First of all, I need to say a great big THANK YOU!!! to all of you who commented on my last post. It was a rough one and I so appreciate all of your comments and insight. It helps so much to get my thoughts written out and to hear the perspective and suggestions of others, whether they agree with me or not! I actually emailed the post to my husband just after I finished it. Neither one of us is very good at expressing ourselves when we're "in the heat of the moment". I think writing it out helps me speak a little more clearly and makes it easier for him to understand. It opened the lines of communication and we were able to work things out and have a great Christmas!
Second, I haven't been able to spend much time reading blogs in the last week. We're packing up and getting things ready to head out on a trip to see my family tomorrow and I'll be MIA for a few days more. I have been thinking of so many of you and I know a few of you are going through some rough spots. Even if I don't get a chance to comment on your blogs, I'm thinking of you all and offering up prayers that things are going well and the rough spots are smoothing out! You'll be in my thoughts as we're making the trek up north and I'm hoping I'll return to some fantastically wonderful posts about miracles and the little joys in life from those of you who really need a little light right now!
Remember that post I wrote about a week ago about how our children see how we react and learn from watching us? Well, I want to take that one step further tonight. And the argument with my husband actually ties in to that idea really well! You see, my husband and I come from very similar backgrounds; single moms, abusive fathers, alcoholic stepfathers. It's really kind of amazing how similar those things have been in our lives. But, there's one major difference between our lives that have shaped us in some profound ways. Our mothers are on two opposite ends of the "love" spectrum. My mom would not be considered a wonderful mom. But she was a serial dater. She threw herself, whole-heartedly, into every relationship. She rarely left a relationship without having first lined up a new one. Her whole life revolved around whatever her boyfriend-of-the-moment was into. My husband's mother was a fantastic mom. Her life revolved around her children. She had her faults, just as every mom does. But, she did a great job of putting her children first. In fact, once her second divorce was final, she made her children her whole life and didn't even go on one date for more than a decade!
How does that tie into the idea that our children learn from watching us? Well, I learned from watching my mom how to throw myself whole-heartedly into my marriage. I open my heart wide and give everything I have to give. Sounds great, right? Except for one thing....it can be absolutely smothering to the other person! My husband learned how to hold himself back, he didn't learn how to maintain a romantic relationship with compliments and encouragement. There are some serious flaws to both of our methods of maintaining a relationship. When it comes down to it, our parents did not model for us how to have a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and consideration for the other person. We're at a disadvantage. It's precisely the reason why we're in marriage counseling and need help figuring out how to keep our relationship strong and healthy.
Now, I know we're not alone in this situation. Many, many people come from single-parent families. Very few people have good examples of relationships to base their own marriages on. It can be hard! But it's so worth the effort to figure out how to make a marriage strong. It's worth the effort because not only does it make you happier and healthier to be in a good, constructive relationship, but it also provides your children with a good example of how to "be" in a relationship, how to work with someone, how to compromise and bend just enough. We don't learn those skills if we don't have examples to follow and people to teach us how. And our children won't learn those skills if we can't show them how those skills work!