Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Happy Home

I think it's normal to compare yourself to other people- just to get an idea how you are doing in general. We compare ourselves to others' homes, appearance, money, jobs, children, cars, "toys," clothes, jewelry, music, who we know, what we know, friends, clubs, extra curricular activities, spouses, religions, politics, etc. So I don't feel too out of line by saying that I have compared my marraige to that of friends, relatives and aquaintances.

By most comparisons, I would say my marraige is strong and healthy. I feel confident that I can say that the biggest reason for this is that my husband and I are best friends, and we treat each other as such.

You don't expect your best friend to read your mind- you tell them what you want/need. You don't punish your friend for what they should have done or didn't do- you forgive them and move on. You respect your best friend, and treat them accordingly.

We were required to go through pre-marital counseling for our minister to perform the ceremony. One of the most valuable tools given to us during these sessions were the statements "I feel.." and "What I hear you say is..."

When you say "I feel..." it is not a blame, like when you say "You did this or that." It is the ability to accept responsibility in a situation and the willingness to try to resolve the issue. For example, I might say, "When you don't get home when you say you are going to be home, I FEEL like you don't value our family time together."

When you say, "What I hear you say is..." it is showing the other person you are listening and you "get" what they are saying. For example, he might say, "WHAT I HEAR YOU SAY is that you feel my being late is a reflection on how I regard our family time."

When we have discussions, past discussions are off limits, because they should have already been resolved. Also, we don't name call (would you do that to your best friend?). ABSOLUTELY NO physical arguments (should go without saying). And, very importantly, we both go into it with the desire to come to an agreement- instead of just being "right".

That's not to say we haven't had some very heated discussions. It's not to say we haven't had rough spots in our marraige. But like any strong friendship, we value each other and choose to continue to be together. And we put aside our pride and our selfishness in order to do that.

Women are always complaining that their husbands don't talk to them. And men are always saying their wives talk too much. But the problem is, they aren't talking to each other, they are talking at each other. And not listening near enough!

There has to be a desire to be together and to continue to find things in common- just like there is with a best friend. To me and my family, that is what helps make a happy home.

You may not be able to get facials with your husband, or get your nails done. He may not want to suffer through a shopping trip. And you may not want to talk for hours on end with him about the playoffs. But there were things that attracted you in the beginning. There was a reason you wanted to be together. Look for those things again.

And remember, if you wouldn't say it to your best friend, you shouldn't say it to your spouse. If you would give your best friend the benefit of the doubt, you should do the same for your husband.

Fairytales are the opposite of real life. In the fairytale, the prince and princess have to work & fight to be together. Then they live happily ever after. In real life, we usually have no problem "falling in love". But we have to really work to live "ever after." And you really have to plan on "fighting" for happiness!

May your homes be happy & your lives be full of joy.

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