Marriage Is For Keeps

Marriage Is For Keeps

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If you are getting married, Catholic or not, you need to read Marriage is For Keeps. Each chapter lays out a different topic about how to focus your marriage on the three of you husband, wife and God in the center. Each section contains thought provoking questions for you and your mate and lets you ponder how you are going to grow as a person in your marriage. There are tough spots in this book. A must read, whether you are about to be married or already married and wanting to find that something missing. Especially interesting and tough is the chapter on the roles in the marriage. Kippley presents the notion of wives deferring to their husbands very thoughtfully, but also notes that it is counter cultural in the US of A. He remarks that men need to be worthy of the spiritual leadership of their family if they are truly going to lead.
How often have you heard "when the children come, the marriage ends" New parents are routinely warned how once a baby enters the picture nothing will ever be the same. The budding parents are unnerved because the naysayers are seasoned parents who know what they are talking about. These veterans prophesize doom and gloom in with the baby, and out with fun. Gone will be sleep, leisure-pastimes, nights out, friends, laziness, sex and then ultimately the marriage dissolves. We hold this belief that children are detrimental to marriage because to give to a child takes us away from devoting time to keeping up our image. We are supposed to look like vibrant, vital, beautiful people. Achieving the image is hard work, and requires substantial time to beauty maintenance, clothes shopping, exercising, and socializing. When we are out doing such activities, we receive admiration and applause from peers.
Raising children offers no such external rewards. There are no medals, paychecks, or fame attached to the role of childcare giver. And in our present society, that renders this position insignificant. When there is no value in nurturing, there can be no value in being a child. Don't ever make the mistake of thinking the child does not know this. Children know they are looked upon as troublesome and annoying. They see their parents giving their time to what they value; jobs, social events, hobbies, and other external means in which they get validated. Instead of nuisances, children, in fact, should be regarded as a celebration of the marriage.

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But they aren't, and frequently they are perceived as hindrances that divide a husband and wife.If the demands of parenting are causing you and your husband to drift apart, analyze why. Do you and your spouse share the same agenda? If you both shared the priority of nurturing and enjoying your child, then there should be no problem. But, if either or both of you have control issues which manifest as power struggles, then disputes will most certainly arise. In many marriages, women grow resentful of their husbands when they are expected to do it all: work, clean, care for the children, shop, cook, do laundry, and then make love. They silently resent their husbands for not allowing them to fully nurture their child. Mothers feel the heavy burden of expectation from their spouses to juggle too many other commitments. They lose the bond of intimacy toward their mate and therefore lose the desire for sex. Women have to have their emotional housekeeping in order before they desire sex. When husbands turn into the enemy, every approach is repelled. Overly controlling husbands want to fully posses their wives and are not interested in changing their original routine. They don't want to share a bed, breasts, time, affection, or have anything else change. But, when a child arrives everything must change. Problems begin when couples do not allow for a transition to occur within themselves and within the household. They don't want to budge because, as we have said, they don't want to feel the emotions that spring forth when a baby enters the picture. In addition to overbusying themselves to escape recalling the memories of their own childhood experiences, they blame the other spouse when circumstances at home change. A lot of name-calling and unmet expectations can happen at this time. Partners get stressed and pushed to the limit. In the case of wives, many resent that they have to go to work, saying that they would be happy with less. But they don't verbalize anything for fear of being belittled. Unthinking and domineering husbands ridicule such women as being brainless, lazy, and lacking ambition.
Wives married to domineering husbands must not become victims of their state of affairs -- they co-created their circumstances. Women have been raised to serve and to please, and if you were raised by authoritative/domineering parents, then you entered into your relationship to fulfill the abusive pattern. The domineering husband merely supplants the domination of the parents.
When a mother brings a baby home, Nature gives birth to a new constitution. The new mother will innately emerge as a mama bear, but mounting expectations from society and her husband strip her maternal essence away from her. Baby blues are really mama's blues. After delivering her child, she becomes confused about her evolving identity and the fear of not being able to completely be there for her child and her husband. She may subsequently examine what it must have been like when she was a newborn -- was she nurtured and protected, or did her own mother bow to the demands of her husband and the outside world?
Babies make thinking parents take personal inventory. For many, the accounting is more like an audit, and the growing realization that so much has to change keeps the parent from doing anything at all. In the worse case, the mother keeps the door closed to her past, disconnects from her heart, and anguishes in silence. To be happy, parents must find the courage to address personal issues doing so is the path to healing, and healing is the only way to get clear about what you want. Once you know what you want, it's important to state it. Because when a mother smolders inside and resents her husband for expecting too much, not contributing, or not allowing her to be maternal, the child loses. He/she will feel unwanted.
Couples locked in marriages of resentment and expectations usually hide the anguish from their friends, family, and peers. They continue with their very active lives, and may be steeped in materialism. Again the child is the scapegoat. Such parents say, "We live for us because we don't want to cater to our child. He has to know that we have lives too, otherwise he'll feel like he comes first. That's how kids manipulate their parents and become spoiled." These parents are immersed in their own issues and can not see how they are depriving their child of attention and love.
What overbusy, demanding, and domineering parents don't know is that when you slow down to your child's level, magic happens. In addition to helping you to heal the issues of your own childhood, they bless you with discovery. Every curiosity they experience is your curiosity. Every joy and physical achievement is your triumph too, if you let it happen. If you allow it, your child will re-ignite and inspire your life. That is the gift your child gives to you. You get to re-live everything anew. To watch your child's first experience of the ocean's flow washing up on the sand and then rushing back again. Or the crumpling of a paper bag, or watching a bird take flight for the very first time. With such a precious gift, it is a shame that we are so burdened by these young, treasures. We don't take time to enjoy our children and they feel it. Whenever there is a disappointed or resentful wife or husband not having their needs met, the child will invariably suffer. The parents can't help but vent the impatience they feel onto their child. Sadly the child is the one who absorbs the immediate impact of their frustration. When a parent is angry, he/she needs to be cognizant of the fact that the child may become engulfed in the ripple effect. It would be more appropriate for the parent to remove himself or herself before unleashing their fury onto their child. Then the parent can sit in a quiet place until the adrenaline dissipates. The adult can calmly take several breaths to restore clarity, and move into a more peaceful moment. At this time the parent can rationally see how the child has nothing to do with the discord between mom and dad. It is completely unacceptable for parents to take their frustrations out on a child. The issue is not about him, so therefore it should never touch him.
Affection is a big part of all romantic relationships, but especially marriage. Affection keeps passion alive, and the marriage moving smoothly. Usually women complain that their husbands are not affectionate, however, sometimes it is the other way around. Affection helps your spouse feel needed and loved. Here are steps you can take to bring back affection.Do not expect your spouse to read your mind or know exactly what you need. As in every aspect of your marriage, communication is vital. Try not to demand that they be more affectionate because they will rebel against you. Simply tell your spouse what you want and how you want it. When they make an effort to meet your needs, encourage them and respond well, even if the way they are affectionate isn't exactly what you wanted. Show affection to your spouse and they might begin to model your behavior. Being flexible and easygoing will help gain affection.The good part about marriage is that if there is a problem that you have a lifetime to fix it. Your spouse may not be affectionate over night. With patience and understanding, they will surely come around.

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