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July 19, 2017 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

tos: Bill, I think part of what I see her struggle with is unforgiveness/bitterness and a great amount of fear. I've admitted I was wrong so often, worked to improve (and have, though I'm not perfect), but the pain she is experiencing is overwhelming I think.

Bill: tos: I am sure there is bitterness involved and a strong sense of disappointment in herself she doesn't want to admit to. These lead to irrational conclusions that become self-fulfilling. This is why you can do "all the right things" and still not see the changes you thought were sure to happen. I am glad you have taken your own inventory and made changes that made sense but you now see the situation is bigger than your mistakes and shortcomings. Families are collections of very imperfect people who need grace, acceptance and courage to figure out life together. They are strongly connected but can be fragile at the same time.

 

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July 19, 2017 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

Little Magpie: Good Evening Bill and Swan

Bill: Hello Swan and Little Magpie. How are you tonight?

Swan: Hi Little Magpie - How has your week been?

Swan: Bill - Hi, I am good this week. Hope your week has included some rest during all the busy you have going on.

Little Magpie: All - I am a little hurried as I rushed to be here but otherwise okay

Little Magpie: Swan and Bill - How are you?

Bill: Swan: Last week was nothing but fun. The whole family was in town for vacation (benefit of living on a boat near the beach). Great time as a family. This week has been ok pace wise but we are all kind of reeling. One or best friends unexpectedly lost their 40 year old daughter over the weekend. I am leading the memorial service on Saturday in Nevada and we are all dealing the shock.

Little Magpie: Bill - so sorry to hear about the loss of your friends daughter. Glad you will be able to help the family by leading the service. May the Lord bring you comfort as you share the Lord's comfort with others. Glad also that your family could be together for summer fun!

Bill: Thank you Little Magpie. I am anticipating God's faithfulness throughout the funeral process as we work through this personally and professionally. Thanks for the encouragement.

Little Magpie: Bill - I know that the Lord can work with our hearts and hurts when we focus on helping others and God is always faithful

Swan: Bill - Sorry about the loss, my how young.

Bill: Little Magpie: I agree completely. I am convinced the only experience everyone shares in common is pain. Not everyone is successful or happy or physically challenged or smart and so on. But, everyone experiences some kind of personal pain that gives us all the capacity to be compassionate to each other. I believe this is why so many human connections are built around struggles, challenges and painful experiences.

Bill: Swan: Young and sudden. She has been receiving treatments for nerve pain. Last week, she had a reaction that turned tragic very quickly. Stark reminder of the need to be prepared to meet Jesus each and every day of our lives.

Little Magpie: Bill and Swan - Question for you, that might relate to pain. How do you keep from reverting back to bad patterns with your spouse?? I know we are under a lot of stress with our youngest getting ready to go away to University but I do fear we will continue to revert back to living parallel instead of together. Any suggestions.

Swan: Bill - Agreed, we want to believe there will always be tomorrow and so often even those with the best intentions put things off until tomorrow, but when there is no tomorrow! It is good to prepare, but I believe we benefit when we live for now with tomorrow in our sight line. I know so many that regretted not having told someone this or done that, they didn't follow through too much was left undone, etc.

Bill: Little Magpie: I will speak from my experience since Pam and I are in this season of life. I don't think either of us realized how much of our life revolved around our kids. Our social life, our decisions, our financial choices and sense of satisfaction were tied to our kids. As the home emptied, we had to choose to live differently. We deliberately chose to add new activities to our lives that we weren't doing when the kids were home. For us, this included walks at sunset, kayaking together, sleeping in one day per week and cooking together at least a couple of times per month. And, of course, we took the big step of moving onto a boat so we had to reorient our whole life as a couple with a whole new set of challenges and experiences. I don't recommend this big a change for everyone but I do think transitioning to the empty nest works best when you deliberately add new experiences to your life that just weren't possible with kids.

Bill: Swan: Yes, it is such a common experience for people to think they have forever so they "beat up" today rather than take advantage of it.

Swan: Little Magpie - Attention to detail and journaling. You have to make an effort to notice your actions and admit when you are becoming complacent, then take action to not fall back into old habit. One of the things that brought everything to head for my husband and I was we lived separate lives in the same house once our kids were moved out. He had his work and I had mine, it became so easy to get wrapped up in our careers that made us feel worthy, giving us instant gratification, but in doing so we put each other on the back burner without understanding what we were really doing and the crater that had developed between us.

Little Magpie: Bill - Most of our life has had him being non communicative and spending time doing his thing in one room while I am working on being social and trying to connect with our kids or friends. I work at trying to connect with him but it is really difficult

Bill: Little Magpie: I appreciate the difficulty as I have watched hundreds of couples over the years operate just as you have described. All I can tell you is I think it is worth the effort to talk with your H and see if there are some shared activities, trips, experiences, classes, etc. you two might want to try. I know you H loves you so he might just be game or he may even have a couple of ideas. Timing is probably important as everyone will be focused on your D's move. It could be as easy as going a day early to the races to do some sightseeing or visiting the farmers market or serving together at the rescue mission. Lots of possibilities and worth the conversation (IMHO).

Bill: Hello Tos. How are you tonight?

tos: Hanging in there. D is going away to college in a few weeks and the W always said she would file for divorce after that. Will see what happens. Trying to stay in the here and now and trust in God.

tos: Wow, just read back through the threads. Seems like a theme tonight!

Bill: Tos. Ouch. Hopefully she will have a change of heart and see the value of staying together and rediscovering the potential in your relationship. Does your D know this is your wife's thinking?

Bill: Tos: Yeah, kids growing up is impacting all of our lives.

tos: Unfortunately, my W has told my children that I am the problem that she is the victim, and she is justified scripturally in divorce. I refuse to say anything negative about my W during this time to the kids, because I lived that as a kid myself. I know God is my defender.

tos: My W has been spending time with my D like they are 2 teens together. My counselor thinks since my W didn't rebel as a teen, she is somehow living it out now.

Bill: Tos: For some reason I feel the need to remind you to be "the man you know you want to be" and do your best not to live in reaction to your W's words, actions or stated intentions. The human heart can change quickly so it is always possible for a breakthrough to happen. However, we are all prone to reacting to perceived trouble or choices and we help solidify the very outcome we don't want.

tos: The words "the heart changes quickly" you told me the first time I was here. Those words have brought me great comfort ever since, so thank you!

Swan: Little Magpie - Maybe jumping right into communication is overwhelming for him, especially if he is a person that is often more of a loner type person. Do you spend time together in silence? As I call it being comfortable in your own skin. My daughter in law is a talker, my son isn't and when they first got married she nagged him constantly about not communicating with her. She and I talked one night and I attempted to explain to her that them being together and doing things do not have to always involve talking, that if she can become at ease with them just sitting together watching television or reading or just cuddling and understand for my son that the lack of words do not signify the lack of affection. It took them some time, but she found that after some time of the quiet he would start talking and they would have some great conversations and she grew to understand how to communicate in the silence. There are just some people who are not verbal communicators; believe it or not, I am not a big verbal person (yes that is where my son gets it from). I enjoy talking with people, but can also be very comfortable in nothing being said at all.

tos: I have to admit, my struggle is trying to decide if I should keep showing her I am pursuing her or to give her space because it comes across as controlling/needy if I do.

Swan: Hi tos

Bill: Tos: Unfortunately, it is common for people in ML to live out the developmental transitions they didn't finish earlier in life. Your counselor is probably spot on about W's desire to recapture the teen years she thinks she missed out on. You probably know these phases come to an abrupt halt because they are unrealistic. We don't know when or how soon it ends but it eventually does.

tos: Hi Swan- how are you.

tos: Thanks, Bill. I keep reminding myself that not even death was final for God. In my prayers I get 2 impressions: Serve her and pray for big things.

tos: Little Magpie- I can speak as a guy who has trouble in this area, if you would like to hear. I don't want to intrude since you and I haven't interacted.

Swan: tos - I am good. Life is slapping me in the face recently, my grandson has his drivers permit and even though I see him daily and he is taller than me, sounds like a man with his new deeper voice, but there was something about seeing him behind the wheel of a car that slapped me hard to how old he really is and even more how old I am!

tos: Grandson driving--yikes. It's hard to see them grow, I know, but at the same time, it means we did our jobs, right?

Little Magpie: tos - go ahead, please

Bill: Tos: I think there is an in between place that keeps your integrity in tact without putting pressure on your wife. You can, with full conviction, say to your wife, "I am here. I love you and I will stay true to the vows I made. I also know how much pain kids feel when their parents don't make it. I also know this is your decision because we are both adults so I will never tell you what you need to do or try to force you to do anything. Just know that I am here." You can also sincerely apologize for any legitimate mistakes you have made in the past. You don't want to apologize for what you didn't do but a sincere apology based on truth tends to linger.

Little Magpie: Swan - that is a wonderful experience though too. I keep encouraging our YD to take her test and get her license. She is driving with us on a renewed permit

tos: So, I'm a very verbal guy, but when it comes to intimate conversation with my W, I over think it and end up saying nothing, because I know (believe?) it should be intimate or emotional. So, for me it’s about feeling safe to take a risk (but if you told me that I didn't need to be afraid, I would deny that I felt it).

tos: With other guys, I can relate about tasks, stuff we do, or even sit silently and watch a ball game or something. So, my guess without knowing him is that it is about risk taking and self esteem. If I feel like I fail my kids and wife, I am prone to get so wrapped up in my own shortcomings that I freeze.

Bill: Tos: Serve her and pray for big things. I think these are great goals. I would add, Ask God, "Tell me what to say and what to do. And, tell me what to not say and not do," so your service to her is strategic. The last thing you want is for your sincere service to be interpreted as control.

tos: Bill- thanks--and good point. Serving can be seen as manipulation, as I guess can everything. I will continue to ask him, what should I do now (not do now).

Bill: tos: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on communicating with your W. Your description is a great example of how us men get emotionally flooded and act "weird."

tos: Bill, I think part of what I see her struggle with is unforgiveness/bitterness and a great amount of fear. I've admitted I was wrong so often, worked to improve (and have, though I'm not perfect), but the pain she is experiencing is overwhelming I think.

Little Magpie: tos - H knows communication is a weak point and I try to encourage him. He says my reactions which may be some involuntary facial expression that I am not aware I am making can cause him to back off. Thanks for your input.

tos: Bill, At some point, though, and I say this with respect and compassion, we each need to be responsible for our side of the street. I cannot take responsibility for her actions and feelings. I can own my mistakes and how they impacted her.

Bill: tos: I am sure there is bitterness involved and a strong sense of disappointment in herself she doesn't want to admit to. These lead to irrational conclusions that become self-fulfilling. This is why you can do "all the right things" and still not see the changes you thought were sure to happen. I am glad you have taken your own inventory and made changes that made sense but you now see the situation is bigger than your mistakes and shortcomings. Families are collections of very imperfect people who need grace, acceptance and courage to figure out life together. They are strongly connected but can be fragile at the same time.

tos: Little Magpie, sounds like he feels so inadequate, again not knowing him. Sounds like you are trying to make him feel safe, but in the end, he still has to be willing to step out IMHO.

Swan: tos - over thinking things kind of falls into the boxes of the waffle area, in my opinion men are mentally trying to put everything that comes to mind into its proper box and sometimes it gets over processed. Meanwhile, we ladies in our multi-tasking spaghetti thought process just put it out there. My husband's process used to drive me crazy, it seemed like he was always in risk mode and I wanted more spontaneous. In the early years I took it personal and my feeling would get hurt and then I would react and he would go further into risk mode, it honestly become a vicious cycle and we were a good 10 years in before I had someone explain the male mind to me and a few more years before I was able to acknowledge the difference is a reality and not press my husband so much.

Little Magpie: Bill - H is racing and girls are working so I will be hanging with them (at the race). Our last "family trip" before college back to my hometown area. Problem with these situations is H gets wrapped up with people he knows there and leaves us to chat with them. I will try. What is IMHO??

tos: in my humble opinion (IMHO)

Bill: tos: Amen to taking your own responsibility and not taking on the responsibility of others. I could not agree more. We need to be faithful to who God has made us and pray for others.

Little Magpie: tos - Thanks

tos: Thanks, Bill. I appreciate this "safe place" I can come and be heard and support others. It makes a huge difference for me.

Bill: Little Magpie: Your description is why an extra day would be needed. Once the race community shows up, it becomes all about racing. A day before or after could be a time just for you two.

Bill: tos: Glad to hear. We all need to help one another keep perspective and remind each other that only Jesus was perfect!

tos: Swan, as a male, it was years before I realized women think differently and years more before I appreciated the difference. I think men today are wandering aimlessly in a lot of ways. Was just at church tonight praying about that very thing.

Bill: Good night all: I need to pack for tomorrow. We leave early for Nevada to plan the service and stand with our friends as they somehow adjust to life that has a new hole in it. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

tos: thanks

Swan: Night Bill

Little Magpie: Swan - Thanks for your Waffle-Spaghetti description. I get it. But my H is the spontaneous one and I have to have planned spontaneity. I figured out that I need an outline to be more comfortable

Little Magpie: All - Thank you for tonight, Have a blessed week

Swan: Little Magpie - I always said it was because of the military, but my husband and I are both waffles, although I do multi task pretty well, but also say there is a place for everything and everything must be in its own place.

Little Magpie: Swan - Thanks

 

tos: Bill, I think part of what I see her struggle with is unforgiveness/bitterness and a great amount of fear. I've admitted I was wrong so often, worked to improve (and have, though I'm not perfect), but the pain she is experiencing is overwhelming I think.

Bill: tos: I am sure there is bitterness involved and a strong sense of disappointment in herself she doesn't want to admit to. These lead to irrational conclusions that become self-fulfilling. This is why you can do "all the right things" and still not see the changes you thought were sure to happen. I am glad you have taken your own inventory and made changes that made sense but you now see the situation is bigger than your mistakes and shortcomings. Families are collections of very imperfect people who need grace, acceptance and courage to figure out life together. They are strongly connected but can be fragile at the same time.

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