It was about 6 years ago on a quiet Sunday. I had been married for a few years and my two young children had somehow miraculously fallen asleep at the same time. I sat down to read the latest issue of one of my magazines and opened up to a quiz that said “How to Tell If You Have Found Your Prince Charming.” I read through the questions. Does he sweep you off your feet? Does he surprise you with little gifts? Is he more like Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling or Hugh Jackman? As I’m reading, the movie “The Notebook” is on the TV. It’s the kissing in the rain scene. I look over to see my husband watching MTV’s Jackass on his laptop. He’s laughing, potato chip crumbs on the desk in front of him and he’s wearing a shirt that says “If you think my attitude stinks, you should smell my underwear.” True story.
It got me thinking about the fact that chick flicks and romance novels may actually be doing us a disservice. Have we set our expectations too high? Are we even living in reality?
The men of the movies leave flowers and notes. They wait years for the woman they love. They make huge overtures to prove their affection. They write poetry and love songs. Hell I’m happy if he empties the dishwasher without being asked to. Because that is REAL life. That is REAL partnership. Are there men out there who actually do go the extra mile? Absolutely. Do I wish that my husband would sometimes surprise me? Of course. But measuring the success of your relationship based on the parameters set by Hollywood is fatal. That is not to say that you shouldn’t expect to be treated beautifully, but that your expectations should be fair. Let me put this in perspective for my female readers. The lead ladies in the movies that most guys watch are always gorgeous. They know how to fight, black-belt style. They wear heels and lingerie to bed and are ALWAYS in the mood for sex. So to be fair, if you expect him to maintain Bradley Cooper type hygiene and behavior, then it’s ok for him to expect you to morph into Angelina Jolie no matter how many kids you have or how much they threw up that day, right? See how quickly this feels less appealing?
Each of you deserves to be in a relationship that makes you feel special and important and cherished. But really take some time to think about what that means. Would you rather he surprise you with flowers every day or take the time to coach your son’s baseball team? (Right now a lot of you are saying, “BOTH!”) I get it. I would like both too. But I would also like his continued understanding that if the baby is up all night every night for three weeks, he should stay at least 10 feet away from me at all times. I would like him to find it perfectly acceptable that I sometimes flop into bed in mismatched sweats wearing a mud mask facial.
Live in reality. Honor your needs but manage your expectations. Not one of us is “Hollywood perfect.” And thank goodness for that! Relationships are meant to be raw, real and remarkable. 😉