05 February 2014

A Mini A-Ha Moment

Yesterday at MOPS, we were discussing how our attitudes can affect our marriage. How you can have a great marriage, simply by thinking positive, or looking at things from a different perspective. And all the same, how you can have a bad marriage and think things are falling apart at the seam due to a poor, negative attitude. We all sat around laughing at the woman on the video, talking about how she hated the way her husband chewed his food -- and that after only 2 months of their marriage, she was wondering if she had made a wrong decision in marrying him. We were laughing because we all could relate, and at one point or another in our marriage, we had each been there.

After the video, we all broke down, discussing different ways we bring a less-than-stellar attitude to our marriage, at times, and what we do, or could do, to help work on things. Clear communication. Prayer. Working as a team when times get tough, and not turning to outside sources.

And then our group mentor spoke. She touched on the benefits of a marriage retreat. She talked about her marriage in it's early days, and what it was like when her children were young. How she would look at the clock, and know her husband would be home from work soon, and all of a sudden, turned into a monster. She wanted to give him the perfect house, the meal on the table, and the happy kids when he walked through the door. So in order to do that, she snapped at the kids to "CLEAN UP NOW!" and busted her butt to get things done. And then resented that feeling afterward, once the kids were in bed. When he would try to touch her, she was angry -- angry that he didn't seem to mention it, or appreciate her in a way that she thought she should be. And at the same time, she was making her kids fear when Daddy would come home from work. "I'm going to tell your Daddy what you did today," became almost a sort of threat.

And it was in that instant that tears sprang from my eyes. I couldn't keep it under wraps anymore. I didn't raise my hand to share what was going on. Or really talk about it with anyone. But it was nice to know -- I'm not alone. I wasn't the only one who has ever felt that sort of raw emotion ...

You see -- M and I? We did things fast. Met, got married, got pregnant -- all within a year. Here we are, almost six years later, and we're still learning things about each other every day. We've learned what makes each other tick, what one likes to eat or drink better than other things, what things not to say or do. But we still butt heads -- and a lot of times, its all about parenting. One issue we didn't take the time to talk about before we said "I Do!" We were raised different, and have different views on how to parent our little ones. It doesn't make one way anymore right than the other. Our kids are loved by both of their parents ... regardless of how we convey that message.

But her one statement - "I was making my kids dread Dad coming home, just in my attitude" struck a chord with me. My kids love when Dad comes home ... but they treat him like a friend most of the time. They hang out, they play ... but they don't really act like what he says carries a lot of weight {until he gets to the point where he is having to raise his voice to get their attention} -- and its all because of my attitude. I've been walking around this house lately, doing everything myself. Not feeling appreciated. And therefore, not allowing any help when it is offered.

And in the same effect, I haven't been allowing him to discipline, or reprimand the kids. To teach the kids right from wrong. Sure, I've let him get involved in the fun stuff ... but because I don't always see eye to eye with his way of parenting, when the going gets tough, I interject. Voice my opinion, in front of the kids. Stripping him of his responsibility as their father. Stripping him of his rights as their Dad. And in their eyes, taking away his control.

It isn't him, or his parenting technique that I don't like. Its my attitude. The way I'm feeling. The lack of appreciation I've received lately. The lack of communication between M and I. And instead of telling him "Hey, I'd really appreciate it if you did _________ ", I just keep it all bottled up. I expect him to be a mind reader. To know what I'm thinking and how I am affected by what is, or isn't, going on around us. Which isn't fair to him, either.

Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow -- I give back that right. I give back the power and responsibility of teaching and loving and raising his kids his own way. His own loving, always-learning way. Yeah. Tomorrow, I let him be more than just a friend. I let him be Dad, again.


Post a Comment