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Archive for March, 2009

 

As you may recall from an earlier post, my wife has been on a big “Couple’s” class kick.  We attended a movie / seminar called Fireproof, about 6 weeks ago.  Since that time, we have been attending a couples gathering once a week to review the movie.  This class (listed under the guise of a couples get-together) has spent the last 5 sessions reviewing individual sections of the movie and answering questions found within a “Fireproofing Your Marriage Workbook”. 

 

Now, I have to admitted that the movie was  a great idea.  I went into it begrudgingly, but found it to be a very good investment in our marriage.  Having said that, I’m starting to go through a slow death. In short, the group gatherings on this same topic are starting to wear on me.

 

Last night, I was called upon by our group “leader” to explain what things my wife does that I feel are “disrespectful” to me.  The second question I was asked later in the evening, was “what things my wife could do better in our marriage to support me”. 

 

We have a pretty strong marriage.  But no man could answer these questions even half-honestly without getting into trouble.

 

I also have to admit, that we have been at this church for only a few months.  I barely know these people, so I’m not real comfortable letting them into our lives yet.   My wife, however, is a social butterfly and doesn’t mind at all.  And of course, in a group like this, there is always one or two people who won’t let you off the hook with an easy answer.

 

Needless to say, my answers did not cut the mustard.  Upon answering the second question, my wife chimed in and told everyone that I should share what I really think —and that was OK with her.

 

So I went on to explain  that my wife’s interrupting and correcting me when I speak to people was both disrespectful to me and something she could improve on for the betterment of our marriage. 

 

This was an honest answer, stated as nicely as I could.

 

On our drive home, it was very quiet.  I asked my wife what she was thinking.  Her first statement was: “it bothers me that you think I am disrespecting you, when you need to be corrected.  When you are wrong, I think I should tell you”. 

 

Can you guess where this conversation headed?  I certainly didn’t feel “fireproof” during the following 30 minutes of discussion.

 

 Is it just my ego that I don’t like being corrected by my wife in front of other people? My feeling has been that she can always discuss it with me later. After all, just because someone has a different point of view it doesn’t mean that I’m wrong. Right?

 

To be fair, this is something that I had to work on at the beginning of our marriage.  It went hand-in-hand with trying to “fix everything”.  Sometimes our spouses want us to just listen and be supportive……and not turn into Mr. Fix it.  The same is said about “correcting” them.  My job as Husband is not to “correct my wife”.  The children are a different story, however.

 

So as we launch into the last 2 weeks of these couples evenings, I have to ask myself if it has been helpful or not.  As I said, I got a ton out of the movie.  But the weekly couples meetings ………….not so much. 

 

Regardless, this will soon be over and March 14th is quickly approaching.  This is when I get to spend a full day with my wife at a Couples Seminar located at my old University. 

 

Will somebody please take me out of my misery, and just shoot me………..

 

-Al

 

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1.      I think that the things I learn about other people never stop to surprise me.  Case in point?  Sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer served as a sniper in Israel during the 1940’s.  As a teenager, she was a member of the Israeli underground, and was considered an expert marksman and grenade thrower.
 

I wonder how she made the jump from this to sex therapist?  She must have had one heck of a career councilor.

 

2.      I think that having a family is a little like having a bowling alley in your head.  It doesn’t matter if the ball goes into the gutter, or hits all of the pins; each is associated with some degree of noise.


I never realized how loud a little girl could scream.  I didn’t have sister, so when Kelley was born I had a steep learning curve (which I’m still going through).  My 6 year old screams when she’s playing with her friends out of joy, she screams when she doesn’t get her way, and she screams just to scream at times (but she is growing out of that phase).
 

As I tell my friends, she has no OFF button. She’s always going 100 miles an hour, and usually the leader of the pack – for better or worse.  Her poor older brother doesn’t stand a chance when she is in room.  She always demands all the attention, and if allowed, will chatter on forever with relatives or family friends. 

           And I thought the boy would be the loud one…….

 

Despite the noise, I think having a daughter is an experience I wouldn’t have traded in for the world. It’s so much different that having a son.  I never thought that anyone could get me to play “tea” or dress up a doll until she came into the world.

 

So despite the noise and accompanying headaches, I think I bowled a strike. 


 

3.      The month of March marks the 10th anniversary of the tanker accident involving the Exxon Valdez, in Alaska’s Prince William Sound.  It is also the 20th anniversary of the partial core meltdown of a reactor at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant. 


I think I’m a little concerned about what horrific event will occur this March, to keep this trend going. Will it be a total meltdown of the financial markets, the bankruptcy of 1 or 2 of the American auto manufactures, or will the site Dad.Blogs go down again?


 

4.      This month also celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Barbie Doll. To Celebrate, Delegate Jeff Eldridge wants to ban the sale of Barbie Dolls in the state of West Virginia.  Why? Because Barbie’s influence girls to place undue importance on physical beauty to the detriment of their intellectual or emotional development (his words – not mine). The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.  http://www.wvpubcast.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=8458
 

Now…….. I’m not a big fan of Barbie Dolls. I do get his point to a certain degree. However, I think this is another case of our state representatives not staying focused on what’s important right now.  Did the residents of West Virginia elect this guy to worry about Barbie Dolls, or the state’s financial issues?

 

 

5.      To spank, or not so Spank. In a Research Paper by Burton White (PhD in Child Behavior), he states that in “The First Three Years of Life, There is no evidence that children who have been spanked when they are young become either aggressive older children or abusive parents”.      An article, found at   http://www.crosswalk.com/parenting/11599466/ , outlines this research and conflicting data as well.

 

I was raised by a fairly heavy handed father.  Both my brother and I grew up unscathed and as relatively normal adults.  Therefore, I have first had knowledge of one end of the spectrum. 

 

As you would guess, my wife grew up on the other end.  Our approach has been heavily tilted toward “time-outs” and taking away privileges.  When all else fails, a spanking is the next and last line of discipline.  And, as much as some of you may not like it, it works with our kids.

 

I think I would be interested to know what side of the spanking fence our bloggers fall on.

 

 

6.      They say that marriages are made in heaven.  Well, so is Thunder and Lightning.
 

I think I am very fortunate to have found a woman who shares my values, and continues to work to make our marriage strong.  That said, we run into rough patches like everyone else.
 

I think that after 12 years of marriage, I almost get it.  You enter marriage not for what you can get, but for what you can give.  That’s the meaning of real love in a relationship. 

 

I am not her husband so I can fix her problems, but so I can support her. This allows us to raise our children as a team.   It took me a long time to get that.

 

 I think that Peggy is definitely the Lightning which sets off my Thunder.


 

7.      You may have noticed that I really enjoy reading the blogs of people who are different than me.  I may not always agree, but it is endlessly interesting to me.  I came across a post this week, which really slapped me upside the head – — as in, I had no idea that this was an issue. 
 

I think you should take a moment today, and go to:  http://www.makesmewannaholler.com/2009/03/my-piano-keys-her-mom-is-not-white.html

 

I got an education from reading this, and the blog “Makes Me Wanna Holler” got a new fan. 

 

 

 

In think that’s it, for this volume of Seven Things I Think I Think.

 

 

 

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Love and Marriage

Question:  If a man is talking to himself in the woods, and no woman hears him………is he still wrong?

In my house I’m the boss……my wife is just the decision maker. It’s clear to see this every day in our home.  The kids come to me with a question or complaint, and my wife can overrule my decision much like a head referee overrules a line judge in a tennis match.  You can argue if you want, but in the end the head referee makes the final call.

I don’t know how this happened.  It was so gradual I didn’t notice it until recently. 

All I know is that my marriage is the only place in my life that I can get overruled on a semi-consistent basis.  In my professional life, I may be asked if a different approach would be better; but I’m never overruled without warning or discussion.

At the Evil Empire (i.e. my company), I know my role and responsibilities.  It’s clear where the boundaries are, and what decisions I am authorized and unauthorized to make.  In my family life, it appears to be a moving target at times.  There are some decisions I make that my wife doesn’t hear about until later, and she’s OK with them.  Sometimes she overhears my response to the kids,  and lets it go.  And of course, there are those times when her voice is heard from the other room, overriding my decision.

 I don’t worry much about making a mistake with my decisions, as long as I’m consistant with discipline and praise for my kids.  My wife agonizies over many of the small (at least to me) issues / questions.  If she’s wrong, or things don’t work out, she is very hard on herself. 

For me, I always believed that a married man should quickly forget his mistakes; there is no use in two people remembering the same thing. 🙂

Groucho Marx once said, that “The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open.”  I definitely disagree with the “checkbook open” argument.  However, there is some small degree of truth to keeping silent and not correcting or disagreeing with your wife over every little thing.  As I have gotten older, I’ve slowly learned that my wife’s self worth is more important than me being “right”.

As silly as this may sound, I’ve been using a scale to determine if I should react to a comment from my wife that angers me or I disagree with.  The scale is 1-5, with 5 being the top of the volcano.  If her statement ranks as a 3 or less, I let it go.  If her comment ranks as a “4”, I make it a point to discuss it with her later in the day when I’m not upset or argumentative.  Believe me, waiting is not easy for me.

If her comment ranks as a 5, chances are I already blew it and said something I shouldn’t have.  But I’m working at it.

The point is, if I hold back my comment, I usually realize that it wasn’t a big deal anyway.  It helps me keep things in perspective.  In the past, I would jump in and let the world know if I felt a comment was unfair or incorrect. This, of course, never resulted in anything positive between my wife and I.

I have learned that in love and marriage, the best way to grow your marriage is to put your wife’s feelings and her self worth before your own.  This isn’t a wimpy decision.  In fact its hard to do, at least for me.  What I have found is that this makes for a much happier wife.  And after all, you know the old saying: “if Momma isn’t happy, the family isn’t happy”.

-Al

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On Monday morning we took our 8 month old dog, Buck to the vet.  He was very excited to see everyone there.  He even decided to leave his mark (i.e. pee) on the reception desk.

Little did our little guy know, that he would never be the same.  Buck was their to get snipped.

About 7 hours later, my wife returned to the veterinarian to pick up our dog.  Drugged, confused and a little pissed – he got into the car.

He wasn’t upset about getting snipped, I think he was to druged to notice.  The real reason for his attitude……..

cone-head

was the cone on his head.

If you have ever had a pet that had minor surgery, you know that glazed look in there eyes.  They really aren’t totally clear headed for a good day.  Poor Buck, was simply pathetic.  He kept bumping into things with the cone on his head, and couldn’t find anyway to lay down and get comfortable.

Upon my arrival home, I saw him frantically shaking his head trying to the get the cone off.  I looked at our poor little guy, and decided something had to be done.  I reached down and touched the cone on his head……….and got bit. 

I swear, he has never so much as even nipped at me.  It’s really not in his nature.

Turns out, he was not happy with anyone touching his head since he got the cone put on. It would of been nice to be forewarned by my wife, but I wasn’t so lucky. 

After several unsuccessful tries during the course of an hour, I finally pinned down our glassy eyed dog and got the cone off his head.  Despite my wife’s objections, I felt Buck needed a break and the opportunity to eat without the cone.

Buck quickly eat, and then proceeded to throw up on our family room rug.  Turns out the drugs in his body didn’t agree with his dinner.

As my wife was cleaning up the throw up, she informed me that I MUST put the cone back on his head so that he didn’t chew on his stitches.  Mind you….the only thing Buck wanted was a quite corner to sleep in.

After an hour or two of lively “discussion” on the subject, I relented and put the cone back on his head.  As I explained to my wife, there was no way that the dog could sleep with this cone on his head.  My wife insisted, that he could not only sleep; but he was going to sleep in his kennel like he does every evening.  By this time it was 11:00pm and way past my bedtime (before you call me a wimp, please keep in mind that I get up for work at 5am.  I need my beauty sleep).

So I stood back and watched, as my wife tried to put Buck to bed.  Soon she realized, that he had to be “Backed” into his kennel due to the cone.  Sure enough, she backed him up and got him in……..and he immediately got stuck.  The cone on his head was wedged into the walls of his kennel.

Our dog frantically tried to get unstuck, and eventually gave up and started to cry.  For me, I was at the point where my temper was about to take over.  After all, it was past my bedtime, I have a bandage on my hand from being bit, my wife and I are not getting along due to the course of the evening, and now I have a drugged up dog with a cone on his head – stuck in his kennel.

I therefore did the only thing a tired and ticked-off man would do. I went to the garage and got my work gloves on.  NOT the wimpy cloth gloves that you garden with .  No, these are the type of gloves that men named Bart and Butch wear when pouring cement or building a deck.

I returned to the kennel and bent the cone until I could pull it off his head.  After a moment of stunned silence, Buck slowly walked out of his kennel – looked at me, and let out a huge pee on the carpet.

He then calmly turned around and went into his kennel for bed. I did the same, getting up from the floor and heading to my bedroom; leaving my gloves on top of the kennel and my wife with another wet carpet to clean.

I swear, getting him sniped wasn’t worth it.

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