I had a funny conversation with my girl the other day in which she shared that she recently came up disappointed playing the holiday version of Relationship Russian Roulette with her husband. What is that, you ask? Don’t mind if I do! It’s that conversation you have with your significant other where you both agree not to exchange gifts during a particular holiday or special occasion (e.g. Valentine’s, Anniversary, Christmas). As the holiday approaches, us females (and lets be clear, its always the female) begin to secretly hope that you got us something. Why? It’s romantic to be surprised and feel that awareness that you want to go over and above to please us. It’s Russian Roulette because if you get us something, we are on cloud 9 and you get sex. No harm done. If you don’t, we are utterly disappointed and slightly irritated, you’re confused because “isn’t this what we agreed”, and a fight ensues thereby killing the vibe, and likely, a bit of your relationship. It’s a horrible set up. I don’t know why we do it. I’ve learned not to do it over the years. My Hubby Honey knows I want a gift on every special occasion. Every special occasion?? Yes. E-V-E-R-Y special occasion. I’ve pushed out two of your big head kids and managed to preserve my sexy. Yes. I want a gift on every special occasion and every third Tuesday if you can manage it. #realtalk
But, I digress.
Her story tickled me because she’s newly married and it’s really sweet to see them find their way together. It also occurred to me how easily it is to unknowingly set your relationship up for failure based on unfair expectations and failure to communicate. I can think of many occasions where I’ve expected Hubs to just KNOW something that I never shared. And then I get mad because I expect him to react or behave in a way that I’ve created in my mind. It’s lunacy at best, and for some reason, I continued to do it. How much easier would it be if I just told him how I felt? If I told him what I wanted? What is this incessant need to keep our men living in an unending Hunger Games-style emotional guessing game??
Am I afraid he’ll think I’m too demanding? Am I afraid he’ll judge my desires as petty or petulant? Do I just not care to do the work? Maybe … a little of all the above? You wanna know the biggest piece of irony? My profession is communications. It’s what I do All. Day. Long. So, why not with him? Why must he guess?
If I’m honest, part of me wants to feel the imagined intimacy and excitement. I want to feel what it feels like to know that he knows me so well that I don’t have to communicate what I consider base-level, rudimentary things. Another part of me wants the thrill and romance of having that storybook guy who planned the romantic weekend or surprise party or got the gift anyway. Part of me wants to test if he’s paying attention. And another part wants to annoy him as retaliation for some random thing he’s done to annoy me. I know, I know. It’s petty, but it’s real! Stop judging! I’m sharing here.
In the end, I realize that more important than feeling the romance, excitement and exhilaration from Russian Roulette is my desire to protect the integrity of my relationship. I love and respect my husband. And, rather than find ways to weaken that integrity, I’d much prefer to find ways to honor our love. Because it’s good love. Really, really good love. It matters to me that we’ve still got “that loving feeling” after all these years. I don’t want to sabotage that because I randomly felt the need to be surprised with a gift.
I share that because while women are on point 98.7 percent of the time :-), we need a gut check every now and again. If you’re playing Russian Roulette with your relationship, even one that has stood the test of time, eventually that bullet will hit the chamber. And you’ve got to ask yourself, “Is that shot worth it.”
Just food for thought. I figured #NYE is as good a time as any for a little self reflection.