Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to say that after 20+ years of being in the rodeo scene I got to attend my first NFR in Las Vegas. I scroll social media every year during this time and get excited for the contestants and their families, pick out my favorite NFR outfits and just truly bubble with joy during this most wonderful time of the year. Since my husband’s entire career revolves around the rodeo industry, he spends more time out there than I get to due to various recruiting and business opportunities. This blog isn’t called Bucking Horses and Burpcloths just because it sounded cute; this is our life. My husband is the “bucking horse” portion of this outfit while the baby and I are the “burpcloths”. It may come as no surprise that I just can’t do 10+ days in Vegas with our little girl, Conlee. I. Just. Can’t.
On December 5th Logan loaded up my mom-car and made the drive to Vegas. I handed him $200 and said, “Make this last as long as possible”. See, in my world of frugal living and thriftiness, I would have scoured the lunch specials and happy hours and would have stretched that money like a waistline at Thanksgiving. I learned REALLY quickly that Vegas is just not the place for frugality; I expected my husband to live on less than $100 a day, including food and transportation. I was sadly mistaken. I had unmet expectations, and my frustrations grew more and more with every phone call saying he needed more money.
Do you realize that the number one relationship killer is not money? It’s not sex, it’s not adultery, it’s not the in-laws; it’s unmet expectations. I haven’t been married more than three years so I still consider myself a newlywed; however, I can tell you that the devil loves to creep into your marriage anyway he can, and one of his crafty methods is to do so through unmet expectations. Before long, your needs aren’t met, you’re unhappy and your marriage is in shambles.
Most of the time we set expectations in our head that are either extremely lofty and unrealistic or we just don’t communicate simple needs well. We’ve been doing it ever since we were little girls. We have always expected a Prince Charming to swoop in and save us and live happily ever after. We use romantic movies to portray what a marriage should be like. No wonder we are disappointed when real life turns out to be different!
Sometimes I go about my day “expecting” what my evening will be like. I’ll expect to get off work, get the baby from daycare, get a horse rode while said baby naps, cook a good dinner and chat with my husband when he gets home. I’ll clean up, do a load of laundry and go to bed at a decent hour. It almost always goes something like this: work later than expected, pick up baby, baby cries the whole time so horses don’t get rode, baby is still crying so nice dinner becomes pizza, Logan has practice and a meeting I forgot about, eat cereal and go to sleep with piles of laundry surrounding me. I’ve already set myself up for disappointment by lofty expectations with no wiggle room.
Can you see how this creeps into our marriage? This hit me the most when we had our baby. What I expected from my spouse was often not reality and the same can be said about me for him. It wasn’t long before I was extremely frustrated with my spouse and honestly began to question the strength of our marriage. You see, I had set expectations for him that he didn’t even know existed. How could he possibly follow through if he didn’t even know what I needed?
Thankfully there was a lot of grace extended during those months and we learned how to be better partners for each other. I learned how Satan loves to lure people into his trap and how to combat his tactics. It took humility. It took remembering that I, too, am not perfect. It took prayer and lots of time in God’s word. It took a lot of realizing that I needed God’s grace and that I needed to extend that same grace myself. If you’re finding yourself unhappy or frustrated I truly encourage you to examine the expectations you’ve set in your marriage and ask the Lord to help you rearrange them in a way that honors Him and your spouse.
Isn’t it funny how 10 rounds of rodeo in a town like Las Vegas can make you think about your marriage and how far you’ve come? I’m glad that what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas; I’m taking it home and learning how to set good, solid expectations and communicate those little hiccups along the way. ❤️