I was a fatherless nineteen-year-old, wounded from a lifetime of disappointing men, when I met Daniel, the man of my dreams. My new boyfriend’s love placed a soothing balm on my hurt, and he tended to me like a fragile bird in need of gentle care.
Daniel was the first man in my life to treat me with complete respect and kindness, and as a fatherless woman, I truly mean the absolute first man, ever.
I knew soon after we met that I would spend my life adoring him. In my mind, he could do nothing wrong, from the way he dressed, to his perfect family, right down to the gentle way he spoke to me. I had found my knight in shining armour, or Abercrombie & Fitch, and he was going to erase all my hurt, and make my dreams come true.
We were both twenty-one when we stood at an alter and said our vows. Our empty bank account and tiny apartment didn’t stop us from making the ultimate relationship commitment. I believed that the love in my heart could overcome anything. Together, we would tackle difficult moments in life with a persistently upbeat attitude.
In our first year of marriage we were met with tough circumstances; our only car died in the middle of the highway, I was laid off when I was pregnant, and we had no money to pay our bills. We still managed to feel positive despite our setbacks.
This year we celebrated our seven year anniversary, and it has been a wild seven years together. We have three daughters, and no longer have a dead car or a tiny apartment. Circumstances have improved, but these last seven years have chipped away at my smooth edges, and left me a hard and jagged rock.
A couple of years into our marriage I realized that my husband wasn’t perfect. For one, he always shaved his beard the second I cleaned the bathroom sink. How can someone perfect be so ridiculously inconsiderate? Chip, chip, the jagged rock began to form.
I started to see other flaws too. My husband is a real person, not a character in a storybook, but I had pinned my hopes for all the disappointing men in my life onto one human, and the weight was crushing.
My knight wasn’t able to create the perfect life that I was hoping for, and I wasn’t able to remain a compliant person in our marriage, expecting everything to be done for me. Something had to change, or the fairy tale was going to crumble.
It wasn’t until I took a good look at my own deeply rooted imperfections that things began to turn around. I learned that I had grown into a pattern of blaming my husband for my past hurt. I have uttered unkind and sometimes downright mean words when circumstances haven’t worked out the way I wanted, blaming my husband when our finances weren’t in check, or our house was in shambles.
Instead of looking at my own insecurities and life history as the root of our problem, I placed my life’s disappointments on the imperfect shoulders of my husband.
My marriage is still far from perfect, because we are two imperfect people doing life together. But, once I acknowledged that I was not a princess and my husband was not my prince, life became much easier to manage.
As I take ownership and control over my own self, I have blossomed into a multi-faceted woman. From little choices like getting my driver’s license, and choosing to pursue a career outside of the home, I am claiming my individual identity, and my marriage has become a true partnership.
When I was nineteen, I thought that the young boy I fell in love with was perfect, and in a lot of ways he was - perfect for me at least. I adored him the moment I set eyes on him, and now that I’ve shifted my perspective and loosened my expectations, that adoration has returned.
Instead of a perfect boy, I see a man who is complex, with his own edges and flaws, but many strengths and beautiful pieces that create one whole person. I do not worship my husband, or expect him to save me, but I do love him to pieces.