If you expect that when you get married and have a baby, that baby will be first in both your lives…. get over it now. Babies and kids take up alot of time because they can’t feed themselves and they need to be changed and then they have to be dressed and even when they are partially self sufficient, we can’t boot them out the door at 6 and expect them to be successful. They have to be supported and taught.
However, this should not take priority over your husband/wife. This has been discussed over and over at length, even by me. I’m not divorced and I don’t have other children that are not Andy’s and he has no other’s that are not mine. It’s hard for me to comment on a situation with which I have no experience but I would venture to say that even when you’re children are not mutual, they should not take priority over your marriage.
One way you can show this to your spouse is by getting some childcare every now and then (weekly is ideal but not always practical), so you can both do something together without the kids. Another way is to not allow the kids to interrupt a conversation between mommy and daddy. Another good way to to set a very strict bedtime (in your room) time for the kids allowing mommy and daddy to have a few minutes alone at the end of everyday to communicate without being asked for snacks, water, help with this project, a story, and/or any other plethora of things they want from you.
What are your ideas? How do you make time for your spouse in a parenting world that makes the kids kings?
When I was in high school I had friends of all genders. However, when I got married, this had to change. I had some guy friends who were really good friends but when Andy and I got together, not for lack of trust, I intentionally was more careful with those friendships. Whether it’s my fascination with When Harry Met Sally or whatever, I understand that guys and girls can’t be “best friends” and nothing else. Andy had to be my best friend and all others had to be after that. He had to be my priority. I intentionally had to become friends with my guy friends girlfriends. I couldn’t invite just him out for coffee. The wife needed that invitation. The girlfriend had to feel like I was trying to be their friend or her friend but if I focused on him, I was a threat. I made a special effort to include Andy’s girl friends in activities that we did together so he wouldn’t lose the friendship. If I wanted to do an activity with a guy friend, I always made sure Andy could come.
Any time I felt like I wanted special attention from a male, I was even more careful.
It’s easy to say, “We’re just friends,” and use some sitcom as a model for how we have friends. But Chandler and Monica got married, and even though Ross and Rachel took a break, they ended up together. Phoebe and Joey always felt a little on the outside.
So let’s be honest, it’s not ok. It’s not ok for our spouse to be anything other than first priority. We can’t be sitting around in some other persons house, shooting the breeze when it could easily become a compromising situation. We can’t be making life plans over coffee with someone other than our spouse… alone. We have to want him first. We have to look at him first and all this has to be intentional. It’s not natural. It’s got to be a choice and soon it will be second nature but it’s not what comes easy.
What do you think? Am I to rigid about this idea? Does your spouse have friends of the opposite gender that you don’t mind? Do they spend alot of time together?
So, we are all grown ups, presumably, when we get married and yet there are many times when I see a relationship circling the toilet bowl because one or the other or both are being treated like children.
Ladies – Men are grown ups. How many times have I heard, “He couldn’t survive if I was gone for a few days.” I beg to differ. He might be eating out of a can for a while but he will survive. He might not put the kid in anything but jammies for 3 days but they will both survive. Men can handle life and parenting and all of that without us. It doesn’t mean they want to. I just means they can. They can learn to cook. They are capable of cleaning the house. They can get a job on their own and they will figure out how to schedule their own dental appointments. They can handle it. And sometimes we REALLY need to let them… WITHOUT CRITICIZING! It’s important for us to let them do the dishes and then not fix it if it wasn’t done our way. It’s important for us to let them make a meal and then eat it and not say anything about how it could have been better.
Men – Women are grown ups. They can put together a dresser, change a tire and drive just as good if not better than you. Women are completely capable of holding down a job, mowing the lawn and taking out the trash. Ladies can do anything you can do… and it’s important for you to let us sometimes. This isn’t the death of chivalry. But just as you don’t like being criticized, neither do we. It’s not fun being a superwoman. It’s not fun doing it all. But it’s possible.
Once you realize that you are not needed like a parent is needed by a baby but wanted, your relationship will change for the better. I promise.
It’s important to communicate with your partner. Not only is it nice to speak kindly but it’s important to let them in on your life. You cannot be secretive or keep things to yourself or even just forget to check in. You MUST communicate smoothly with your partner. They need to know.
Andy and I text throughout the day. I tell him where I’m going and he tells me the same. I let him know if I’m leaving the house, where I’m headed and if I have an ETA. He lets me know if he’s going to get something to eat or if I need to leave the meal out that I made for the kids so he can have some later. He texts me if he finds that he is not needing to work on a night when I expect him to be working and he lets me know when he’s on his way home just in case I need him to stop at the store for something.
Little things need to be communicated, regardless of whether you think that’s important or not. It is courtesy. It is communication. REMEMBER! Speak. Tell. Don’t make your partner pull things out of you. Offer the information. Be aware of them and their needs.
There are a few things that one should expect in a relationship – mutual respect for one. A person should be able to be in a relationship and expect not to be cheated on. They should also feel free from abuse – verbal, mental, and physical.
One thing that puts relationships on the rocks from the get go is when one person is “saving” the other. There is no thought for compatibility. You must realize from the beginning that if you are either being saved or saving, this relationship is doomed. You cannot save someone (with a romantic relationship OR a friendship or any type of relationship) from poverty, depression, mental illness, or addiction. A person who is saved by another is automatically obligated to that person, no matter how much that savior insists they are not. A person who saves someone automatically has the expectation that the saved person will not fall back into the pit they were pulled out of and there is to much hurt when they do to not create relationship killing tension.
Real compatibility must be free of expectation. This means that there are common interests but no expectation for someone who is not a camper to become one once the relationship has been going for a while. There may be inside jokes between a couple but there can be no expectation for a partner to make your day better by being funny.
Do not expect someone to convert to your religion or keep your customs. Do not expect a partner to want to honor every family tradition you are used to. Do not expect an understanding of a culture someone did not grow up in.
I’m not saying that people who do not share a common religion, race and/or culture should not be together but if you find a special someone and expect them to move to another country, join a new church or learn to cook a new cuisine just to satisfy you, you are kidding yourself.
What do you think? Am I totally off base? Should we expect someone to change themselves for us? Are my rules unreasonable?
This series of articles are about relationship advice. I don’t want to get to preachy but I feel like I have something to say about relationships. I’ve been married for 10 years now and we still like each other. That’s saying something. I know many people have been married longer than I and what works for one couple might not work for another but there are a few universal truths that I think apply to all relationships, no matter the dynamic.
The whole premise of this series is expectation. My thesis is simply status thus: Unrealistic and therefore unrealized expectations will kill relationships.
Let’s be honest, there are alot of things that we expect out of a partner. We may not even realize that we expect things until we don’t get them.
Who puts these expectations in our heads? Could be parents who insist on telling us what we deserve or what they deserved and didn’t get. Often it is the media with love stories containing grand romantic gestures. It could be observation of other relationships from the outside. Whatever the reason, most people go into a relationship with expectation and often months or even years into it, they are still expecting.
So many are doomed to experience the letdown. Either there are feelings that the relationship has lost the “fire” or someone isn’t getting what they “deserve.” Regardless, many relationships are abandoned due to unrealized, unrealistic expectations.
Can this be avoided? You may agree with me or you may not. I can’t wait what you have to input!
Recently I was reading Kylie’s blog and she wrote asking whether love at first sight existed.
The answer is no.
Like at first sight exists. Sex appeal at first sight exists. Attraction at first sight exists.
I remember reading a romance novel (Don’t do it. They are full of lies!). It proclaimed that the lovers had been together for years and heatwaves still engulfed the heroine every time she touched her hairy chested man.
When I first met Andy, I wanted to kiss him. When his hand first touched mine, there was a shock that went through my body. But none of that was stuff that hadn’t happened before with other boyfriends.
Attraction is not a choice. Attraction is an instinct and those shock waves will subside like they do with every other relationship.
What makes my relationship with Andy unique from all the others is the CHOICE to love him. I choose everyday that I’m living with someone other than me in a manner that is not my instinct to LOVE him. To cherish him. Our LOVE is not shocking. It’s comfortable.
It’s him getting up in the morning and making coffee for me because he knows I can barely function without it. It’s me taking time out of my day to look at his photos every time he posts them. It’s him setting up the tent, doing all the camp work, and then taking down the tent all while I sit in the car with the kids because he knows I hate camping. It’s me tolerating camping. It’s him cleaning up the house when it’s not what he wants to do. It’s me not getting mad that our work and leisure hours rarely line up. It’s us snuggling in bed with three wiggly children together. It’s me ignoring hair in the sink, socks on the floor and food left out on the counter.
It is him sacrificing himself for me and me sacrificing myself for him. If I’m giving 100% and he’s giving 100%, we are both getting 100%. Love is not 50/50.
Love is a conscious choice. It’s not hard… at least it isn’t for me. But it is a choice every day because infatuation wears off and what is left can be tossed aside as you search for those fireworks again in a different relationship or you can stoke the embers of love (there is still hot and heavy every now and then, it’s just not the same) with choices to sacrifice yourself everyday.
Yesterday was a new experience for me in the world of fatherhood. I picked up our 6 yo for school, and she asked if one of her school buddies (a boy) could come over to our house. So we get home and all 3 kids are playing nicely together. We decided to head to a park to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air. The boy really likes to play on the skate park, and naturally our 6 yo follows suit. Everything is going smoothly. I had to deal with a sharing issue with our 4 yo. Once that was resolved, all hell breaks loose. The boy wanted to play with a golf ball, which our 4 yo had and they played together. This action of changing playmates, caused the 6 yo to become quite JEALOUS. I look up and she was gone, she was hiding from all of us. I found her and I could see she was upset. The boy kept trying to talk to her, but she was having nothing to do with him. She kept running away from him, and giving him the cold shoulder. If this is any insight into her dating life, i feel sorry for the boys who piss her off. I hope she always knows that daddy will be here to guide her, listen to her, and protect her. Anyway, we get home and watched a movie, by the end of the movie the friendship was restored and all was well.
The thing about growing up in a small town is – it’s alot like a soap opera. Everyone knows everyone from birth or not much later and when it comes to dating and love, people are passed from relationship to relationship like the cup game. So the reality is, many young people from this small town want to leave in their adulthood simply to find love outside of all the people they know. They want to escape the soap opera of the town to find love in the big big world out there.
It can really go either way. Either you marry that one that you loved since you were 6 or you go out and find that soul mate who didn’t grow up in the same town you did.
I left. I needed to leave my small town. I had already stopped dating for a while in college. But it was still a place where we all knew each other and the soap opera was prevalent. I went out into the world thinking I would actually take a break from all the crazy dating game I had been seeing and “take a year off.” I moved to Pennsylvania to work at a school that presumably was staffed by married people and where there would be very little chance of me meeting anyone. I was wrong.
First day and Andy sat down my me. He asked me to dinner. We were never friends. We ARE best friends but maybe it was better that we never knew each other in childhood. Maybe the fact that we had both graduated from college before we even met is the reason we are able to have such a great marriage. There is no history or craziness to cloud our relationship.
The thing is, I met the love of my life and it was IT! I knew I was ready for a real relationship because I had finally stopped looking for a relationship. I wasn’t needy, he wasn’t lonely. We were happy with ourselves and it made it easier to be happy together.
Now we are back in my small town and I’m teaching him about all the people I know and the past and everything but it’s just a story to him. It’s not his life. Our life now is his new small town living.
Ever since Andy and I started dating, I have been wearing his clothes to bed. Let’s talk about nightwear for a moment.
You have the old fashioned nightgown. Not totally uncomfortable. It’s a little less than appealing for a man to see. I mean, it’s one thing to be comfortable and another to remind a man of his mother every time he flips open the sheets.
There is the good old jammie set. These are way to much for me to handle. I love them but to buy MYSELF a jammie set is something I can’t bring myself to spend money on. Come on! You can ONLY wear them to bed.
Teddies are what I think every man wants his wife to wear to bed all the time. However, when was the last time you girls found a teddy you REALLY want to sleep in all night?
A few personal preferences have dictated my sleepwear choices. My legs cannot touch. This is why I don’t wear skirts or dresses. I HAVE TO WEAR PANTS. So I buy yoga pants to sleep in and exercise in – because I can’t bring myself to purchase something that is ONLY going to be slept in. I always sleep in old T-shirts because they are a hand me down from myself from a free t-shirt or an event to a sleep-in, comfy… thing. Everything has to be a bit loose but not so loose that I tangle when I thrash… which I do all night.
SO! When I started dating my husband, he had MILLIONS of these hand-me-down-to-me t-shirts and I started commandeering one every now and then for the odd night I hadn’t washed my allotment of sleeping shirts. He also purchases flannel pants to sleep in and then… doesn’t use them because they shrink up to being to short after the first washing. Therefore, I have taken over my husbands clothing as my personal sleepwear.
It seems only natural and it saves us money!
What have you girls taken over from your husband? Men, what have your girls claimed as their own?