Little Magpie: Bill and Swan- I recently noticed that both my H and I take things personally and if I didn't clarify he thinks I'm telling him that he messed up or did something wrong because he didn't do something the way I had perceived it to be done
Bill: Little Magpie: this stuff happens because your hearts are connected. You have an influence on each other that is stronger than anyone else in your life. In marriage, we need to protect each other's hearts more than we need to pass on the information.
Swan: Bill - At one point my husband was going on about being all alone, that no one loves or cares about him and that is when I, well everyone in the house heard their conversation. My son raised his voice and told my husband that was a lie, there are people that love and care about him down here, he should have taken the job with the old company he had been offered a few months back, he made his choice to stay where he is and to be away from his family, so stop whining. I did tell my son later that wasn't the best way to handle his dad, he is most likely dealing with depression. My son agreed, but said he is just fed up and then told me he would give it a couple days and reach out to his dad again, but will cut any self pity conversations. I don't know what has happened since, I try not to ask and figure son will tell me if there is something I need to know.
Bill: Swan: It seems to me your son is doing just fine. I think he has room to be confrontational with his dad in short spurts. He seems to truly love his dad and his willingness to reach out in a couple of days is impressive. It is fascinating how his family instinctively tries to get you to speak for him even now.
Swan: Bill - Sadly many consider people to be throw away, I have seen parents give up and throw children out of their homes (some baffled me because the kids were pretty good kids), husbands and wives throw their spouse away (some completely through divorce, others partly by living apart together) and then we throw our parents away. There were so many of the ladies at the home that had living children and grandchildren, but never had visitors, it was like they were brought to the home and forgotten. Their children paid the fees, but just didn't visit. Phone calls were also rare or never happened. It was so sad, but at least they had each other and the staff for company.
Bill: Swan: I agree. It is very sad. For personal convenience, we discard people who add great value to our lives because they are harder to deal with than we want them to be. It surprises me because we are all going to grow old (with exceptions of course) and very few of us do well alone. Human nature is crazy though.
Little Magpie: Swan - Thank you. Bill - how, How to win friends and influence people or what?? How do I learn how to build friendships?
Bill: Little Magpie: You learn one step at a time. There are many avenues. You can learn from books or presentations focused on friendship building. You can seek out a mentor who is already good at this and courageously ask her to teach you what she knows. You can insert yourself into situations that will require you to turn the gift into skills (bible studies, service organizations like you and Swan have been talking about, support groups with a long-term commitment, etc.). The key is to practice with no exit strategy until you gain a level of comfort.
Little Magpie: Bill what you said about women and intuition. I have felt something off w my H and his walk. He just admitted that he is going through some of the motions but not the relationship he used to have. He asked me to tone down the religion on my walk. It's hard not to react. Counseling isn't for a while due to the holiday. It's difficult to try to communicate especially when he seems to want me quiet.
Bill: Little Magpie: pray for grace to stick with you know is right and avoid taking on responsibility that belongs to your H. Walking with Jesus is your choice so keep it up regardless of what anyone else might say. Just do it calmly and with conviction even if no one around you keeps pace. It never helps to be weaker! Also, use your intuition to pray for you H. It is a gift from God that is hard to carry but turns into great passion for prayer. Also, don't ever settle for being quiet. You, of course, don't need to be obnoxious or pushy or irritating for the sake of getting a reaction but being quiet helps no one. Keep sharing your heart and do your best to get your encouragement from your Savior. I know it is difficult but it is better than being discouraged by those around you.
Little Magpie: Swan we are still going to couples counseling but if you keep falling into the same familiar bad habits and re hash the same irritating things it's tough. Bill, it would be worth a try, we have tried to do a check in but it fell flat because it was very uncomfortable
Bill: Little Magpie: The "check-in" can put pressure on the two of you without meaning to. It is also easy to fall into a "we have to fix this" mode which makes every discussion an argument. You are in a big transition with all your kids gone. It is now just the tow of you with a lot of history between you. Often, the relationship just needs a new start with low expectations and new memories. Many of the issues can't be solved no matter how much effort you put into them but new starts are a common experience of human beings.
Swan: Bill - sometimes the best answers come from the common everyday person, not experts. Plus people will tend to listen better to someone they can relate to more than someone who is speaking more from education. Sadly, I know I can get lost when someone is speaking at me from educated knowledge, but when someone who has lived it is talking to me and I can relate, it sticks with me far more.
Bill: Swan: Exactly! People don't view their families and close friendship like an education or a career. These are casual pursuits for them which are why casual conversations are so powerful. There are numerous studies that have established that people who are significantly connected to people they trust overcome issues better than people who are pursuing the same change in counseling.
Swan: Bill - that makes so much sense, my husband has actually commented to others that there is no way I have forgiven him; even my husband says he has a hardened heart.
Bill: Swan: Wow, he can't even grasp the obvious! I am convinced that my life would have been ruined if I hadn't forgiven my mom and dad. They still don't seem to be aware of what they did. They are so used to excusing each other's bad behavior; they assume everyone else just forgets also. I will be forever glad that I discovered the power and freedom that comes with courageous grace!
Bluebird: Bill, I guess if he's just coming out of the tunnel, I don't want to hinder his journey by asking questions. On the other hand I have so many questions I don't know when or if I should ask them.
Bill: Bluebird: If you have the ability to notice when he gets overwhelmed and can back off quickly, I don't see any reason not to ask questions. This is your life and this all affects you so it is fair to ask. As you probably know, the tricky part is when he gets upset, reacts, pulls back and throws in a little chaos. Things then get more complicated because now you are dealing with reactions in addition to real issues. If you can manage your response to the reactions, I encourage you to go ahead and ask.
Little Magpie: Bill - I am finding it important but very difficult to "be intentional" about trying to engage in communication
Bill: Little Magpie: No doubt. If it was easy, we wouldn't talk about it so much. I find it best to focus on the next step and try to make progress rather than focus back on recent failures. This is a tough world so looking back can get quite discouraging. There is always hope in the future!
Little Magpie: Bill - I am not as desperate to change due to fear of change and the unknown...
Bill: Little Magpie: Thank you for sharing that. I think the reasons you stated are the most common reasons people hold back. The unknown can be a scary place and real change means having to learn all new skills with the stress that goes along with pushing the learning curve to a high level. It is a strenuous process. The fact that you admit these are holding you back is more than most will do.