Eric is one of the most transparent people I have ever known. You do not have to wonder what he thinks because he will be happy to tell you. Sometimes, I feel the urge to elbow him gently to keep him from saying too much in certain situations. ~smile~ Alternately, I do not say enough, which is also a problem! If you added us together and divided us by two, we would be an average person!
In addition to saying what he thinks, Eric is not terribly concerned with impressing people. He is confident in who he is, what he knows, and what he has; so, he does not see the point in worrying about everyone else’s opinions. He is his own man. More than anything, he wants to help people with his life, and he intends to help them while still being 100% Eric.
Who Is This Person I Married?!?
Knowing this about him, I was not expecting to uncover many surprises after marriage. He is a very what you see is what you get person, so I felt quite prepared to unleash the “real” Eric. I heard a quote once which stated, “The real man you have been dating is at home locked in a cage just waiting for you to say ‘I do.’” I also heard this one a few times too: “Heather, guys hide their real selves until they are married. You have to observe your boyfriend in a lot of different situations before you accept a proposal.” But no, that could not have been true with Mr. Transparency! I knew everything I needed to know.
Okay, so maybe I was more prepared than a lot of new brides due to Eric’s very open personality, but I certainly did not know everything there was to know about him. One thing I did not know… is what being a wife meant to him.
“Why Are You Not Researching This?”
A few months ago, Eric talked to me about a home remedy he was interested in trying. He had mentioned it before and asked me to look into it. Anyone who knows me knows research is not my gift, nor am I interested in it; so, requests like that have a way of dropping to the bottom of my list – even if unintentionally.
But, that night, Eric thought he had waited long enough. He expressed to me how frustrated he was that I was not willing to look into something that could potentially aid in our health. Then he said, “I always thought this was something wives and mothers did for their loved ones – researching products, trying new methods, and being responsible for the health of their families.”
Eric has always been very adept at research and can find information in a tenth the time it takes me. He knows which questions to ask and where to look. Because of his gift in this area, I was content to let him be the researcher of the house. It was not until then that it occurred to me, “He believes this is my role as his wife. As his helpmate, he thinks I should be looking for ways to make us healthier.” It is not a poor expectation; I was just unaware of it. His mom took care of health needs when he was growing up, and so he filed health and wellness under the wife’s responsibilities heading.
Eric and I both come from relatively conservative families. We both grew up in the same Christian faith and believed our backgrounds were pretty similar. But, I am discovering more and more that every family is weird and that most every family considers themselves to be normal. And even when we grow up and realize our families are strange, they are still normal to us. So, after eleven years, Eric and I are still discovering marital expectations we picked up from childhood experiences.
“But, It Is Your Job! How Do You Not Know This?”
Early in our marriage, Eric did not chase me down when I left the room crying. I thought that was what husbands did. If a woman cries, a gentleman goes to see what is wrong. It is that simple! However, Eric figured I would come back when I was ready to talk. He does not want me to follow him when he is upset, so why would he follow me?
Also, Eric did not like yard work! Not only did he not like it, but he would not do it! He hated it so much he hired people to do it for him. In my house growing up, the outside work was the man’s job, and the inside work was the woman’s job – unless the woman was too busy… in which case, it became the man’s job too.
Hospitality is another expectation Eric had (and has) of the feminine role. He thought his wife should be happy to have company over for dinner and fellowship. Guess who was hospitable and a tremendous cook? That is right: his mom!
You and your future spouse will uncover little surprises for the duration of your marriage which will keep life… interesting. ~smile~ If couples never had to work through anything, marriages would atrophy.
How many unwelcome surprises can you mitigate by discussing your expectations now in as much detail as possible? Even though you will not uncover everything, you can start your marriage further ahead than most. It is better to learn about an expectation in advance than in the moment!
We do uncover fewer surprises these days, but they still come. Thankfully, we have gotten better about how we express our expectations to each other. Eric has learned not to spring sudden changes on me, and I am learning to be more gracious in my delivery as well.
Have you discussed your beliefs about the roles of husbands and wives?