Favorite Posts of The Week

I have rounded up some wonderful, wonderful posts for you to read today.

First of all, yay for Kara for being back at Rockin’ Granola.  This post is just wonderful and you must go read it right away.  I have been married almost twenty one years, and this one is so right on:  http://www.rockingranola.com/2012/12/baby-our-love-song-must-survive.html

Are you searching for lovely Santa Lucia stories to tuck away for next year?  There is one here on The Parenting Passageway, and here is another one over at Bending Birches:  http://bendingbirches2010.blogspot.com/2012/12/embracing-lightand-our-time.html Continue reading

“Coping With Typical Solvable Problems”–The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work

This chapter begins by citing the hot buttons of marital discord: “Work stress, in-laws, money, sex, housework, a new baby..Even in very happy and stable marriages, these issues are perennials…Although every relationship is different, there’s a reason why these particular conflicts are so common:  They touch upon some of the marriage’s most important work.

Wow.  Think about that for a moment.  These are issues that cover almost everything in life, and gives true credence to that idea that having a good marriage takes work.  However, what the author adds to this oft-repeated phrase and conversation about work in marriage is that it takes a “rich understanding” between the husband and the wife.  Both people need and should feel secure in the marriage.  Dr. Gottman cites that marriage should be a port in the storm , a place of peace.

I love this chapter because Dr. Gottman provides some real solutions to the six basic areas of stress. What I like about the sections devoted to each area is that he breaks it down to an essential task for the marriage to accomplish.  He starts with the stress of the work day, and then spends a particular amount of time on the stress that in-laws can provide to a marriage (including an exercise based around this for you to work on in your family).

He also provides a multi-step solution to  the dilemmas about money Continue reading

What’s On My Heart–Links to Read and Love

Planning is still on my mind.  I have enjoyed looking through these samples of main lesson book pages from every grade here:  http://www.waldorftoday.com/gallery/Main+Lesson+Book+Pages/

I have also enjoyed following along with how Sheila and Rachel are doing their planning here:  http://sureastheworld.com/2012/06/18/planning-611-617/  (this is one in a series) and Rachel’s here:  http://justtosay.typepad.com/just-to-say/2012/06/planning.html

I am using this link from The Department of Religious Education from The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to help plan our religious education for the year:  http://www.goarch.org/archdiocese/departments/religioused/resources/

More on planning to come!

I have also been thinking of my reader Jane, who has started a website to encourage single ladies to wait patiently for the right man;  a man who will love and respect them and help create a positive family culture as they marry and raise children.  She asked me if any of my readers who are happily married would be willing to share their inspiring story of finding each other or other encouragement for her single ladies.  Here is the link: http://www.gettingtotruelove.com/tell-your-inspirational-love-story/.  Thank you, Jane.

For my families who have children affected by sensory processing challenges:  http://www.sensorysmarts.com/july_tips.html provides some great tips specific to summer and sensory challenges.

As always, I continue to find so many of my readers’ blogs inspiring, like this post by Kara: http://www.rockingranola.com/2012/06/slow-learner_14.html and this post by Annette (so happy she is blogging again and taking readers on a journey through the day in a series of posts!  Do check it out!):  http://ourseasonsofjoy.com/rhythms-and-routines/good-morning-dear-earth/  If you are sharing something wonderful on your blog and you would like my readers to know about it, please do go ahead and link below.

Many blessings,

Carrie

The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work: Chapter Four

This chapter is entitled, “Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration”.  Dr. Gottman talks about how for many couples who are in trouble and on the brink of divorce, that their marriage may be able to be revitalized and saved if the couple has a “fondness and admiration system”.

“….the best test of whether a couple still has a functioning and admiration system is usually how they view their past. If your marriage is now in deep trouble, you’re not likely to elicit much praise on each other’s behalf by asking about the current state of affairs.  But by focusing on your past, you can often detect embers of positive feelings.”

Dr. Gottman also talks about how a fundamentally positive view of your spouse and your marriage is a big buffer when troubled times hit.  He brings up some other good points: Continue reading

“The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work”–Chapter Three

This chapter begins with the premise that healthy marriages have two people who are emotionally intelligent.  By this, the authors mean that each person in the marriage stores important information about their spouse:  they remember important history, know who their spouse’s friends are, their spouse’s fears, likes, dislikes, anxieties, quirks, joys, passions.  The authors call this having a detailed “love map”.

The authors cite one of the major causes of marital divorce is actually the birth of the first child.  “Sixty-seven percent of couples in our newlywed study underwent a precipitous drop in marital satisfaction the first time they became parents.  But the remaining 33 percent did not experience this drop – in fact, about half of them saw their marriage improve……What separated these two groups?  You guessed it:  The couples whose marriages thrived after the birth had detailed love maps from the get-go….” Continue reading

Chapter One: The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work

Today we kick off our new book study:  “The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman and Nan Silver.  This book was a New York Times bestseller, and has some interesting observations as to our most intimate relationships.  You can find the link to it on Amazon here:  http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Principles-Making-Marriage-Work/dp/0609805797/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329658637&sr=8-1

Dr. Gottman  spear-headed sixteen years of marriage and divorce research at University of Washington in Seattle and ended up being able to predict, with 91 percent accuracy, over three separate studies, whether a couple would stay married or end up in divorce.  He got to the point where he could predict this after listening to a couple interact in his Love Lab for as little as five minutes! Continue reading

Intimate Relationships: Eight Facets Of A Healthy Family Culture

We are at the last of the eight facets of a healthy family culture!  Writing about the impact that the state of intimate relationships in a household can be a tricky proposition for many reasons, and one I hesitated writing about until the end.

First of all, I don’t want those in families led by a single adult to feel not included or to feel that a single family household is somehow sub-par. I also know from over the years that different marriages and partnerships have different feels to them, and how different couples define “a good marriage” seems to vary,  but somehow they work, so giving “advice” about this seems to be difficult at best.

However, what I have seen over the years is that when the intimate relationships within the household are not working well or are strained, it affects family culture, it can really affect the children, and so I did want to mention this as part of the foundation of healthy family life.

Many sources say it is actually not conflict that diminishes marriages, but rather lack of kindness, lack of patience and tolerance and a general lack of sense of love or being loved.

John M. Gottman, in the book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, asserts that happy marriages are based upon Continue reading

Serene Summer: One Small Step #2

 

How did everyone do with small step #1 here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/06/27/serene-summer-one-small-step-1/     Now that we have pared down our commitments,  I think the second, small, concrete step to build a solid foundation for parenting and homeschooling success is to set aside time to be with your partner. If you are single, how about setting time aside to spend with a mama friend, or to just  rejuvenate yourself? Continue reading

Musings on 19 Years Of Marriage

Happy Anniversary to my husband!

I cannot believe we are almost in “double decades” of our marriage; that used to seem like a number only old people could attain.  Yet, here we are.

It has been such a journey and such an adventure we have undertaken.  Who would have thought that any “ordinary life” could be anything but ordinary?  Every day is a walk along this road together with amazing vistas and spectacular sunsets.

One thing I know for sure is that our sense of humor and the way we are laid back about things has helped us smooth the roads we ventured forth on.  The way we have been able to put ourselves first as a couple together  but also have had respect for who we are as individuals has also been a cornerstone as we have grown together over the years has also made the journey light.

It is funny, endearing and yes, scary,  when we can have a conversation with no words but I know exactly what you are thinking or when we can pass a glance between us and  you know exactly what I am  thinking.  How did this happen that we know each other so well? 

Thank you for teaching me the  secrets to a happy marriage as we walk together:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/05/30/secrets-of-a-happy-marriage/

Most of all, thank you for journeying with me.  I love you!

Many blessings,

Carrie

“Love And Anger: The Parental Dilemma” -Chapter Five: “Going It Alone”

Calling all my single parents!  I would love to hear from you and if you thought this chapter was right on or not. I do find it interesting that the authors also did not make notes about mothers who are single because they never married or mothers who are single due to death of a spouse or partner.  Also, even if you are not single I thought there were quite a few nuggets to be gleamed for all families in this chapter, so read on!

First, the authors open this chapter with the talks they held with a group of single mothers and she notes, “All of the women were the primary caretakers for their children.  Even in-joint custody arrangements, the women reported that they still performed all the essential functions of shopping for clothes, arranging doctor appointments, getting children haircuts, and the like.  When emergency calls were made from school, it was almost never the father who left work to pick up the child.  The joint custody was not entirely “joint” and certainly not equal.”

This chapter has sections on Shattered Ideals,  The Guilty Party, Everyday Conflicts, The Lonely Parent, and Making Peace as a Family.

I think one section that could be beneficial to all families is the section on “The Lonely Parent.”  I liked the mother who said on page 117, “As one mother reflected, “The hardest thing is letting go, especially since I sometimes feel lonely. I want us to share more.  But I believe that children retreat from “needy” parents.  If we are personally fulfilled, they pick up on that and are more willing to be open with us….”  The authors go on to talk about how it is not that children are incapable of “empathy, love, or generous gestures – just that their egocentricity is a basic reality.”  In the view of Waldorf Education, a child is not  considered full grown until age 21, and I think the authors have noted well that whilst children have capacity for all sorts of things, we should not expect them to rise up and  be adults because these children are not.

I also liked this on page 117:  “I have heard parenting described as a “thankless” task, and often it seems that way.  Many a parent has complained that their children do not seem to understand or appreciate all the time and effort that goes into making their lives better.  So much energy and emotion is invested in trying to fill our children’s needs and make them happy that sometimes we grow furious when children seem lacking in gratitude.”

There were also good nuggets for all parents to think about in the last section of this chapter.  What did you all think about it?

Many blessings,

Carrie