Friday, January 28, 2011

Just some observations about marriages

Through the years I have observed many couples.  I'm a people watcher and I've always been interested in couples and why some seem so happy and some do not.  There are many factors, but this is just one of the things I've observed and was thinking about today.

Each partner in a marriage is a part of a team.  As a team, they try to make up for each other's weaknesses and allow the strengths to shine.  Sometimes this is done intentionally, but often subconsciously.  Let me share some examples.

I've witnessed many couples where one parent is very relaxed about discipline and the other is very strict.  I believe that often what happens is that one of the parents thinks the other isn't doing it right, so they try to compensate.  Maybe the mom is too relaxed and the dad thinks the kids are getting the run of the place.  So he tries to compensate by being very strict.  Or perhaps it's the other way around.  Mom thinks Dad is too strict so she tries to be "nicer" to the kids to give them a break.  I often wonder if one of them would try to support the other rather than swing the pendulum the other direction, if they wouldn't meet in the middle and be happy.  In my own marriage I've seen this happen.  I will usually get way too relaxed right after I have a baby.  Roger does a great job taking care of the kids as I recover, but you can almost see the relief when I start to get back to myself and help more with the discipline.  And recently I've been too relaxed just out of laziness.  He's had to be the bad guy to compensate.  As I step up and take my place as his partner, I can see him relax and have more fun with the kids.

Another example I've witnessed is attention to the kids.  Dads have a tendency to get buried in work.  Sometimes they just have to because work needs more attention.  Mom feels Dad is not giving the kids enough attention and tries to compensate by spending more time with them.  Dad feels Mom is spending too much time with the kids and he feels left out.  So he either tries to get more time alone with her or buries himself in work even more where he feels needed.  Either of these leave Mom feeling MORE of a need to spend more time with the kids.  It becomes a cycle that pulls them apart.  If Dad were to just join the family in their activities, I wonder if he realizes how attractive that would make him to his wife?  Or if Mom would stop and spend some quality time with her husband, I wonder if she realizes he would then want to be with her AND the kids more?  As a team, either partner needs to be the one to step up and support the other rather than waiting for the other to take care of you.  It's a partnership.  It's not all about you getting your own needs met.

These are just a couple of examples, but I see them over and over.  People doing the opposite of what their spouse really wants/needs.  I think part of why this is on my mind right now is because recently there were a couple of small issues bothering me.  You know, we all have times where that person we love the most annoys us--like leaving every door open. ;)  Twice recently things have come up where I was annoyed about something stupid like that.  I pray a lot.  I pretty much just take everything to God.  I don't always give Him a chance to answer, but I talk to Him a lot.  Sometimes He manages to get a word in edgewise and on these two occasions, He did just that.  I complained about a small trivial thing and God asked me, "And why would he do that?  What about you causes this reaction?"  Ouch.  But yes, it was me.  When I fixed my bad behavior (complaining too much, for example), my complaint about my husband (him seeing me as grumpy) disappeared.  Imagine that.

So I don't know if anyone will find this helpful or if it just gave me a chance to write--something I love to do but don't make enough time for.  I'm not sure it has anything to do with our blog, but most of life doesn't anymore.  We still have a large and growing family, but we don't live on the farm anymore.  We do still have milk cows and hope to get chickens again soon. And we're still different from most people in many ways.  But I don't blog often because the point of the blog was originally about leaving the city for the country and well, we're in between now so who knows what yall want to hear about now?  So I'll just ramble about my thoughts whenever I feel like it. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meeting the new grandson and how a large family vacations

I was going to try to skip blogging about our new grandson to give Stephen's little family a bit of privacy from the blogworld, but I just can't.  He's too cute!  I gotta shout it out to the world!

Gabriel Joseph was born Dec 28, 2010 and he is right up there among the cutest babies ever born.  I immediately knew I was going to love this little guy when I heard the love in his daddy's voice when he called to tell me he was born.  But oh my goodness, words cannot describe it.  What an incredible feeling!

The picture was taken last night as Gabriel snoozed in his Grand Dad's arms.

Roger and I and the 9 kids still living at home left early Friday morning.  It's a 12 hour drive so we got up at 4am and were out the door by 5.  We made good time and had a time change in our favor so we arrived at about 4:30pm. 

A family our size can't just get a single hotel room.  And since the max for most hotel rooms is 4 people, we can't even get 2 hotel rooms.  I scouted out the area and found that there are some hotel suites.  One allows up to 8 people which is great, BUT we still would need 2 suites.  That's not very convenient.  The suite that sleeps 8 costs over $200 per night and we'd have to double that!  Another hotel suite sleeps 6 for $100 per night.  So with 2 of those we'd have spent $200 per night with a free breakfast and 2 kitchens.  But we still wouldn't all be together.  So I searched and found not much available for under $500 per night.  Yikes.  But then we found and stayed here.  It cost a bit more than the smaller suite because of the cleaning fee and we didn't get a free breakfast, but we were all together in one house.  There were a couple of problems when we first got there, but they were minor and taken care of quickly.  I think we'd be willing to do that again. 

We didn't have to eat fast food at all! We evaluated what our cooking options were based on pots, pans, etc, then made a menu and went shopping.  Our hope was to cook and freeze some extra food for the new family.  We forgot to ask ahead of time if they had room in their freezer though.  Oops.

I really, really enjoyed seeing Gabriel, but it was also great to see Stephen and Chonie.  She's an excellent mother.  I used to worry about how I'd be as a mother-in-law.  Would I think they are doing everything wrong as parents?  Well, okay, they've only been parents for less than 2 weeks, but so far so good.  I think they are doing a great job.  Stephen seems to really enjoy being a daddy.  It's funny how you think you love a person as much as you possibly could, then you see a new side to them and that love grows. 

We even snuck in some time to go explore the area.  This was our 3rd trip to Colorado Springs, but the first time we did any sight seeing.  We spent some time at Garden of the Gods which is beautiful, but cold.  You could tell we were Texans by looking at us.  The locals were wearing jackets at best, but here we were all bundled up in our coats and still chilly.

The plan was to leave this morning to come home, but when the weather forecast changed our plans changed.  We left at dinnertime and just ate snacks in the van as we drove.  Around 9:30 we talked about our day and prayed and then I told everyone to go to sleep--except Roger who did most of the driving.  (I drove less than an hour and a half on the whole trip, but Faith got in a couple hours--after we passed the snow.)

So we got home about an hour and 15 minutes earlier than we were even going to leave.  Today is a nap day.  And after all those snacks, I think I'm ready to just eat fruit all day today!