Unnecessary Pressure

February 10th, 2010

Hi, my name is Chelsea Petersen. I am currently a graduate student at Utah State University in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program. I would like to share with you the one thing that I would change about being a newlywed, if I had the chance.

A little over two years ago I got married, while going to school, and trying to work. Add the adjustments that need to be made in a new marriage on top of being a student, preparing for Graduate School, and working, and there was a lot on my plate. My husband Brett, who I might add is quite a wonderful man, also had a full load with school and work.  When we were first married, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the “perfect wife”.  I thought that because I loved him so much I had to show that love by being the “perfect wife.” To me, this meant:
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  • Having the house spik-and-span 100% of the time
  • Having a home-cooked meal on the table every night at 6 pm when  he’d walk through the door
  • Catering to his every need.

I felt a pressure from society that I had to be this ideal wife.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved showing him my love by doing all of those things for him but it wasn’t until about 8 months after we were married that I realized that Brett would still love me if there wasn’t a home-cooked meal on the table the second he walked through the door, or if the laundry didn’t get done until we were down to our last pair of undies. I have learned that those things are OK.

It took me and Brett some time to figure this out together.  Brett would often walk in the door and I would be busy running around the kitchen trying my hardest to get things done so that I could measure up to that “perfect wife”. Often times I wouldn’t even stop what I was doing to welcome him home, to give him a kiss, to tell him I love him, or even ask about his day.

Over time Brett helped me to realize that a spotless house is nice, but it’s more important to live in a place where you can feel relaxed and be yourself.  By trying to measure up to the “perfect wife” I was not being myself. One of the most important things for me now is not to be perfect by society’s standards but to be the best person that I can be for my husband.

Now that we are getting further into our marriage and beginning to discuss children and how we would like to raise them, I find myself again, trying to be the “perfect parent”. I have all the solutions for every problem that will happen with my children and exactly what I want my kids to do and not do. I am sure that soon enough, when my child is eating a Kit Kat at 3 months old or writing on the freshly painted wall I will have to change my way of thinking once again. But hey, I can dream for now, right?!?

My hope for you as the reader is to not make the same mistake that I have made. Realize that the most important thing in your marriage is to take the time to really love your spouse, communicate your expectations with each other, and to not get wrapped up in everything the world says that you should be.  Love your spouse to the best of your ability and don’t worry about what other people say. Who knows, you might surprise yourself and actually enjoy watching a football game while you’re curled up next to the one you love!