Ok, show of hands, how many of us women grow up with silhouettes of bouquets and hearts and walks on the French Riviera glistening in our eyes? *Couple thousand hands go up* Right, our culture sets us up with pretty high expectations for what love is supposed to look like and how it’s supposed to work out. Happily ever after, right? Happily. Cassidy Doolittle has shared her story with us, and it’s the story of a girl whose silhouettes turned out to be shattered glass, and how she and her husband were able to put the pieces back together in an even more lovely arrangement. For more stories and wisdom from Cassidy, you can read her contributions to sozowomen.com.
No Dream Come True
“The marriage I’ve been in for almost 7 years is not the marriage I dreamt about as a starry-eyed teen waiting for her prince to gallop in. It wasn’t the marriage I planned as a college girl, making the infamous “list” of mandatory husband qualities and writing a journal to my future spouse (gasp and gag…I can’t believe I did that). And it certainly wasn’t the marriage I expected as a newly wed trying to cram and squish our relationship into what I thought it should be.
Wasn’t I supposed to come home to roses and sonnets? Be verbally adored and validated at every turn? Communicate completely and perfectly to Steve with just a burning gaze? Have all my foibles and habits be merely adorable to him?
Ahem…no. The planet I was living on is still a mystery to me. (Maybe it was Stupiter or Ignoranus…)
Steve is my opposite in almost every way. Where I’m scattered, emotional, artistic, and haphazard he’s steady, consistent, organized, and no-nonsense. The melding alone of our two polar personalities would have been a huge task to tackle but with my (lofty) expectations thrown into the mix…needless to say we were seeing red, not stars.
I wanted it all romance and gooey words and I wasn’t getting what I wanted.
But sometime after we moved far away to Texas…marriage got real. It was just the two of us in the land of Longhorns and tumbleweed and we had to ditch the petty stuff and really find out what we were made of. Within 18 months, Steve lost his job, his dog, and his dad. We had an unsold home in Illinois and rental in Texas with a toddler and no job prospects. It literally felt like God dropped us in the desert and left us there to slowly die. Eight months of unemployment had us living on top of each other as I felt I was about to crawl out of my skin from the stress.
Something happened during that period, though. I was able to really “see” Steve for the first time. What I had thought was hardness before became an unshakeable strength. His tedious organization and budgeting that always irritated me was what kept us afloat financially with no job and 2 homes. His unemotional demeanor didn’t allow him to get ruffled when life and wife imploded around him.
The thing about the ooey-gooey romance part of love is that it deflates the second trauma or trial strikes. It’s not designed to be more than a delicious, fluffy icing intended to coat a solid foundation below it. I’m not saying a marriage should be all work and no play, though. There’s much power in the weekend away and some lacy lingerie. But after these past two years, I’ve never been more thankful to not have gotten what I asked for.
The pressure and weight of life could have crushed us. But God instead let it press us into something solid, firm, and much more lasting than the frosting we all lick off first. No, I’m not living my dream. I’m living a much more wonderful reality of growth and grace with the guy who is the one and only for me.”