Today, it is pouring down rain. It’s relaxing and depressing – a strange combination. While it would be more convenient if it would stop raining, I find myself hoping it will continue to pour. It is so nice to sit on the couch with a book and the sound of rain all around me. If it were just me here, this would be no problem. I would read and watch movies all day, dozing off occasionally, and eventually forcing myself to exercise. However, with a puppy in the house, rainy days mean extra pent up energy and extra indoor exercises to get the energy out.
Recently, I put her in her indoor exercise pen because she was growling and misbehaving. I’m trying to enjoy the rain, but all I can think about is the next time she’ll need to go out and use the bathroom and also her wanting (or needing) me to play with her. More than almost anything, I want to sit around, just simply relax and think about nothing but my book or my movie. However, since I decided to take on the joy of having a puppy, I’ve also taken on the responsibility of having her. Wouldn’t it be nice if she slept happily every moment that I wanted to do something else, and then woke desperate to be with me in the moments that I wanted to spend time with her? It certainly would, but it’s not the way she was designed. Golden Retrievers are the poster puppies for many companies and what many people think of automatically when they picture a family dog. For so many years I wanted a Golden. I wanted to see that happy tongue, wide smile, and wagging tail. I wanted to have a cute ball of fluff follow me around. Now that she is here, I am realizing that all those things come with a price. She requires hours and hours of quality time, walks, and training. When I chose to enter into a puppy-parent relationship, I chose to take her needs seriously and put my desires on the back burner when she needs me. I’ll bet you know where this is going, don’t you?
My wedding planning began when I was twelve. Recently, I found a notebook that had my wedding plans listed. There was a blank next to “groom,” but the music and bridesmaids were picked out. For a very long time, I wanted to be old enough to get married. I don’t think I was alone as I’ve heard many such stories. What I pictured was quite nice; there was an amazingly handsome man who smiled all the time and wanted to spend all of his time with me. He did anything he could to make and keep me happy, because after all, that is what love is all about, right? It didn’t fully occur to me that a man somewhere might be planning the same life, with a woman that adored him and did everything in her power to perpetually keep him happy.
The real thing (i.e., marriage) is much different than I pictured when I was twelve. In many ways it’s even better than I imagined. In many ways, it’s much worse. There is no way I could have understood the level of comfort a good marriage brings into one’s life. At the same time, I had no way of understanding how many differences a man and woman could have. Wow! When I chose to accept Eric’s ring and said “I do,” I was saying “I will take your needs seriously and put mine on the back burner when you need me.” Marriages that thrive will, at times, leave you with occasional disappointment. If you are married, and you’ve never had to give up something you wanted to do for the good of your spouse, you may want to check in with your spouse. It could be that your relationship is one-sided. One-sided relationships quickly lead to bitterness and disconnect. If you are in a relationship heading toward marriage, spend some time together to discuss your expectations – in detail – and how those expectations are to be fulfilled.
The rain is still falling, the wind is still blowing, and the book is still calling my name… and I’m getting ready to take my dog outside. After that we will have a rousing game of fetch. Soon thereafter, she’ll get sleepy, and I’ll read.
What do you envision your married life will be like? What expectations do you have?