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

“Friends and Lovers” by Julian Sleigh

My dear friend Lovey from over at Loveyland lent me this book.  I really wanted to write a review for you all but am finding it a bit  difficult as it  is the kind of book where so many things are profound you want to underline every other sentence and tab the pages and ponder what the authors says.  (Okay, I guess that is something of a review right there.  Smile)

This book is called “Friends and Lovers:  Working Through Relationships” and is written by Julian Sleigh who is a priest in the Christian Community, the renewal of religion that in part accepts the work of Rudolf Steiner and celebrates the traditional seven sacraments in renewed form.  Steiner’s work is referred to here and there in this  book, but I think even if that is not your worldview you will find much sensitive food for thought in this book.

This is not a huge book, about 191 pages total.  There are 24 chapters in this book including:   Setting out, Being a complete person, How am I doing?, Openness, The dynamic of affection, Friendship, The wonder of the soul, Helps and hindrances, Soul-mating, Forging bonds, It takes work to be social, Feeling, Not for myself, The way of love, Exploring the feminine, On being a man, Confiding, Sexuality:  a very personal matter, Creation or recreation?, The question of marriage, The music of marriage, Difficulties and challenges, From rapture to rupture, The community of the future.

The author begins this book with the description that there are “warm places in every person’s soul” that can be filled with feeling for others, and those others have awareness of these feelings.  How then do we become able to master interacting and communicating with others in harmony?  How do we relate to ourselves and how do we use this as the basis for relating to others?  How do we harness and tame anger and anxiety in our interactions with others?

One of my favorite parts of the book is about friendship.  On page 37, the author writes, “A friend is a person who is prepared to suffer in support of you:  to suffer for you and sometimes even to suffer because of you.  Your friend will give you space within his soul, and carry you in this space.” 

Another of my favorite ideas from this book is that relating to one another is a discipline and how feelings are part of our emotional life but feeling (as in willing, feeling, thinking) “is a stream of spiritual force that enters our soul when we are at peace with ourselves and with the world around.” 

There are some wonderful lists peppered through this book; the nine things for success in relating to others comes to mind as well as the 22 causes of possible break-down in a marriage.

The author talks about the crisis at age 28 that many people go through, adjusting to the first pregnancy,  infidelity and divorce and much more.

All in all a very interesting read! Has anyone out there also read this book and have any comments on it to share?

Here is a link to it on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Friends-Lovers-Working-Through-Relationships/dp/0863152678/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1295545806&sr=8-1

Many blessings,

Carrie

Back to Basics: Work Hard On Your Marriage

(This is a note:  Feel free to change the language in this post to match what works for you – partner for spouse, partnership or relationship for marriage.   Onward and upwards now!)

We are still continuing on our “Back to Basics” posts.  I really wanted to include one on the challenge and importance of nurturing your marriage, because family stability is so important for children.

How do you hold onto your spouse and marriage in the midst of raising small children?  It can be really difficult, because as many of you know,  time is little, many times there can be small children waking at all various times and in your bed, and “going out” can be challenging as well.

I see many attachment-minded mothers (and fathers) who seem to replace the intimacy of their marriage with a relationship to their children.  Whilst I love the connection to children, a child is not your spouse. A child is not there to fulfill your adult needs.   A child will be grown up and gone, and you and your partner will be looking at each other across the kitchen table wondering what you all have in common with each other.  Many of you have read my back posts on marriage and know the wise saying of my own friend who talks about preparing for the day the children will be gone from the home starting today.

Here are some of my ideas for building up a marriage during this season of raising children:

I am waiting to hear your ideas in the comment box below!

Many blessings,

Carrie

Married But Alone?

I was thinking about women today who have essentially been alone in their marriage.  Married but alone seems a contradiction in terms, yet it happens so frequently. 

In my personal experience in dealing with families, I have seen three types of “being alone” in a marriage: 

1.  Physically Alone – perhaps these husbands travel a lot or are in the military and are gone.  My husband was active-duty military, so I understand that one.

2. Emotionally Alone – communication breaks down and there are no shared feelings, no support,  no warmth for each other

3.  Socially Alone – perhaps  no common interests or shared time is happening.

I certainly am not a marriage counselor and don’t propose to have an answer to this, but I can think of a few places I have seen other families start.

If you are in this situation, could you try – (and these are just my ideas, so please do take what resonates with you as again, I am not a marriage counselor!)

  • To attempt to have ten minutes a day where you sit down and talk about the day (and trying to talk about something more than the logistics of bills and where children need to go the next day!)  Would a Non Violent Communication Group help you both communicate better with each other? 
  • To have a date lunch with just the infant and leave the other children at home, or have a date after the children go to bed?  Or have a date early in the morning before the children wake up?
  • To find a shared, common interest?  What did you all do when you dated?  What did you like to do?  Could you do that again?
  • Counseling if you need a third party or a marriage tune-up?  I have mentioned before that the Imago therapists are seen as compatible with attachment parenting by Attachment Parenting International :  http://gettingtheloveyouwant.com/   
  • Can you nurture yourself anyway, even if you are alone or lonely?  What would that look like for you?  If you know yourself and feel confident in yourself, that can only help your marriage.  That is something so very attractive! 
  • How is your spiritual journey?  Is that something you could work on as a couple?
  • How could you work as a cooperative team?
  • Could you love your spouse anyway through the way you treat him, by the things you do to put him ahead of you and would he respond to that?

Live big and love each other,

Carrie

Weaving A Marriage

Have you ever considered how marriage is like the best weaving project?

It is an interweaving of experiences:

  • All the shared experiences, joyous and sorrowful
  • Family rituals, celebrations, family meals, travel experiences
  • Joyous times with neighbors and friends
  • A rhythmical life of faith in the day, the week, the year if that is part of your family life
  • Sexual intimacy
  • The sharing of dreams, thoughts, opinions, goals, desires
  • The sharing of laughter, fun and joy as a couple and as a family; shared goals and values
  • The experiences of serving each other and serving the family

And perhaps interwoven into these experiences are the things that make a marriage what it is:

  • Two people, each one putting the other person’s welfare and welfare of the entire family,  ahead of themselves
  • Loyalty and fidelity to each other and the family
  • Faith
  • Respect  for one another and being able to work in cooperation with mutual admiration for one another
  • Kindness  to each other publicly and privately
  • Honesty to each other with open and direct communication
  • Integrity
  • Attraction to each other physically and emotionally
  • Enjoyment of each other – laughter and joy

(And the  notable things that are not woven into the fabric:  things such as sarcasm  toward each other if that is an unwanted way to communicate within your family , being passive-aggressive, being selfish)

How are you weaving your marriage today? What are you weaving in and what are you leaving out to make the weaving even more beautiful?

Live big and  love each other,

Carrie