What My Parent’s Marriage Taught Me

The family you’re raised in is your university of life.

You ever said something like, “I never want to be like mom or dad” and you end up just like mom or dad?

That’s because seeds are planted and sometimes, they take a while to sprout.

Whatever your relationship with your parents, it set the stage for your life.

Like it did me. I didn’t know how much I picked up from both of them until I became a wife and mother.

Take inventory of any parental dispositions and own them.

We fit together like puzzle pieces.

Think back to the orignial Rocky film, before all the sequels. Adrian was quiet and worked in a pet shop. Rocky was a goon who slaughtered meat for a living and had aspirations to become a debt collector and loan shark. Paulie, suspiscious of Rocky’s intentions towards Adrian, tells him that he just doesn’t see it.

I would’ve just said, “Who asked you?” But apparently, Rocky is a better person than me because he says:

“I dunno – she fills my gaps. She got gaps; I got gaps. Together, we fill gaps.”

PREACH.

Pops is hot-tempered, ma calms him down..

Pops likes to be home (you’d think he and I were agoraphobics), ma prefers to hop from store to store. He teaches her to rest, she shows him how to have fun.

Ma is a quiet communicator – a bit of an oxymoron – and pops pushes her to talk.

I’m saying that where one is weak the other is strong. Sound familiar (2 Cor. 12:9-11)?

This was the idea when God told Adam that he needed the other piece to the puzzle.

Even Paul said that men and women aren’t independent of each other.

Simply, we need each other.

It is what it is.

“Many successfully develop their characters and improve their personalities, but it is doubtful that any are able to change their basic temperament.”

Tim LaHaye

Married or not, we’ve all been witgh someone who’s got ants in their pants for a good time and no matter how hard you try to get them to stay home, they’re always footloose. Or someone you can’t pry the book from long enough to leave the house.

Extrovert. Introvert.

Examplesof outwards expressions that result from our natural temperaments. While they may enjoy the opposite once in a while, they’ll always result going back to what they really enjoy. They’re unlikely to change.

Sometimes, pops doesn’t know how to say things. He says something and I look up as abruptly as I’m awakened when I’m about to hit the concrete in a dream.

But ma gets him. She doesn’t take things personally or let herself get caught up in the heat of the moment because she knows him (shoot, she’s had almost forty years of practice!).

“You know how your dad is but _________ is what he’s saying.”

Point is, she doesn’t shame him for it. She knows exactly what to do.

Because she knows his nature. She knows his temperament and she manages it.

Handle it, boo.

I’m talking about handling money.

Pops was always better at finances than ma. Something they had to find out the hard way. Isn’t this always the case?

My parents have always been bookworms and never shied away from talking to us about the books they were reading.

Naturally, I started picking up some of those books – some were about money.

As I got older, my dad began to share with me some of the financial hurdles they had to jump over and how they did it.

When they found out who wore the financial strong suit, there was no shame invovled. My dad didn’t shut my mom out of the finances altogether. They still sit down every month and budget together. He asks her opinion on investments and expenses and future goals.

They’re a team.

Now, Ray and I are on our way to becoming debt free.

*Praise break*

How to “Win” at Marriage

“Any fool can criticize, complain and condemn – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Dale Carnagie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

I never heard my parents do either of these things: complain, criticize, and condemn. Not about each other.

Not even once. Not in twenty-seven years.

My parents are huge bookies (don’t ask if that’s a word.. No clue!) and they introduced me to this book: Dale Carnagie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People – a book that has tons of chapter about communication.

Tired of reading so many blogs from so many people about communication yet? GOOD. Because the moment you decide to work at this one thing, you’ll have improved your marriage.

100 fold.

Ray and I are still working on this. It’s been one of the hardest things for us to master.

Why?

I stay quiet because I’d rather keep the peace but let’s be real – an issue that’s never discussed takes another second off the impending bomb.

He likes to talk in the heat of the moment and we all know that never bodes well.

We’re still learning but we’ll take all the prayers and support we can get (let me be real again).

Don’t Feed Each Other’s Weaknesses

“A person can only perform from strength.”

Peter Drucker, “Managing Oneself”

Pops mentioned this a few days ago and it wasn’t the first time he used this example to drive it home:

“If I know that her weakness is candy, I’m not going to bring her a chocolate bar every time I come home to make her happy. I’m making her fat, lowering her self-esteem, and possible her social life.”

It might sound rough but it’s true (in his example, he’d literally be feeding her weakness).

the Bible says you reap what you sow. So don’t sow into weakness.

Just like we need to know each other’s weaknesses in order to not feed it, we need to know their strengths and feed them in order to work together effectively.

If you aren’t sure you know your partner’s strengths, ask them. And communicate yours. Not asking is simply stupid.

Don’t Let Him See You With Your Hair Undone

Ma always does this before she wakes up. And they’ve been married for 31 years (phew)!

But it’s a fact: men are more visual than women.

I admit, this hasn’t been easy for me. And I have all the “perfect” excuses.

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m home all day”

“These kids wear me out. I have no energy.”

“I’m comfortable.”

Sounds justified to me. But it ain’t.

Regardless of life, when you don’t make an effort to look your best, you’re telling your husband that everything else is more important than looking your best for him.

Listen, I’ve been pregnant for the last to years and now have two boys – one is one and one almost two months. I’ve racked up on my share of comfy clothes to include gym shoes and baggy shirts and sweaters. After all, I had to and deserved to be comfortable, right (refer back to excuse numero tres)?

Almost every time Ray saw a pair of heels he liked, he’d casually tell me how sexy I would look in a pair of jeans with heels. Guess what I’m going to do now that I’m finally no longer pregnant? Rack up on heels.

Listen to know what you can do to stay sexy for your husband. I know beauty is fleeting and that he says that he’ll love you when you’re old and wrinkly and fat but I’ll bet he’ll notice any subtle changes in your appearance.

You don’t need to spend hour or tons of money – just make an effort.

You Can Argue Without Yelling

Need I say more?

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