So my wife posted this blog and I thought I would repost it with my responses as well. We got married in 2009 and I honestly thought it would be easier than what it has been. I never anticipated the money issues we have had nor the issues I have with my ex and even the child support office, who seems to think all fathers are deadbeat dads if you are divorced and paying child support and alimony. They don’t consider if it was the father who left or if the father pays faithfully or not. As for my ex, after 15 years of marriage I asked for a divorce and left in Jul 2006. The divorce was final in Dec 2007. It is now Dec 2013 and yet she still acts like I’m the worst father ever for the sole reason that I divorced her. She doesn’t work with me on anything, she excludes me from the kids lives, I have to counter it by being the best father I can by calling every week, ensuring I get them every visitation, even if it puts us in the negative financially.
Then there is the issue with my step children and their father who has not been in their lives for 4 years now. The oldest has a lot of hate and anger because of it and unfortunately it gets directed at me. I know its unintentional and he doesn’t realize he is doing it but after 4 years it can wear you down. I have always had simple rules, don’t argue or smart mouth me or their mother, do what your asked when your asked and keep your grades up. If you do these things I’m more than willing to expand privileges, let them stay up later than normal, extra time on electronics etc. If you don’t then you don’t get rewarded. But because they, like their mother are so outspoken they think they have the right to argue everything and wonder why I argue back. This has led them to think I hate them unfortunately and it couldn’t be further from the truth. I raised 3 kids from my previous marriage, 2 are adults now and one is 16. I didn’t have these issues with them so to have it with these 2 can be very frustrating and hard to manage.
She made a comment about us being introverts and them being extraverts and how I don’t understand how children can question everything and how they don’t understand how people can be quiet and follow the crowd with no questions. I think there is a misconception here. While I agree I don’t see how children can question everything it is because I believe and was brought up that when your parents say something you don’t question it, argue about it, or smart off. That is considered disrespectful. You can question what people “say” all you want but you don’t disrespect your parent or elders. As for being quiet and following the crowd, that’s not how I would put it. Because I don’t always argue a point or question something doesn’t mean I’m following the crowd. More often than not I want to argue something I disagree with but I don’t. I believe there is a time and place to raise questions and when someone who is either in charge or your parents say to do something, that is not the time. It’s a matter of knowing when to speak up and when to keep your mouth shut. Those are times when you keep your mouth shut. After you are done if you want to ask why it had to be done right then or a certain way then that is fine but you don’t argue it before hand, you just do it.
As she said the past year has been really difficult. Arguments have been at an all-time high, money has been bad, with two cars constantly needing repairs, bills, and I’m in a job that pays $10K less a year, it’s an adjustment to say the least. There have been several times when I said to myself I don’t have to put up with this. I don’t have to deal with kids arguing with me or feeling like I’m failing my wife and the family. However, I stay. Why? Because I am committed to making things work and making things better. I love my wife and more than that I’m in love with my wife and though I may be slow to respond or to fix the issues may take longer than what either one of us would hope for, I’m sticking it out because I know when it gets better it will stay better. So below is an article my wife found and as I stated blogged.
1. Confess everything.
You’ll only get through this tough season if you move forward with complete and total honesty and transparency. Be willing to humbly admit fault and seek forgiveness for every past and present breach of trust. Hold nothing back.
To be honest, I feel I do this one pretty easily. If I messed up I’ll admit to it. I do like to try to explain my thinking behind it in hopes she won’t be as upset and hopefully understand but I do do it. That isn’t to say that there are occasions when I honestly believe I was in the right or at least not at fault for something and when I feel strontly that I wasn’t at fault I will defend myself.
2. Recognize the difference between Forgiveness and Trust.
Forgiveness and trust are two different things. If your spouse has broken your trust or you have broken theirs, forgiveness should be given instantly because grace can’t be earned, but trust has to be earned and it can only be earned slowly through consistency of action. Fight the urge to punish each other.
For myself, I forgive pretty easily and depending on the infraction will likely forget about it within a couple days. Some things are harder to forget especially if it is repeated over and over, and trust is hard to give when it is broken but because I want to I do try. I do have issues with fighting to hurt. I try very hard not to be mean when I argue but more so just try to express my side, how I feel, and how I see things. Calling names and all that does nothing to help, it only makes things worse.
3. Be VERY careful where you get advice.
When your marriage is in crisis, everyone is going to have opinions about what you should do next. Choose up front to only listen to people who love you, love your spouse and love God. If they’re missing any part of that list, their advice will not be balanced with wisdom.
I have never really had anyone I could go to when I had problems to ask advice. I have always had to figure it out on my own. I have heard some of the advice given to my wife and I’m kinda glad sometimes I don’t have people advising me. However if I did I know I would start it with I need advice to fix things not end things. I agree with her statement about divorce. It has become too easy. I was miserable with my ex for 15 years. There were good times but over all I was miserable but I stayed hoping it would change. I finally had to realize it wasn’t going to and leave. So many people today don’t give it that long to try. They don’t give it a month before they are filing for divorce. That’s not how all your problems are solved, divorce is a last resort.
4. Get help.
When our car is broken, we don’t have a problem taking it to a mechanic and when our arm is broken, we don’t have a problem going to a doctor, but for some reason, when our marriage is broken, we think we need to figure it out on our own. There are great resources out there, so take advantage of them! Making those investments into your marriage will pay off huge dividends. A great place to start is SaveMyMarriage.com.
Like my wife said, it costs money and right now we just don’t have it.
5. Don’t give up!
The road ahead won’t be easy, but your marriage is worth fighting for! Take it one day at a time, lean on each other, and trust God to take care of the rest.
I have been divorced once. I tried for 15 years to save it and couldn’t. I believe with all my heart that any issues we are facing in our marriage now can be resolved with time. There are no quick fixes, ever, just quick reactions. Compromise is a difficult one, we both have certain values and thoughts that don’t differ a little bit but differ drastically. That makes for difficulty when trying to compromise. You don’t want to feel like your compromising yourself or your beliefs when you feel so strongly about something and when you do you feel like you failed yourself and others. Our biggest issue has always been communication and I believe we are both trying to fix that issue.
I think these tips were easy things to remember and do and definitely can help your relationship. Good advice and anyone reading I hope thinks so too.