Category Archives: relationships

Politics and Marriage: Expectations and Renegotiation

renegotiate

OK, I know you’re asking “Why in the world would he put those two subjects together – especially now when we are just post election? ” Well, to answer your question, we are also just post (another) premarrieds class and it got me thinking.

There is all this campaigning that goes on prior to “the big event”. A lot of promises get made that honest candidates hope they can fulfill. But the truth is that many of them really don’t know what is actually possible until they step into the job. I think that may also be true of couples that get married. They might believe they can deliver on their pre-marriage promises or agreements, but once they get into the pace of marriage, especially when kids are in the picture, it might be a real challenge.

Engaged she says: “I’ll probably want sex 4 or 5 times a week.”

Married with 2 kids she says: “Tonight? Are you kidding me?”

Engaged he says: “I intend to share the housework evenly.”

Married with a stressful job he says: “I need to relax. You don’t realize how hard I work all day.”

It’s at this point that a lot of spouses feel betrayed, or at least disappointed. I want to reassure you that this is normal. This is idealism giving way to reality. So what should a husband or wife do?

Renegotiate

If you have ever been through the process of buying a house or running a business you will understand the need to leave certain aspects open to renegotiation. There are circumstances that you cannot know until you experience or discover them. The parties involved must believe that they are getting a fair deal. Marriage is no different.

Some people have a really hard time with compromise, but along with forgiveness, it is the secret to a great marriage. I, of course, am not talking about moral compromise, but the day-to-day adjustments that have to be made in order to maintain a marriage’s equilibrium. As is often said, if you cannot bend, you will break.

The key to being able to compromise is developing empathy for the other person. Do you seek to understand, or only to be understood? Can you see a situation from their perspective as well as your own? I know it’s hard, sometimes really hard and “unfair”.

Your spouse never held the “office” of being married to you before saying “I do”. If you can remember that then maybe you can forgive some of those broken campaign promises.

Proverbs 3:13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.

Silly Boys, Dates are for Men!

silly boys

Guest post by Brooklyn Pugmire

With each generation, I have noticed a change in the way dating is approached. In my grandparents’ generation, it was “courting”. The fine gentleman would ask the lovely lady out to dinner or a movie and tell her exactly why. Example: “Why hello there, I find you to be beautiful and I am curious to know if your heart has all the same qualities. Can I take you out this Friday at 7 pm?” BAM. Mission is understood.

My parents’ generation was similar, just a bit less formal. Example: “Hey! You’re cute and fun and sweet, let me take you out!” Again, I understand what is being asked here.

Let’s fast forward to now. Example: “Hey, we should meet for coffee sometime and talk more.” Uh okay cool. I guess we are going to meet up and hang out then. So…is this a coffee date? I guess I’ll have to wait and see if he pays, but if he pays, is he just being a gentleman? If I invited him, would he expect me to pay? Why are we meeting? He can’t pick me up? Is it because he thinks I might be a psychopath? Is he actually interested in me? Is he attracted to me?  Ohhhhhh No. Wait. This is networking. I can’t believe it. He just networked me.

Personally, as a single girl in a world of single boys, I like the straightforward approach just like in my grandparents’ generation or even my parents’ generation. When did it become dangerous to compliment a lady and then continue with asking her out on a date?

I personally think a “networking” date is an easy way out of being rejected and is just plain confusing for both parties. If it was a normal date, it would only take one or two dates to realize if you want to continue. On a “networking” date, it will take two or three “outings” just to figure out if it’s a date or not.

I’m all for keeping it simple. Aren’t you?

brookofpug2

 

Brooklyn’s blog:     Simply Sincere

What Kind Of Dependent Are You?

dependent

In our premarrieds class we teach about the differences between dependent, independent and codependent relationships, with the goal of becoming interdependent. But I think this same teaching can apply to family relationships as well when it comes to adult children.

We define interdependence as the ability to operate independently in life circumstances, but choose to be connected to others. 

When we are not able to do that we are usually either dependent or co-dependent.

The two main types of dependency that I am concerned with are emotional and financial dependency. There is a third, physical dependency, that transcends normal relationships that comes from factors such as illnesses or disabilities, but I want to focus on the first two.

The goal of healthy parents is to effectively “launch” their children into adulthood, and for the children, to differentiate and detach from parents. This can be difficult for both the parents and the adult children and a lot has been written on this subject. So what input would I want to give? Perhaps nothing new, but maybe just offer my opinion on boundaries that I believe are healthy for both parents and children.

Adult children should learn to care for themselves prior to entering into a marriage. This means living separately from their parents, but not necessarily alone. Especially here in California life is expensive, so living with same sex roommates may be necessary. But it does mean earning and paying one’s own expenses and not depending on parents (or roommates) to provide for them financially. I acknowledge that there could be some cultural norms that will be challenged with this point of view.

Adult children should not live with their parents once they are married. That  kind of arrangement is overt dependency and is not biblical. We are to “leave and cleave” (Gen 2:24). Sometimes there are temporary setbacks for either the parents or children that must be accommodated, but if living with parents is necessary in order to get married, we are not ready. In essence the parents just gained an additional child to support.

Adult children should not need to make daily contact with their parents. This is another indication that they have not left home emotionally. Either that or the parent(s) have not let go sufficiently. We want the desire to connect to rule here, not guilt or neediness. Just because it is easy to connect through texting or other media does not mean it is healthy. Just ask any spouse of an overly connected adult child.

Coming from the opposite end of the spectrum, too much distance or emotionally cutting off a family member is not the goal either. This is usually a reactive response to unresolved hurt or grief. There may be times when this is an appropriate response to an unsafe family member, but we must be careful when we navigate this issue. Are they truly unsafe? Are we holding onto resentments that requires forgiveness? Have we been too dependent and are blaming them? Or are they too controlling and we must draw a hard line?

Sometimes when parents draw a financial boundary with adult children, the kids become angry and act like a victim. They may use emotional cutoff as a manipulation to try to restore the financial help. The parents are usually right when trying to help their adult child grow in this area towards independence.

Because dependence can come from either or both directions, it might be hard to find the right balance between closeness and separateness in parent-child relationships. The goal is to honor both parties even though it often involves some pain. When we hold unselfish love as our aim, it makes it a worthy pursuit.

1 Cor 16:14 “Let all that you do be done in love.”