with me. We're getting there. Come back tomorrow as I finish Part III of my futile journey in perfection. 

1 comment:

Mireille said...

I can guess where you heading towards April, and yes although my husband is not in the military I felt sometimes I can do it all alone... but to be continued...

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