Fun talk yesterday morning
with the Bridge Street United Church moms! It was informal, and it wasn't a large crowd, which actually is a nice break from some of the stuff I've been doing lately. So we had a chance to chat during my talk, and I threw questions out at them, too.
I was talking about taking the long-term view when you are raising kids. Don't focus on getting through today; figure out what you are building towards. How do you want your kids to turn out? What values do you want them to have? Now what are you doing today to inculcate those values?
But what kept coming up, over and over, is what to do when your husband isn't on the same page. He may not even be reading the same book! He just doesn't look at parenting the way you do. If you ask him where he wants the family to be in ten years, chances are he'll say, "Well, I'd like the house to be paid off," and start talking about financial goals rather than relationship or character goals.
And our reaction is often quite negative. We cling to the kids more, because we're afraid it's all up to them. But I don't think this is the best strategy, even if it's our most natural one.
Let me put it this way: how many of you would die for your kids? In a heartbeat, right? But now, how many of you would die for your husbands? That one takes a lot more thinking, doesn't it? It depends on the circumstances.
That protectionist instinct that we have for our kids is great, but if we're not careful it can cause us moms to start making our primary relationship with the children, rather than with our husbands. That's where we get our love, and affection, and affirmation. And that's not right.
If you and your husband don't agree about parenting priorities, you need to talk about it. But even more important, don't squeeze him out! Keep him as your #1 priority (or really #2, behind God), because that's what kids need. They long to feel that their family is secure, because it is their bedrock.
Now to get back to talking about it. I think all couples need to plan dates, when you just get together and talk about how work is going, how the kids are doing, what things we need to do financially to meet our goals, or just discuss the things of life that come up. Take 15 minutes every night before dinner to connect, or plan for one night a week that you just talk.
I know some men don't want to do this, but get creative, ladies! Plan it so it's fun for him.
This weekend my husband and I are speaking at a marriage conference, and if you have a chance, go to one near you. They really are an awesome time to start talking through some of these things. I know many women are frustrated with their husbands, but don't know what to do about it. You can't keep living like that forever!
I outline a lot of tips in To Love, Honor and Vacuum
about how to engage a husband who doesn't seem concerned about the things that really bother you, but let me just go over a couple of points about how to talk to your husband.
First, don't go in attacking him. You want to have those conversation times, but if you open up with both barrels he'll get defensive. And it's not right. Instead, ask him what is bothering him. Chances are he may be concerned that the house isn't that neat, or that the car hasn't had an oil change in a while. Listen to him, don't get defensive yourself, and pledge that you will try to adjust to the things that he really cares about.
Then talk about one issue (that's right, only one) that is bothering you. Don't make it about him, either! It's not, "I think you don't care about the kids enough." It's better to say, "I'm concerned that Johnny is starting to talk back a lot and I don't know what to do about it." Make it your problem, rather than his, and he's more inclined to help you reach a solution together.
In order for this to work, though, you have to have regular "meetings" with your husband--those fun times that you set aside to connect. Go for walks. Talk before dinner. Talk right after the kids go to bed. Take a bath together. Anything! But make it regular, and make it fun for him.
Will you share your tips, or your problems, about marriage? Simply go and write your own post on your blog, and then come back here and fill in the Mr. Linky with the link that goes directly to your post. Copy the picture at the top of this post onto your hard drive (just right click it and "save picture as.."), and then post it on your post, too, to spread the word. Thanks so much!
Labels: loving, wifey wednesdays