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. :)