Before we got married, we went through a few weeks of pre-marital counseling and were asked, “What expectations do you each have going into this?” We both genuinely replied that we had NO expectations for our marriage. None at all. We smiled at each other, giddy in love, and actually believed what we had just said.
Fast forward a few months and we quickly found out JUST how mistaken we had been. We had both brought a TON of expectations for the other person into our marriage. But because we didn’t realize we had them, they certainly had not been communicated. Talk about a recipe for disappointment.
One night, Nazari came home around dinner time after hanging out with his brothers. I asked him what he wanted to do for dinner, to which he replied, “Oh, I already ate with my brothers”. This absolutely CRUSHED me. An over-reaction that made him both confused and a little irritated.
You see, I grew up in a home where we had family dinners every single night. I assumed that Nazari and I would do so as well. The absence of this ever happening (this wasn’t the first time) appeared to me as though he didn’t care about me or want to spend time together.
Meanwhile, Nazari grew up in a home where they rarely sat down and ate together. He had no concept of this, and was totally thrown off guard that I had been hurt by his actions of thought that was something we should be doing.
Looking back, this story seems so petty - and on many levels it is. But it was a small thing that kept building up into a big thing. If we were off base about dinner time - you can only imagine how many other expectations we were putting on each other and failing to meet (spoiler alert: SO MANY). Once we realized the root of this ongoing conflict, we were able to troubleshoot this issue so it did not keep happening.
Given our inconsistent work schedules, we rarely have had the same dinner time, and that became absolutely okay. (Naz also graciously makes more of an effort to check in about dinner before making plans of his own ;)
Just a reminder, to ourselves more than anyone, that there isn't always a "right" way to do things - like needing to have a routine sit down dinner - and sometimes just communicating our expectations about something makes a world of difference.