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May 30, 2018 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

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.

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May 30, 2018 / Wednesday Chat with Bill

Swan: Hi Bill, from some of the posts, it seems you and Pam had a great trip to Israel.

Bill: Hi Swan, Israel was outstanding. The sights were amazing and the experiences were more than we expected.

Bill: Swan: We spent an evening of worship with believers at the south end of the Sea of Galilee. The depth of their devotion and common courage living in the shadow of enemies was inspiring beyond my expectations.

Bill: We also had the opportunity to hear from officials in the Israeli Defense Force and the National Police regarding security in the land. It was a remarkable recount of God's faithfulness to the people of Israel.

Swan: The Marine Corps does training exchanges with Israeli members and when I worked on the base years back it was always amazing to meet troops from over there. They just have a different devotion. They were also just like anyone else visiting Southern California wanting to see attractions and would get so excited about going to places like Disneyland. But just like Marines, they can switch that excitement in a moment when duty calls.

Bill: It was interesting to hear them say, "We have no other option but to win."

Swan: I think going to Israel is probably one most everyone's bucket list, when I would tell the group were you where, so many would say that is one place they want to go. I have gotten to where I don't really like to travel much anymore (guess it comes from all those years of being on the go with the Marine Corps and my job in travel), but it would be cool to walk the paths that Christ walked. It must feel amazing.

Swan: Hi Little Magpie

Swan: Bill - Sadly that is so very true, they really don't have another option.

Little Magpie: All - Hello. Checking in since it has been awhile. How have you been?

Swan: Little Magpie - Haven't seen you in a while, how are things in your life? Hope all is going well with the family.

Bill: Israel is like no other place I have been. The travel part is not glamorous but there is no missing God's hand of favor. Seeing the land helped make the Bible 3D for me. For instance, we went to Caesarea Philippi on this trip, which is in Northern Galilee. It is a border town with Syria. In the days of Jesus, it was populated with false Gods and their worshipers. The cliffs had cutouts with statues of the idols on display. It was in this area that Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" and then transfigured Himself as if to say, "I am the one true God and I am displaying it in the shadow of these so-called Gods."

Swan: Little Magpie - I have been doing pretty good

Bill: Hi Little Magpie

Little Magpie: Swan and Bill - I need to find a way out of the squirrel cage. Keep repeating bad patterns and causing hurt to myself and family. Very poor coping mechanisms. H and I are still spending evenings in separate rooms and don't really talk. We keep falling back into Old habits and patterns- avoiding things instead of meeting things head on.

Bill: Little Magpie: What do you mean by squirrel cage? Are these the same type of things from the past or is there a new approach that has you running in circles?

Swan: Little Magpie - Wish I had an answer for you, so many in the Bible repeated bad patterns and some even had children that repeated the same patterns. Sometimes I will be well into a painful pattern and suddenly I will hear myself saying "why do I do what I don't want to do". We know what is better for us, but sometimes it is simply having the pattern get the better of us and by the time we realize it we are neck deep in the quicksand. I guess self awareness might be key, but I still haven't gotten all that aware yet in some cases.

Swan: Little Magpie - Was it only you that was going to counseling or were you both going to couples counseling? Is that not happening now? Did any positive action come from what was done?

Little Magpie: All - h retreats to bedroom to read, watch videos or Facebook and I unwind in front of the tube. We don't like the others TV choices. I thought it would be better when we were alone but it hasn't.

Swan: Little Magpie - Unfortunately avoidance is kind of human nature for most, we tend to take the road of least resistance, conflict is not something many people are good at dealing with.

Bill: Little Magpie: Curiosity question, have you asked your H if you can set up an evening per week to talk? So many times, couples fall into ruts and think there is no way out. Often, the first step out of the rut is a simple step. You have clearly identified a couple of the habits you don't like so I am wondering if asking for a "meeting" (probably away from home) to reconnect as friends.

Bill: Little Magpie: I agree that most people prefer avoidance to conflict but there is a third option, which includes casual connection. It can be accomplished by taking walks together, meeting up for dinner, seeing a movie, going to a concert in the park, "Skype" your kids together, etc.

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

Swan: Little Magpie - Have you talked to the counselor about why you might be falling back into these habits, they may not have an exact answer but should be able to give guidance for things to help break out of them. When I first moved in with my son's family I was not aware that they were on the road to a divorce and part of why my son wanted me to move here was to help him with my grandson. To this day I do not know the details of what made my son think he was going to get the house and my grandson, but he was pretty confident that was how it would be and my daughter in law has never really said he was wrong. My son talked with me a couple times about how he was feeling and I simply asked him if he loved his wife and did he really want the pain of a divorce? One thing he said was that he couldn't continue with things as they were, so I snapped back at him "then change them" there is no couple were it is all one persons fault and we cannot change the other person only ourselves and one change can be to listen better and take action. I remember telling him they needed to have time together as a couple and as a family, their lives were too busy and that causes feelings of singleness. I know this because that was one of the things that happened to my husband and I, our children were grown and rather than face the empty house and bond together, we both focused more and more time on our jobs, we lived in the same house, slept in the same bed, but were actually strangers in many ways.

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: Little Magpie - One of the things they have established is Friday is family night, that might mean a movie, game night, etc. but it will be the entire family doing it and we rarely go anywhere to do it, here at home is fine. Once a week they have a couple’s night, for that they will go out, but it has been simple things like taking a walk, going to the gym here in town, taking in a movie or whatever they feel like. They don't spend a lot of money (my son is a thrifty person), but they spend time together and it has made a difference for them, things have gotten much better for them and they are more like they were earlier in their marriage.

Little Magpie: Bill - we have Skyped together sort of. We tried using the same device but then we ended up being on individually in different rooms (because of the feedback). I wish he would go to movies. I have missed some pretty awesome ones including the Mercy Me one (I can only imagine) because he doesn't do movies.

Bill: Little Magpie: I wouldn't

Swan: Little Magpie - Do you spend time with friends as well, sometimes having someone else to do things like go to a movie with can remove stress from a spouse. We need time together, but then time apart as well that involves fun, not all work type stuff.

Bill: Little Magpie: I wouldn't discount the Skype conversations even though they were from different rooms. It is not ideal but it does create a shared memory with your Ds. I am sorry he doesn't like movies but there are probably other simple activities you could do together that would help reestablish your friendship with one another. The empty nest transition is real and common. Most couples will go through this and often have to experiment for a while before they find their "new" things. This often surprises me. Two couples we know took up fishing, even though he seldom fished before and she never fished. Amazingly, they discovered they like it. Another couple took up photography, beginning with a class at the local Junior College and surprised themselves when they both took a liking to it. The key seems to be to experiment and see if anything takes rather than focusing on what isn't working. Praying you two find a surprise!

Bill: All: Sorry I need to sign off. I am leading a men's Bible study tonight. See you next week.

Swan: Night Bill

Little Magpie: Swan - If I had friends to do things with that would be wonderful. I/we are pretty isolated. He has a few friends that do music and we have gone sometimes but they play in bars and start late. Bill - Thank you!

Little Magpie: Bill - what is your bible study on?

Swan: Little Magpie - does your church offer Bible study groups, if so maybe join in one of the ladies groups and open yourself up to being friends with some of them. Or maybe find a class that interests you at the local community center or college, art classes, writing courses, craft stuff, etc. you might meet other women there or at least will be doing something interesting that might even give you and your husband a new topic for conversations.

Swan: I am going to head out as well; please join us again next week.

Little Magpie: Swan - Thank you. For some reason I find it difficult to open up with people. I am skilled at keeping people at a distance and acquaintance.

Little Magpie: Swan - Have a Wonderful evening and night

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.

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