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Respecting, Not Expecting!

     Let me begin by saying I am writing this article out of conviction from my own heart and towards my own attitudes and actions.  When you find an amazing sale, you call your mom or sister right?  I mean who would not want to get a bargain to stretch the ol' buck.  And when you discover a great stain remover, you text your closest friend with the three children - why?  Because you know she needs this helpful hint to spare her children's clothing and HER washing machine and dryer. 

     So, the fact that I've stumbled across such a truth in my life, respecting instead of expecting, gets me excited to share as I hope that this phrase resonates in your heart and mind as it does now mine.

     Husbands and teenagers.  Dear to our hearts and yet at times we'd love to choke them out - am I lying?  Some days I feel like I've worked so hard to create structure, order and a sense of peace within our home and under 20.25 seconds flat that can all change depending upon the mood or wildness of my husband or teenage son. 

     Now don't get me wrong; it may not always be a bad thing.  I mean, my daughters one hundred percent LOVE that their father is more than willing to chase down the icecream truck and delight them with an icecream sandwich at 8:30 p.m. at night.  I don't hear them complaining . . . in fact, it's ME that does the groaning as I have an excited and sugared up four and two-year-old bouncing off the couch and television screen. 

     OR how about the teenage son that has decided he's ready to sit down and talk about his day now . . . at 10:30 p.m.  when I'm ready to COLLAPSE into bed.  I love that he wants to share, but my goodness, why does it usually seem to be right when my eyeballs are glazed over and my limbs are beginning to go numb?  The answer is who knows . . . but one thing I'm learning . . . is that instead of EXPECTING these two men in my life to get with MY program, I need to RESPECT our differences and be glad that they desire to be a part of our family unit in the best way they know how.

     I asked my great-aunt who is well into her 80's and has been married to my great-uncle now for over 60 years, "Aunt Iris?  What is your secret to marriage?"  And I was so floored with how she responded.  "Cindy . . . I'm going to tell you just like your grandmother told me.  You see, I came to her complaining one time that your Uncle Angelo wasn't paying enough attention to me and I remember your grandmother saying, 'Iris, does he come home every night to you?  Does he bring his paycheck home to your family?  Is he faithful to you?,' all of which I answered 'yes' to.  'Then Iris, you need to stop your complaining.'" 

     Now, ladies, let me clarify . . . my old Greek grandmother could be pretty cut and dry; however, the basic principle is this.  Sometimes we need to stop expecting and start respecting.  Instead of expecting my husband to be like me, think like me and act like me . . . I need to respect how he is and the things that I may take for granted. 

     He is an excellent father . . . sure he allows our son to have a Monster Energy drink at 9 p.m. 'cause our son convinces him that it won't keep him awake, and that would NEVER happen under my regime, but in the grand scheme of things, is that really going to hurt the boy?  No.

     And my girls . . . they adore their Daddy.  He is their hero.  Chasing down an ice cream truck for their benefit.  Taking them on bike rides through the neighborhood as he puts two child seats on his beach cruiser that he got for a gift.  That's good stuff!  And as for a husband?  He works hard.  He provides for our family.  He comes home every day to us. 

     Some may say, "Well, that's pretty basic.  You should expect that."  Let me just say, I choose to tell him how much I RESPECT that.  It gives him purpose and a feeling of appreciation.  Not to mention, it teaches our children to respect their father and his efforts.

     Again, I am not perfect and will be working on my new "Respecting instead of expecting" skill for quite some time.  Especially in the area of my teenage son.  Is it wrong to expect him to clean up his area after eating?  No.  But I'm learning to respect the fact that he just got side-tracked because he was busy thinking about hangin' with his friend.  I do.  And then, I respectfully remind him what it means to be part of a family and the importance of everyone doing their part - directing him to pick up his things.  So, you see, showing the respect does not mean being a door mat.  It merely means shedding off our own selfish desires and looking at something or someone through a different set of lenses. 

     Respecting instead of expecting . . . not only will you notice a drop in your high blood pressure, but you will also see a change in your family members as they respond in love and grace towards you.  After all . . . we do have our own little shortcomings . . . though I cannot think of any at the moment . . . I am certain there must be a few.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Cindy Aitken

Reader Comments...
2011-07-02 21:41:26
"Cindy, Ah! You got me. Love this. Thank you!! Blessings, Dorena"
        - Dorena

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