So – I didn’t get around to writing yesterday. Mea Culpa.
It was a busy-arse day. And for one solitary reason.
We were making Polish Kabanosy. Stuffing those slippery sucker sausage casings with a mountain of meat I’d cured – and then smoking it. My partner is Polish – did I tell you that before? And we live in a small town which makes buying it impossible without a plane trip or a 4-hour drive.
His opinion on Australian Kabana – ouch – I can’t use those words in a PG timeslot.
Anyways – we’ve been together for ages – and when I failed dismally at learning Polish (except names for food and how to swear like a sailor)….even though he swore that it would be easy. I learnt how to cook Polish food.
Okay – so here is the lowdown on authentic Polish food…you have to almost die cooking it in order to prove yourself a worthy wife. At least that’s my theory.
It’s sneaky like that – looks easy. Doesn’t use a lot of ingredients. But – you have to slave over that food forever.
I learnt to cook Polish doughnuts –Pączki. A couple of days work there – and that’s if you cheat and buy the plum jam. Polish cheesecake – you have to put that through a food mincer THREE TIMES. Salatka – cooked potato/veggie salad – the smaller you can cut those tiny cubes of vegetables – the closer to the god of wives you get. It goes on. Every single thing you make – and the effort it takes – the more you prove yourself as a wife.
This week I have declared myself the queen of wives. Mostly because no one else will. I made homemade ketchup. Smoked ribs. Homemade rye bread. Made 3 kg of Kabanosy. And can hardly feel my limbs let alone keep my eyes open.
If I had a crown I’d be wearing it….as I sleep.
Anyways – it made me think of something.
The different expectations of what makes you a “good wife” or “good husband”.
There is a phenomenon that I have noticed over the years – firstly with myself and then in the people I’ve worked with.
I hear “It’s only a piece of paper” all the time when people talk about getting married. But let me tell you this. That little piece of paper can be a ticking time bomb in your relationship.
Am I saying you shouldn’t get married – hell no!
Just that when that piece of paper gets signed and sent to the Registry of Birth Deaths & Marriages…all the expectations that the couple have about what their roles should be and what marriage will look like – come hurtling through the door.
The number of people who call me on their honeymoon – well, it’s a lot.
He’s my husband so now he should…
She’s my wife now so she should…
Married people do this…
Married people do that…
There are the expectations of the individuals. Then the cultural expectations. Then the family expectations. Then the religious expectations. The social expectations….and the list continues.
Can you see what a sh$$storm this can create,
And it can get worse. If neither partner talks about their expectations or their disappointment when the expectations are not fulfilled – the resentment that builds is HUGE. Resentment in a marriage is usually fatal.
Each person is sure that their expectations are the correct ones. They have to be – that’s what they saw, or were told, growing up. The idea that someone else might have been told, or seen something different rarely occurs to them.
I could NOT believe that my new husband arranged the cutlery drawer differently to me. I could not believe that his family had expectations that once we were married that I would join their religion – and so would all of our children. That we would go to church every Sunday. He had the expectation that I would cook every night. That I would go straight back to work after the kids. I thought he would hand me his paycheck and I would pay the bills. Yep – shoot me know but I did think that. I was 21 – cut me some slack. I thought marriage would make me feel safer. I thought he would take me out for dinner often. He thought that’s what you do when you date – not when you’re married.
Can people live together for years – get married – and this still be a new issue. Yep. That slip of paper holds great power.
A lot of the core issues I see with couples stem from expectations about what marriage will sound, look, and feel like.
A wife does this.
A husband does this.
The biggest disconnects happen when neither person has ever talked about what that looks like for them. Out of fear. Out of thinking that they must be on the same page because they are in love. Or fear of rejection.
Opening those floodgates can cause big change in a marriage and quickly. People need to know all the unspoken rules before they can commit to fulfilling them. You wouldn’t agree to a job without knowing exactly what will be expected of you. It might not feel like a sexy conversation but it needs to be had. And it is never too late.
It’s these conversations that I help my clients have. I kinda act as a translator to make sure everyone is heard and completely understood.
Do you think your partner should just know what husbands/wives do?
Are you scared to voice what you want and need in case you get rejected?
Does the thought of having this conversation make your tummy drop to the floor?
If you’ve tried many things that simply haven’t worked… But most importantly, if you’ve been feeling the pull to have me by your side as your mentor and you’re ready for deep support as you find your way back to your truest self…click here to book your first session.
I was going to post a pic of me with a crown made out of the Kabanosy – but I can’t be assed to move a single bone of my body. So – just going to leave you with a mental picture of a tall, middle-aged brunette with kabana falling off her head like edible dreadlocks.