November 17, 2011

Don't Blame Marriage

The tragedy is not the breakdown of your marriage.  It is the lack of faith in yourself to be strong enough to try your damnedest to keep the promise, or to decide not to make it in the first place, and then blame it on the institution.

November 4, 2011


On Tuesday we closed the books on Year 14 of our marriage and did so on the quiet side.  Hubby and I both worked, the kids went to school, as per usual.  We dropped the kids of at their grandmother's house and enjoyed a dinner for two, complete with stimulating conversation (something that doesn't always fill every day in a household with three school-aged children) and discussion about The Big Picture.  The evening was capped off with an ice cream cake, a very necessary mode of celebration in our family.

And so begins Year 15.

Two thoughts top the many that came to mind this week.

1.  Date nights are imperative.  Parental love of a child is, by nature, more unconditional.  Your relationship with your partner was voluntary and requires constant work, patience, compromise, and all that good stuff.  Just like everyone needs their Me-time, part of being good parents once you have kids is consistently fostering the growth and health of your marriage.  It's like the oxygen mask on an airplane.  Don't allow yourself to sacrifice the opportunity to build your relationship because the schedule is too full of the kids' activities, or because there just isn't a babysitter available.  Make it a priority.  Don't go nuts, but write it in the calendar with pen, not pencil, and find a way.

2.  I say it to make people laugh, but I really do believe that getting married was the best thing I was ever forced to do.  Hubby and I were 20 when we found out we were expecting and our initial plan was to move in together, raise our child together and live happily ever until whenever.  But when we told my dad, he said if we were living together, we were going to do so married.  We loved each other and knew marriage was in our future.  So in a way we were just bumping things (way) up in the schedule.  But let this be a preventative lesson in consequence: if you're going to engage in grown-up things with someone, be prepared for grown-up follow-up with that same person.  In our case, we did exactly that.  We affirmed our commitment to our newly-created family and 14 years and three children later, we continue to keep our promise and work towards that "old-fashioned" notion that marriage is for life.

August 21, 2011

Loaded Statement

A co-worker gave me an interesting piece of advice the other day:

"Don't get divorced.  Getting divorced costs more than getting married."

March 17, 2011

5 Steps to a Healthy, Lasting Marriage

Wisdom from Whole Living magazine's March 2011 issue:

5 Steps to a Healthy, Lasting Marriage

Can you build a happy, lasting marriage by the numbers? Research suggests these five strategies will boost your chances.

1. Create Rituals

Married couples who celebrated religious holiday traditions together were happier in their unions, a 2001 study reported. Researchers found that the shared emotional investment in the ritual made the couples feel a closer bond.

2. Be a Daredevil

In a study of more than 100 American couples, those who reported "being in a rut" during their seventh year of marriage also showed low satisfaction in year 16. Those who were not bored in year seven were still going strong nine years later. Researchers said the couples who pursued exciting activities together (safari? skiing?) were more satisfied overall.

3. Sleep (Well) Together

Men who slept better at night were more likely to feel positive about their relationship the following day, according to a University of Arizona study. And couples who reported the highest quality and hours of sleep per night also had the happiest unions.

4. Support Each Other

In a Northwestern University study, those who believed that their partners encouraged their "ideal achievements" reported higher marital satisfaction -- and it wasn't just about helping him become a rock star or her become a top doctor. When a spouse felt supported even in daily obligations, he or she was significantly happier in marriage.

5. Build Your Career

Couples in dual-career marriages who enjoyed their working lifestyles were happier in their marriages, even if they had to work long hours, according to Ball State University data.

February 27, 2011

Keep up the good work

My new neighbour at work and I are the same age and grew up within the same 5km radius, coincidentally.  We've peeked out of our cubicles to chat enough that I know that he and his wife are smack dab in the middle of the same thick as we are - raising young school-aged children.  My post-dismissal phone conversations (or rants, rather) with my kids are eerily familiar to him, I'm told.

During the usual "What are you doing this weekend?" Friday exchange, he shared that he was taking his wife out to dinner after work and needed to find a good florist near the office.  He doesn't know how she does "it", but she deserves the evening out for everything she does to keep the family machine running.  This led to a great convo about marriage, books we've read about it, and how to be a good partner.  He is aware that their individual emotional needs differ from each other, made the effort to learn what hers were, and works to meet them.  It creates a healthy balance where she is satisfied and happy to reciprocate.

Gold star to you, neighbour, for still striving to be a good husband in your seventh year of marriage.  Keep up the good work.

January 30, 2011

I Wish I'd Known...

I discovered Focus On The Family on our local Christian radio station on the way to work last year and have made a habit of listening to some of the broadcasts online.  Very digest-able 25-minute segments, offering advice and testimony about a variety of family-related issues.  It was through this resource that I discovered Gary Chapman's latest book, Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married.  He appeared on the show to talk about the book, and while I haven't read it yet, I already know that this is right up my alley.

If you're getting married, establish who's going to clean the toilets, because if your dad did it when you were a kid and his mom did it when he was growing up, that toilet may never get cleaned.
In my own experience, even little things like the expectations at the dinner table and bathroom sink etiquette were something we stumbled through in the beginning.  But for many couples, I would imagine the build up of all these little clashes eventually creates a toxic and resentful home.

When you have a moment (I often just plug my earphones into my PC at the office and listen while I work), take a listen:

Building A Strong Foundation For Your Marriage - Part 1 of 2

Building A Strong Foundation For Your Marriage - Part 2 of 2