I have big expectations. I want life to meet my expectations and the more time, money, anticipation, and imagination I invest in something, the bigger return I feel I have a right to. (We are still talking about the pursuit of perfection here.)
My husband Jerry has very low expectations.
When the two of us go to an expensive restaurant for dinner, I want food, ambience–the whole experience–proportional to what we’re paying for it, how far we have driven, how long we’ve had reservations, what the occasion is, and whether we’ve actually gone to the trouble of dressing up for it or not.
When my expectations are that high, it doesn’t take much–a drafty room, a dish that’s a bit too salty or a server who doesn’t seem to care–for that irritant to rub me raw all the way home.
Jerry, on the other hand, is satisfied to be with me and get fed and get home again safely. The particular sauce or spices on the meat, the tenderness, the flavor–he won’t even remember them.
(He does, however remember if the portion of meat served him is small. I ordered prime rib once and he ordered filet mignon. He’s never forgotten how small filet mignon is and we don’t go to that restaurant anymore. And once a passing server tipped a tray up, dumping water in his lap. We don’t go to that one, either. I think those are the only two bad experiences he has had with restaurants but like elephants he never forgets. The satisfactory meals he’s had, however, just become a happy blur.)
On the whole, Jerry takes what he gets and is content. He is a very, very good match for me because he’s even-tempered and I’m not. I’m off-the-chart high maintenance, although I don’t mean to be. I have serious doubts that I am a good match for him but we don’t visit that subject anymore.
Low expectations. That may just be one of the keys to getting through life in an imperfect world. More on that anon.