Aside

Marriage 101: Part 1.5 of 2

This is a flashback post written on September 20, 2012…

5 things we did PERFECTLY in our first 2 years of marriage?

-Not have children: This turned out to be a blessing and a curse, however we are where we need to be! In addition, they say the first year of anything is the hardest, for us, it was the first year and six months after.  We honestly could not imagine having a child during this time. Just thinking about the pressure makes me sweat! We have enjoyed our time together and have experienced wonderful and horrible things; we have also been exposed to environment/things NOT fitting for children.

-Formed a great bond: Immense love is a huge part of what makes us work. Living with someone is very different from dating/courting, characters get strained and ugliness within rears its head, our relationship has been challenged but our love conquered it all! ( Cheesy right? Oh but its soooo tru!)

– Worked through deep seated personal issues: While I believe mental health is very important, I believe in its effects and checking on its status.  We all have things we are battling, we also have things we’re fighting or that’s re-occurring that we won’t be so quick to or own up to or agree on. They are there and they need and deserve your attention. Once you have a trust worthy spouse, open up to change. If there is something you’re constantly being accused of, make a conscious effort to stop it. Don’t be afraid to work through your difficulties, no one is perfect and faults are nothing to be ashamed of.  If you are dating a spouse with a serious troubling problem and you can’t address it; seek help immediately.  If your relationship is toxic and your spouse isn’t accepting help; cut your losses and move on. You can love someone from a distance. Mental, verbal and physical abuse is no longer something to be ashamed of, neither is it something that people have patience with anymore. You will risk losing loved ones and close friends, if you stay in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere. We’ve cried together and held each other’s hands through difficult situations and the only thing it did was made us respect each other more!

-Became open to working with each other’s likes and dislikes: Adapt, not change, is very important in a marriage. This means that you’re not sacrificing your own happiness but simply accepting and understanding why our spouses do the things they do.

-Completely eliminated outside influences:  We are hermits to the point where it is offensive and we will never apologize for that! Downs and Ups, through trials and celebrations, in SICKNESS and in HEALTH, we remained poker face to the public! Don’t be mistaken, when we did need help, we sought it, we agreed on a few people we would call on and they have never failed.

-Learned patience: I believe I can now sit through a thousand nails being hammered into my face and not even flinch!  And that is all I will say about that!….key takeaway here? Be patient and speak softly and calmly with the most suitable words possible! If you believe when you speak you will inflict hurt and later regret this, hold your tongue. Take a breather and try again. Explaining yourself to gain understanding is far greater than explaining yourself to gain forgiveness.

Aside

Spare the rod or spoil their spirits….

I’m not sure why I do this but do it with such conviction. I tell all my parent friends, families etc.  don’t discipline your child around me or don’t beat your child in my home. I never want to represent a sad or horrible memory for any child. It scares me to think that I may not find the guts to discipline my own child, but onward I must go. Today I said to a friend, ‘Your son doesn’t listen completely when you be stern with him because you aren’t smacking him over the head with any object you can find. You also don’t need to do that so don’t beat yourself up for the way he is, his personality is intact.’ She spoke out about his rowdiness and readiness to fight. I backed him up by saying, he’s a boy, it’s his first instinct, just be patient with him, teach him to deal with his anger and talk him down. Our parents ‘over-smacked’ us, and while some would say it worked, I believe it also created a fear in us that wore out our spirit. We eventually became defiant, restless and rebellious in our own homes. While some of us fought to the end, others like myself would always retreat in a fitful of tears; until I was burnt out. I remember when I used to take my beatings and retreat to the bathroom where I would lock myself away for hours just to be alone. We lived in a studio home where if you inhaled too deeply you could ingest mist from the other person’s breath. I can’t imagine how much badness I could have done in such a small space but I understand that children are amazing creatures. I also know how my mentality got messed up when I kept being controlled by my tears and how robotic in my choices I had become. I lost my spirit. I wanted out, I did not want to go to school, I wanted to work so that I could leave. ASAP.

I don’t believe in sparing the rod and spoiling the child. I also believe that parents ‘over parent’ a lot and try to discipline their kids for the simplest of things. I have noticed moments where a strong hand was felt because a parent simply had no patience at the time and so ‘quieting’ the child would end all misery. I’m also not against a beating, but I believe this form of torture should be used sparingly. I recently met a mother who had a certain sternness in her voice that I myself was scrambling to get my act together in her presence. She credited rewarding her child when he was good as one way of maintaining an excellent relationship with her son. She also made herself his only ‘friend’ while he was growing up.  She fondly recounted a moment when she told him, ‘…those children that you are playing with are not your friends, they know you would be in trouble if you did so and so and they watched you do it without telling you the proper thing’.   I believe as well that parents don’t let their children build their experiences enough, we more berate, threaten and scare. There’s not a lot of, ‘I warned you and this happen so now you will have to deal with it’.

In this instance, I reflected on the type of parent I wanted to be. I never want to beat my child to a pulp every time he did something wrong. I also don’t want to have such a strong hand he loses his spirit and freedom of expression. I never want to be known as a parent he can’t come to (even though naturally he probably won’t) for everything. So, I’m putting it out there in the universe.  I want a child that is wide eyed for life, filled with wonder and curiosity but disciplined, focused and driven. I hope he becomes a boy that will question all things but is humble in his exchanges and grateful for his blessings. I hope for a little boy that isn’t boastful and filled with pride. A son, brother, friend, husband, father that will not become a product of his society and will respect his parents and what they are limited to provide for him. I hope he will learn and keep the value of laughter, especially in this cold harsh world. I most importantly hope to nurture my child’s spirit, guide how strong it may be and build him up when he needs it. I refuse to be the forceful hand that ruins his joie de vivre! I want his dartboard to be me.