Little Magpie: Hi All! Bill - I have had A LOT of stress in my life and have fallen into bed as soon as I have returned home the past couple of weeks. Youngest just made cheerleader for next school year and financially it is ugly, she is also learning to drive and we are trying to get quotes for insurance. Thankful she is a good student. Last week found out H and my Myers- Briggs personalities and boy do we have some BIG differences. We did it at our couples counseling and the results just came back. I hate being overwhelmed by everything.
Bill: Little Magpie: It is common in my experience for H and W to have different temperaments. We tend to marry what we don't have in terms of motivation and processing but tend to marry people who experience a similar level of pain to our own.
happymommy1101: Bill, one last question, how do I know when God his pushing me toward the right direction? I know what I think I should do but how do I know it's really right?
Bill: happymommy1101: First, ask God to cause verses from the Bible to "jump out at you." The Bible is a living book (Hebrews 4:12) and the Holy Spirit uses it often to give us specific wisdom. Second, ask yourself two strategic questions. The first is, "Would I encourage my best friend to do what I am about to do?" The second, "Is the way I am thinking about responding to my H something I would normally come up with on my own?" - If it is different than you would normally come up, it is probably God leading you. If it is an idea you would normally expect yourself to come up with, it is probably just you. Does that help?
dumbfounded2: Bill - She needs to detach from his behavior and show him by example, it seems that men, once left alone, will eventually take the woman's lead. Many men get the idea at some point that a woman is trying to control them, when actually the man has not taken the steps needed to lead and realizes it later in life. What is so sad is most women do not feel a man should not show weakness, for men most feel they are inferior if they show weakness, we as wives want to share in all areas of our husband's life, but pride keeps a man from being vulnerable with the one person they should feel the most comfortable with.
Bill: dumbfounded2: I agree with your thoughts that many men do not take the lead, leaving a void in the marriage and family. Sometimes it is because they lack the confidence or training to do so. Sometimes it is because they feel criticized too quickly and use it as an excuse to not lead. Pride is definitely a big hindrance for men. What do you think women can do knowing this is all true? Identifying the causes is awesome but it doesn't necessarily point to what will be effective. Any advice?
Little Magpie: Swan and Bill - I am reactive. I always feel that I need to protect myself and justify why I do what I do and say what I say.
Bill: Little Magpie: At least you are aware of the fact that you are reactive. Because we are made in the image of God we can "create" solutions. You can choose ahead of time how you want to respond, practice your response when things are calm then pray for strength and wisdom to use your new response next time you want to react.
Little Magpie: Bill - I don't know what to do and the parallel lives are back in full swing and I don't know what to do about it. I feel I can accept it but I don't want to, how can things change?
Bill: Little Magpie: All I can say is grace is stronger than pressure. When we are determined to grow in our own lives, we become more attractive in all settings. When we accept others as they are, we become magnetic. When we compassionately pray for those we love without demanding change, it seems to unleash God's grace. These are all hard things to do because they feel passive compared to talking, arguing and planning. Ultimately, the change you want to see in your H and the change everyone here wants to see in the ones they love is a work of God. Our job is to put ourselves in a position to cooperate with Him.
tiGer: Bill- I know I have a problem with FB. I’m addicted to watching H's every move. I know I try to analyze everything. I look at what he likes, what OW likes and posts, what his mom does. I think I’m going crazy
Bill: tiGer: I appreciate your honesty about FB. This is such a common struggle. If you don't mind, I would like to use this as example of our need to pursue God's grace in the midst of our struggles. Are you okay with that?
tiGer: Bill- I keep thinking about what you said quite awhile ago. Everything can change in a blink of an eye.
Bill: Tiger: It is one of the key thoughts to keep in mind. The human heart operates different than every other part of our being. One of the characteristics is that the heart is quick. We are quick to get angry, quick to fall in love, quick to be resentful, quick to correct itself, etc.
Little Magpie: Bill - He has said more than once that I have "strong reactions" even though I may not be aware
Bill: Little Magpie (and all of us): We are talking about powerful forces here. The reactions you are describing were programmed into your soul when you were young by the most influential people in your life. They are deeply rooted, intensely emotional and useful in creating "safe distance" from others. As a result, they require focused, rugged decisions. Your example of THINK is a good example of how we can choose our responses rather than allow our reactions to run but we have to be intense with the application, practice the new response when things are calm and talk to ourselves like an aggressive voice coach or athletic coach to make it stick.
dumbfounded2: Bill - Completely H's idea and he had mentioned having our son come help him with a work project in an earlier call a month or so ago, but I didn't think anything would come of it being he is so forgetful. I am not sure why he comes to me. I am the only one that he reaches out to, maybe he was testing to see if I would be receptive to him seeing our son hasn't seen him since last August.
Bill: dumbfounded2: Thank you for the response. My first thought is to say you think this is a great idea and that H ought to call S15 and talk about it. It will most likely be a difficult conversation but I see no need for you to mediate the discussion or buffer it in any way. My second thought is that your S15 needs your support not your protection. As he interacts with his dad, he will form his own opinions of who he wants to be and what kind of relationship he wants with his dad. IF there is no interaction or if it is all "shielded" by you, it puts off your S15's need to make conclusions.
dumbfounded2: Bill - I think that Finding Nemo had zipped her lips. I haven't heard from my H in a while. I did want to ask you about my H's recent behavior. He seems to have withdrawn very deeply from all his family. My in laws have been reaching out to him over and over with no response for a few months. I have contacted him a couple of times and once he was angry when I asked for money, then he called later trying to smooth things and then I called to invite him to a program for our son, he talks with me a good bit, but seems very withdrawn
Bill: dumbfounded2: My read on your H's current withdrawal is he is reacting to something. He may have experienced a disappointment recently which caused regret or resentment and is avoiding everybody to avoid the pain. He may also have had a recent realization of the pain he is causing and is trying to avoid the reality of it by avoiding everyone who might bring it to the surface. It is also possible he is wrestling with himself considering another self-imposed sabotage which makes it hard to face anyone significant in his life. Just guesses on my part.
Dogwood: bill I am doing pretty well during the day. Still struggle with my feeling of disappointment, and sad when I drove home after work finding H absent for the evening. So, I tend to stay at work late, and turn on Christian programs or news on TV and make dinner for myself. I have to talk myself to live with it without too much bitterness against H. He comes home around 11:00 pm. He goes to the same group for ball games, or TV every night.
Bill: Dogwood: Can I ask you a pointed question? If you H was not in the picture, what would you do with your evenings? I hate to even ask it but it is a question we should all entertain at times. I ask this question once a year since I know life is fragile and I have no guarantee Pam will outlive me. I don't want to face it but it is good for me to face the possibility. Anyway, I ask this because I think there is wisdom in you doing some of what you would do if H faced a tragedy. What do you think?