Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Letting Go of Expectations for Valentine's Day

Hi Friends!

First, a bit of news, then some thoughts on Expectations and Valentine's day.

The News:

Bethany broke her wrist yesterday. And she doesn't even have an exciting story to show for it. She just slipped on some wet grass at school and fell on the concrete. Her teacher called me, so I went and picked up Bethany from school, took her in to Urgent Care, and sure enough, she has a "buckle fracture" in her left wrist. The doc put on a temporary fiberglass cast, and we'll be seeing the bone specialist at some point for a regular cast. Doc said it was a pretty simple fracture and should heal up just fine in 4-6 weeks. Meanwhile, though, they'll be no horseback riding for Bethany (she'll miss the February show - bummer!), or flute lessons, or piano lessons. I tease her that now she'll only be able to do her homework and clean toilets. Ha! ;-)

Next . . . a story about Expectations and Valentine's Day:

"Happy Valentine's Day, Honey," my husband murmured, then scooted out the door with his usual quick kiss and bear hug. "See ya later." Bryan winked and was gone.

That’s it? I thought. No candy, no flowers, no delicate chocolates in the traditional bright red heart-shaped box! Just a hug, kiss, and out the door? This was supposed to be a day of passion, of romance, of chocolates! A frown tugged at the corners of my mouth and deepened into ugly grooves.

Bryan never was much of a romantic anyway, I complained. He just doesn't understand women. Days like today are supposed to be special.

I sighed and drew my brows together in a deeper scowl as I proceeded to review again all the faults I imagined in my poor, unwary spouse. By the time I was finished, I was thoroughly dissatisfied. Valentine's Day was ruined. And it was all his fault!

I threw my body crosswise on the couch and swung my legs across the cushions. Reluctantly, I picked up the Bible for my daily devotion. I wasn't in the mood. My eyes fell on the day's scripture, "Serve one another in love" (Galatians 5:13). Love. There was that word. Today was supposed to be the day of love. I wasn't feeling much love at all. And it was all Bryan's fault! ... Or was it? The scripture didn't say to expect to be loved. It especially didn't say to expect chocolates just because it was Valentine's Day.

Slowly, my temper quelled and I began to examine my reactions. Bryan had done no more or less than any other day. He had given me the hug and kiss that I usually counted as a treasure. So why the difference this morning? Was it because today I had expected more? Had I succumbed to the dreaded "E" word - Expectation?

I began to realize that the problem with my expectations is that I can never win with them. As soon as I expected Bryan to act a certain way, I set myself up for disappointment. When he didn't meet my expectations, I was upset. If he had acted as I expected, then I would have been satisfied. But how could I have been pleasantly surprised and appreciate his kindness if I had been expecting it all along?

February, they say, is a month for love. And Jesus showed us what real love is all about -- Not candies, nor flowers, nor sweet chocolates wrapped in a fancy box. No, love is about laying down our lives for one another, about serving one another in love.

So, this year for Valentine's Day, I'm not going to worry about gifts of tantalizing chocolates. I'm not going to cling to expectations of what my husband is supposed to do for me. Rather, I plan to give my husband one of the greatest gifts of all in a marriage -- I'm going to exchange my expectations for joy and thanksgiving. This year, I'm making Expectation a dirty word!