Marriage, Family, and Friends….Oh My!

Marriage, Family, and Friends…Oh My!

Maintaining a happy and healthy marriage is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life, and parenting is a close second! Nobody prepared us. Where oh where are the prerequisite courses and certifications for relationships? I’m joking, but not really. While I am not a political person by nature, I would sincerely advocate for making it a requirement to take a relationship/communication class before being granted a marriage license. How about a child care and development class prior to insurance covering the medical bills? Clearly this is not the most realistic plan and the odds of it ever happening are slim, but let’s just take a moment together to imagine (with a sense of humor) what the course list would look like.

“In-laws 101”
“Remote control etiquette”
“Money: Not yours, it’s mine, & sometimes ours”
“Men… changing diapers and doing dishes is an aphrodisiac”
“Five reasons to stay off social media while pushing toddlers on a swing”
“3 1/2-year-olds are not who you think they are”
“Your teenager really does deserve to live”

Send me some more topics. This could be fun!

Forgive me… I digress.

The point here is that relationships are the absolute foundation of every defining moment in our lives and as a society we are truly under-educated and under-prepared to recognize the difference between the healthy and the toxic bonds. How and why is it acceptable to take classes about computers & robotics, and hire private tutors for math and SAT prep, but it’s a sign of weakness to go to a therapist for personal or relationship challenges? We sincerely need to break this cycle. Some things about the current generation upload (10-20 yr olds) are better in terms of expressing emotions. The challenge is that it’s too often on social media and not in person. Look at this hilarious quote by a social media site called YourTango:


“If you really loved me, you’d say so on my Facebook® wall, said no-one in a healthy relationship ever!” …YourTango.com


These words spoke to me, because too often I’m aware of couples on the brink of break-ups, posting on Facebook® about their soul mates being the best thing that ever happened in their lives. People who are struggling in their relationships often view these messages and fall into the rabbit’s hole of comparison. This often leads to greater personal distress. Does anyone else have a strong desire to shout out about the reality of what it is like to actual trenches of married life? It is very clear that we all need some serious inspiration and support.

Every relationship is layered. In-laws, children, careers, friendships, etc. have a major impact on us. Jim and I often joke that we could have the perfect marriage if everyone else (mainly our kids) didn’t get in the way. On the other hand, our kids have at several points been the purpose of fighting to make our marriage work.

One thing we have learned for sure is that prayer, counseling, and communication classes have been the saving grace for us. We are very open about this and willing to share our story. Our love for one another has always been our greatest strength, but we got married very young and very different (from each other). When the layers were added, we barely made it through at times. Twenty-six years later, we are still connected with two Christian marriage groups and remain on the path to deepen our commitment to one another. Still….so….challenging.

Where do you stand in your relationships, careers, and spiritual/personal purpose? Are you staying in a mistake because it took so long to make? Where do you need to be? What do you need to change? Do you have a physical addiction or disorder that is actually a relationship or career disorder being masked? Change is beyond scary. Fear of failure can paralyze. What is your saving grace? Is it prayer, therapy, meditation, support groups, sleep, or something as simple as a walk on the beach to clear your mind? I encourage you to take a step in a healing direction. Find support and be ok with yourself for needing it. Friends, let’s be proud that we are authentic enough to share our stories with each other. If we reach out and open up to others, we might just be the catalyst to their change.