Friday, July 11

Book Club: The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage...

Chapter Two "I've Met the Enemy... and It's Me!"

"Through all the years I was in private practice as a marriage, family, and child therapist, I never once had folks walk in and point to themselves as a/the problem with the marriage; not once. When couples or individuals call in to my radio program to address their marital issues, one of the very first things I do is to ask, "What do you do to hurt your spouse personally and/or the marriage in general?" It is amazing how capable people are to place the blame anywhere else but with themselves. This is not to say that the other person is not contributory; this is to say that it is easier to get your spouse to take responsibility if you role model doing such! Also the only control each one of us has in our relationships is over ourselves"

The above quote pretty much summarizes chapter two in this book. Using examples from some of the callers to her radio program, Dr. Laura illustrates the fact that in order to help fix (or prevent) problems in a marriage, a person needs to take responsibility for his or her own actions and defects and change them... not an easy feat!

One of Dr. Laura's callers resented the fact that her husband no longer wooed and courted her like he had when they were dating. Despite nagging, begging, and crying, he didn't change. She noticed that her husband bought gifts and did thoughtful things for their daughter and realized the following:

"I knew that my husband was capable of thinking of others and doing things to demonstrate his love. While reading your book, it dawned on me. Sarah {their daughter} had been demonstrating for me what I, as a wife, needed to be doing. The moment he walks in the door after work, she runs to him yelling, 'Daddy!!' and nothing else matters to her but that he is home."

"I on the other hand, am too busy getting dinner ready and am irritated that he would actually expect me to drop what I am doing to give him a king's welcome. I shed many tears thinking about this, knowing it was not too late to start."

She made some simple rules for herself:

1. Stop whatever it is that I am doing and greet him.
2. Do my laundry, dishes, etc. during the day and put everything away. It doesn't have to be perfect, like I want it to be - he just wants a comfy home to come to with a loveing wife and children.
3. Just love and appreciate him without nagging and criticisms for the way the baby's diaper is on, or that he picked out the wrong pajamas.

Since my husband works from home, I don't usually have the opportunity to give him a king's welcome... however, there are plenty of times during the day that he pops out of his office to say "hi" or asks me to look at something. Let me tell you, I can be irritated (with a capitol "I") that I am being interrupted from whatever I am doing. This chapter was a good reminder to me to loose my 'tude with my husband and treat him the wonderful way that he treats me when I interrupt his work - graciously and with a smile!

Discussion: Is there a "rule" that you can make for yourself that will help to foster more love and peace in your marriage?


Courtney said...

There are probably dozens of rules I could make! ;-) Right now I think *I* would feel/act more peaceful (which I know would radiate to DH and DS) if I could be more graceful about DH's unpredictable and very long working hours.

Kate said...

My rule would be to be better with my children. I tend to get overly frustrated with my 2 year old and by the time hubby gets home both 2 year old and I are completely strung out and in rotten moods. Despite the mood, I do my best to always greet hubby with a king's welcome, but the harried day is evident on my face and resonates in the walls of our home. He knows and it creates an atmosphere of stress for all of us.

Amanda #1 said...

My rule is probably a dumb one: keep his shirts ironed. I have a horrible habit of putting off the ironing, to the point where he has nothing to wear to work.

So my rule is to iron once a week, whether I want to or not!

New Mom said...

My rule is {or should be} that whenever I am angry at my husband to stop and ask myself the question "Am I being selfish?" This requires me to think before I speak!

BTW, I e-mailed you :}

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