Okay so I have to reminisce for a moment. I was the baby of the family - number five of five girls. Can you say spoiled?
I came to my parents later in life when they were financially secure and had more time and patience...or were just plain worn out.
For years I thought the world pretty much revolved around me - my sisters were much older and I was more like an only child.
There was no sharing toys or rooms or cars. They were all past that by the time I was old enough to care. Needless to say, when I married my high school sweetheart, things came to a screeching halt...my reign ended, at least for a number of years.
This wasn't at all how it was supposed to be. What happened to the money for clothes and shoes and eating out? How come there wasn't an all points bulletin at the sign of a sniffle or when I had a bad day?
Where was all the pampering and spoiling? What happened to the fun vacations and the not having to worry every time I had a financial need?
Reality had set in and very abruptly, I might add. I was no longer number one. I had just entered the Lifetime Partnership Zone. Two completely different people with two polar opposite upbringings. His needs were just as important as mine and we were both vying for attention and worthiness.
Any of this hitting home?
Perhaps you weren't an only child or the last child. Maybe you were the first, as was my husband. What then? In that case, you probably came into the marriage with a take-charge attitude - a "Team Matrimony," with you as the President. However, let me venture to say that your "Team Matrimony" most-likely turned into "Team...What Team?" Am I right? Oh those birth order challenges.
Here's what I've come to realize: Marriage comes with expectations.
When we enter the hallowed halls of matrimonial bliss, we come to the table with expectations, created from our past and expected for our future.
As those expectations go unmet, we fall into despair and wonder what happened to our blossoming relationship. He changed. She's different. I didn't realize he was so selfish. She completely disregards my needs and authority.
So what are we to do?
1. Realize right away that expectations are a thing of fiction. - Your spouse cannot and will not fulfill your every need. It is humanly impossible, and is an unfair burden to place on them.
2. Understand that you are no longer number one despite what your mother told you. - Our mothers mean us no harm, but they love us unconditionally. For most moms, their offspring cause the sun and moon to rise and set. Surprisingly though, when we come into marriage, it is no longer about "me" but is now all about "we". Our orbit is quickly put into its place.
3. Learn to be content with what you have, but work hard for what you've got. - Marriage is hard work. It is going to take time and effort on both parts to make it last. Don't be looking over the fence at the grass that sits next to you. Trust me, it's the same old grass just in a different spot. Be content with the gift you have been given (your spouse), but put continuous effort into making it better each and every day.
4. Find your glue. What is it that makes the two of you stick together? What causes two knuckleheads to start orbiting in the same direction? Who puts substance into your marriage; gives purpose...direction...forgiveness? For us, it was and is God. Without Him, we would be nothing, and our marriage would have shattered into a million little pieces with no hopes of repair.
These are just a few suggestions from a once numero uno. Though my sweet husband loves me, he knows that our marriage is even more than a partnership of two people. We've been stretched to a party of three: God, Rick, me.
I assure you that though things have not always been easy, it's a lot less pressure to be number three than A#1.
So, cheers to great marriages! May we all stay ever humble and in our place.