I haven’t been to a wedding in ages, and this month I went to two. Above is a picture of the bride and me (sorry about the red eyes), and below a shot of bride and groom (second wedding). Both absolutely beautiful, both showing excellent promise for true happiness.
That’s what I told my friend Jody, as I was showing her the pictures.
My friend, Jody, is divorced. So, as I was scrolling through the photos, and telling her: they look so happy, don’t they, success stories, she agreed, but almost immediately added: that’s because you see the best in people. Because YOU want them to be happy. But life doesn’t always work the way we want it to.
I put the phone down, and came this close to snapping back with a certain remark, then I remembered. Jody’s story started just like the two couples’ stories, more or less, some twelve years ago. Two people in love, happily married, having a child … then … the end. There were lies, there was cheating, there were fights, there was a divorce.
It’s natural to tell ourselves things we want to believe, expect the best in people. Especially at a wedding. But there is some truth in what Jody said, and I had to admit to her that while both couples looked perfectly in love, there is a serious challenge ahead for one couple (both are PhDs looking for teaching jobs, which in one of their professions might not be so easy to find. Depending on the offer, they might have to live hundreds of miles apart, and that’s a serious test). But I’m sure they’ll be fine.
Anyway, Jody said there are two kinds of people in the world, and she had a lot of time to think about this since her divorce: those who expect the best from people around them (be it when it comes to a wedding, a conversation), and those who expect the worst. And managing our expectations, especially when it comes to promises, or when we question motives, is important.
What do you think about the two-group scenario? Hard to do at a wedding, but maybe for life, in general: 1. Expect the best and possibly be disappointed. 2. Expect the worst and hope for the best. I’m not sure I could pull off the second, but maybe a combination?