Friday, 14 December 2012

It's Called a Screwdriver

I was asked if I remember the very first blog that I posted back in April of 2010.  I said yes and here it is:

To say that I am mechanically challenged would be an incredible understatement.  Much to the chagrin of my first wife I didn’t know the difference between a hammer and a hole saw. Interestingly during our dating years this was never a topic of conversation.  On the other hand, my wife’s father believed that he could fix anything, the operative word being “believed”.   This just became one of many expectations that as a new husband I did not fulfill.  My wife had every right to assume that I knew how to change the oil in the car, repair the dishwasher when it broke, etc. because her father could.  I thought I was doing well just to know how to start the car and turn on the dishwasher.  My first wife passed away and I never did get a whole lot better at doing the handy things that so many men can do.

The path to many counseling sessions has been paved with the bricks made of expectations. (That’s as metaphorical as I get)  Most often we bring to marriage some preconceived notion of what it will be like.  Perhaps our parents modeled what we understand marriage to be like.  Sometimes books, movies and TV become the source of our paradigm of what we can expect when we tie the proverbial knot. 

Are expectations bad?  Yes!  Expectations are bad because without realizing it they turn into entitlements.  I am entitled to (fill in the blank - conversation, a hug, clean clothes, sex, and appreciation, have my opinion respected, etc.)  What right do I have to expect that my wife should wash and fold my laundry every week?  I don’t remember that being in the marriage vows.  “I take thee Kathleen to be my lawfully wedded wife, provided you wash and fold my laundry every week.”  When an expectation becomes an entitlement we feel cheated if our spouse fails to “perform”.  Resentment builds as they fail to meet other expectations.  And the ones they do meet we don’t appreciate because that is their “duty”.

 And as for my lack of mechanical aptitude at least I set that record straight early on in my relationship with my current wife.  I met Kathleen on line.  One of my first confessions was that I was about as useless as tonsils when it came to fixing things.  She wrote back and asked if my manhood would feel threatened if she could fix things.  I assured her that my manhood would be just fine and we have lived happily ever after.

What do you think, are there any justifiable expectations?

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