Relationships, relationships, relationships. I have not met one man or woman since I was a teen, that wasn’t looking to get into one, was already in one, or trying to get out of one. But ultimately, every adult I know has been in one of these situations.
Now it’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I’ll give you an update on my relationship. I’m currently separated and headed for divorce after an eleven year relationship and five-year marriage. You’ll see from past posts that this was not an overnight decision, but ultimately one that is the healthiest for me and my daughters. So at this point in my life, I had to ask myself, why did I get married…again? That’s right, this is my second.
I had to ask myself two questions. Questions I kick myself now for not asking before becoming a bride…twice! But I can’t change my past, I can only learn from the lessons and pass on the knowledge gained. Question #1: What is my expectation of my husband’s role in my household/marriage/relationship? Question #2: What is my expectation of my role in my household/marriage/relationship?
Answer #1: My king, will be the provider, the leader, and the protector. Now understand I didn’t become saved until I was two years into my marriage, so what I seek in God now, was what I expected of whoever I ended up with. I expected him to provide for my household, financially, emotionally, and later on spiritually. I wanted him to be the leader of our household. I would look to him to set the tone of the household in which our family would follow. And he would be the protector. I could rely on him unquestionably when it came to the physical, emotional, and financial security of our home.
Answer #2: I expected that I would be the nurturer, supporter, and strength of my household. It would be my job to take care of the household and raise the children under the tone that had been set by my husband. Support and strength go hand in hand with me, so I expected that no matter what we faced as a family or individuals within the family; it was my job to provide the stability and strength of what my husband would lead us through and protect us from.
As I answered my questions, I came to realize my fault in my marriage, one which could have saved me and my husbands a lot of time. I never told them what I expected of them. I mean look at it this way: you apply for a job, get the interview, get the job, and go in on your first day. Imagine that when you sit down at your new desk, your new boss tells you to get to work. The problem is you never once received a job description and your boss never read your resume. You start working with the hope that you are doing what you were hired to do.
Now the fault falls on both. You, for getting all this way without asking your boss what was expected of you to do your job. And it also falls on your boss, for assuming that you knew how to do everything, without reading your resume. So at this point, your already hired and they don’t want to hunt for another candidate, so they are willing to train you. You have already prepared yourself for this new job, maybe even left your old one for this one, so you decide to give it your best shot. Ultimately you get fired or resign, because they can only spend so much on training and you just don’t have the interest or skill set to achieve what is now being expected of you.
Now I sent these same questions out to people on my email list. Two men and six women responded. The age span was from 27-57. Relationship status: single, married, divorced, co-habitating. Education: HS diploma – Master’s. Race: Black. Employment: All employed within their trained career.
Now all except one aligned their answers with the Bible. They viewed the man as the head, leader, provider, and protector of the household and the woman as the supporter, nurturer, helpmate, and to play a more submissive role. All agreed that the roles are equally important. As I read these, I had to think, are all these relationships successful? I mean if the conversations are being had and the expectations are being set before, marriage/moving in/kids/wasted years, is it safe to assume that all these people have found their soulmates? And most importantly, if the conversations are being held and expectations are being set, has the other person accepted the responsibility?
Because I don’t know all of the people surveyed, I can’t say for sure that they haven’t found happily ever after. But for the two girlfriends I do know, one divorced, one co-habitating; the expectations went unspoken. Now the one that is divorced, like me lesson learned. Because now her expectations are very verbal at the on-set, and no deviating or your gone. Cut-throat? No. Just looking for the most qualified candidate. May require a seminar or two, but there will be no micro-management necessary. My other girlfriend still has yet to have the conversation two years and a son into the relationship. Now here, there is excessisve micro-management, intensive seminars, and improvement plan after improvement plan with no end in sight.
My advice, if you are single and have answered these questions, don’t deviate, but do prepare yourself to have this conversation in your next serious relationship. If you are in a relationship/marriage and haven’t had this conversation, have it. You will know by the answers if you have found your soulmate. If you choose to keep these answers to yourself, don’t get mad at the person your with because they are not living up to your unspoken expectations.