challenges of parenting, Divorce, Family, family roles, finding balance, John Gottman, making marriage work, marriage, Parent, reconnection, Relationships, self help, seven-year itch, spouse, thirties marriage, why do marriages fail?
Is there something about being in our mid-thirties that means our marriages are bound and determined to challenge us? It must be the “seven-year itch” because I just got word that yet another one of my dear friends is heading for divorce.
My heart is heavy and it leaves me to question what is going on in our lives right now that so many of the marriages that I once thought to be so solid cannot survive these years.
Could it be that we are all in a state of questioning what it is that we are doing? Have we spent so much time doing things that do not fill our soul that we lose touch with who we are and in turn our spouses?
It scares me. When I think of Brent and our marriage, it fills me up. Although I realize that the early years of our parenting and the transition into a different lifestyle has been a challenge for us, I really feel like we are on solid ground.
When I get the phone call from a friend in marital crisis and it just floors me, it leaves me to wonder selfishly – Could it happen to us? It had never crossed my mind until about a month ago when it seemed apparent that I knew more marriages falling apart than staying together.
How do we stay connected when we are in the daily race to just keep the status quo, i.e. laundry, dishes, kids, jobs, groceries?
Here is my answer. I always make sure to really know what is going on with Brent. I don’t mean the interworkings of his complex emotions (do guys have complex emotions??), but rather what he is working on at the office. How his Monday morning meeting went this week. Does he feel prepared for his quarterly meeting and corporate visits? What he wants to fit in on the weekend and when his next plan to ride his motorcycle is (with my approval of course… I am, you remember, the keeper of the calendar) those types of things.
The clinical psychology masters degree in me always finds myself in the self-help section of the book store and my latest pick is “The Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman. So far a great read and Brent is such a great sport for going along with my madness! Just trying to make time to be together and make sure we still know one another despite how much we have grown over the years.
As I write this, I am thinking that you are probably assuming that I came from a home with two parents in a long-lasting marriage. Wrong. It was the exact opposite.
My parents, by getting divorced, did the best thing they could have possibly done for me. So as I write this, I contend without a shadow of a doubt that I do believe in many situations divorce is the best possible option.
Children can feel love, warmth and affection in many ways. I always knew I was loved by both of my parents even though they were not together.
As much as my children are a source of tremendous pride in my life, my successful marriage is what I would consider to be my greatest achievement. Every year when we celebrate our anniversary, I am beaming with pride that my children have seen their parents together in a loving marriage for their entire lives.
As Brayden hits age 6 this year, I will have officially given him what I didn’t have- a chance to remember his parents together for this time in his life.
One day at a time.
What is your greatest achievement?