- Family and Parenting
Making it With a Family
My wife Nela and I with our youngest daughter in Peru.
Have you ever been divorced?
Just Making It
Say what you want there is something to be said for the family that is not split up these days. This is becoming more of a rarity all the time and a lot of what causes the problems is the financial aspect of life. Granted there are numerous problems and subjects that can contribute to this sad reality of the divorce rate, and there are many sad realities about it. One of the saddest realities is that the divorce rate in and out of the Christian community is virtually the same. Then there is the fact that the children of divorced parents are much more likely to divorce themselves. This is due to the devaluation of the relationship of marriage in the eyes of the child of divorced parents.
Every couple will have that "fight" and the subject of divorce will enter into the conversation, and depending on the character and how committed each individual is to the relationship they may or may not entertain the actual possibility of divorce. I am not by any means saying that the character of every divorcee is bad, or making any other insinuations. However, it only takes a little bit of un-forgiveness to cloud a persons thinking enough for divorce to seem a viable fix to the situation. "Making it" involves more than just money, and more than just a good relationship, it involves a lot of hard work, patience, kindness, understanding, and forgiveness!
Are you a Christian?
Do you consider divorce an option for the resolution of problems in a marriage?
Lets face it, life in the world we live in takes a lot of hard work, and many times that hard work is outside the home. The main reason for divorce in the US is stated to be financial difficulties. This is a fact, where there are two people and money there is bound to be trouble, if those two people are not yielded to the same purpose, and sometimes even when they are. There is little doubt that the topic of money can cause some rifts in relationship. In a marriage there are usually two personality types when it comes to money, spenders, and savers.
The act of acquiring money is not called work for nothing! It is hard to leave one's family and go to a JOB every day and do what it takes to bring home the bacon. Sometimes when there is one person working and one that stays at home it seems to the one with a job that the partner doesn't understand what it is like. However, to the one that stays at home it seems as though the one with a job doesn't understand how difficult it is to keep up with a house and children. Both of these sides have valid points and to a degree they are both correct about the other person. But only to a degree! They are correct because the other person is living a different reality. There is also a third reality, the reality where both parties in the relationship awake every morning and go separate ways to different jobs and spend their day with people who generally are not the best of friends and sometimes are downright hostile. Then they return to the common area of their house and with children that are starved for attention and an attitude from a bad day at work where they spent the day with people who they really didn't like. The sad reality is that most of the bad behavior gets dumped on the ones that we love and the ones we really can't stand get the best of us because we are constrained by the convention of the workplace.
Reality number one, the person with the job outside the home, doesn't see all the messes and spills and cooking has taken place during the day and doesn't see the stress. This can lead to conflict if the spouse with a job isn't understanding and at least willing to help when they come home. Imagine if at work where at least you are paid to do the task that you call a job you feel unappreciated, how would you feel if you didn't even get a paycheck, would you keep going back? Of course not! Nobody would, and they shouldn't! In the home it is not that much different it is still a job of sorts, and depending upon the spouse that "works" there may not be a lot of appreciation. A word to the wise people who do work outside the home, shower your spouse at home with appreciation and try to help when you return from outside the home. The reward will be a much happier spouse.
Reality number two, the spouse that stays at home. This reality is one of the most thankless JOBS there is in life. Everyone has these chores to do, but there is generally one person in a home that takes care of most of these chores, generally the woman in the relationship. Not because the man is not capable or doesn't care about them but because the woman is the more nurturing of the two. This is just the way that God made us. We are different in many aspects, and this is one of them. I am not saying that it can't be the man that stays at home, in fact I know a couple of people that that is the case. So it can work however, most of the time if someone stays at home it is generally the woman in the relationship that chooses to. All that aside regardless of whether it is the man or woman that stays at home the problem is the same.
The one that does stay at home feels that they never get a break from their job! Think about it it would be like living at work! Yuck! At the same time the spouse that works outside the home sees it as their refuge from the tasks of the daily grind, a place of rest, and recreation, both with the spouse and the children. When the "stay at home spouse" demands help from the spouse that has just came home it is like saying to the one with a job you have been out playing all day so why don't you get up off your lazy tail and do something! (I speak from experience) This can cause a major rift, but if the one who works outside the home would stop to think where is the lunch break in the day of the "stay at home spouse"? Where is their 15 minute break? When do they get to go home and get some rest. They literally live at work! My point is to just be mindful of each other's plight and try to be compassionate, and a little bit of tact in your speech would be good too.
Reality three, both spouses work. This is a difficult one, especially because the nurturer in the relationship still feels that it is their job to "take care" of the family. They wear themselves out with house chores after they get off of work and much of the time the other spouse sits idly by and in some instances plays video games! This is not acceptable in a relationship the one who is the nurturer should not be put upon just because they care, especially if they work! Mutual respect goes a long way to pave the way to a great long lasting relationship. If both of you work then the home chores should be divided also.
Do you find yourself being most unkind to your family?
You have heard it said that patience is a virtue. That is so true but in this microwave society it is a virtue that is almost completely lost. Patience would require waiting, and sometimes putting up with something that you consider unjust. Let's face it we do things all the time to offend others, and others do things to offend us all the time. If we fought about every single instance then we would not only be out of time but probably out of a job as well, since we spend a third of our time with those people, like it or not, we have to treat them with patience and respect. That should go at home also. If you would not say something to a coworker because it might endanger your job then why in the world would you say it to your spouse? You love your spouse, and you only have to put up with your coworkers! Sometimes I think that we forget who we are talking to, or because we are in our safe area, our home, we think that we can say anything. (I am just as guilty as anyone of this.) We say things that are not directed at our spouse but are being said to our spouse and thereby take a risk of offending the feelings of the one we love because of something that happened during the day with someone completely unrelated to them.
Because of the stresses of work and home (for the stay at home spouses) we let our guard down and do not put up our patience filter. What I refer to as our patience filter is that filter that we run all things through during the work day because we know we can't speak our mind if someone offends us. We may be able to tactfully say, excuse me but what you just said offended me, but with our spouse that is typically not how we say it is it? Do our coworkers deserve more respect than our spouse? NO!!! Why don't we just start using our patience filter at home with our spouse as well. This is hard work but a better marriage and making it will be worth it.
This topic should need no reiteration but I thought that I might as well give it some time in the spotlight as well. Some of the most unkind words that we say are typically said to our family, the ones that we love most. Does this seem wrong to anyone else? Research confirms however that it is true. Just a little kindness, unexpected acts, will go a long way. A kind word or a complement can set the mood for an entire evening. Who doesn't like to hear that what they did was done well? That what they cooked was delicious, or that something that they are wearing looks good on them? We all like to hear these things and it is kind to say them. Pepper your day with kindness to your spouse especially, open the door for them or fix them their favorite meal, take them to their favorite restaurant, or give them a night to go and do what they want without kids, and see your relationship blossom!
How many times have you been married?
I think that with the rest of the content above this should go without saying however, when it comes to relationship in the home I think that it is lacking. Both parties need to step back put their patience filter on and look at what is being said or done from a point of understanding. What I mean by that is try to evaluate and see if the offense or perceived offense is meant in the way that it is being taken? Is the tone sarcastic because he/she just got home from work and they are tired, or is it sarcastic because they are irritated with you? Understand that it takes everyone a little time to reset when they walk into the environment of the home from work, and that it takes understanding to make a marriage work.
Forgiveness is the most crucial topic, after all we all mess up, we all say things that we didn't mean, make poor financial decisions, and do things we shouldn't have. In short we all sin, we all need forgiveness every day! The forgiveness of a savior, the redeemer of our souls, and of each other. When we forgive, regardless of the contrition of the other party it heals us, it is not for the other party only, but for ourselves as well. When we harbor un-forgiveness we retain stress, and anger. These emotions raise the blood pressure and physically harm us! Do yourself a favor forgive quickly, and completely. Not forgiving completely harms a relationship because when something goes wrong things come back up again and again. Un-forgiveness can sew the seeds of distrust in the mind of the offended and deepen the void between the two parties. Complete forgiveness heals the relationship and helps to rebuild trust.
Making it involves all of what is discussed above and more too! There is an aspect that in my mind is not possible without a relationship with the savior. I know that forgiveness would be a problem for myself if I had not been forgiven so much! That being said put it all together and work at it! The road will be long and hard, filled with bumps and potholes, you may be hurt, you may hurt others and it is almost guaranteed that you will. Work through it and where children are involved it is even more important to stay at it. It is even more important to work every day to draw close to your spouse. You owe it to yourself, your spouse, and most of all your kids, to make it!!!!