Tuesday, August 26, 2008

how to build a rock solid marriage foundation (or at least pour some of the concrete)

mayhem, clutter, noise, laughter, squeals, pandemonium, chaos . . . a description of our family get-togethers. we call it blessed bedlam – and we love it. recently we spent our vacation with the entire family – on a houseboat – seventeen, yep, that’s 17 of us. you can read more about that at cameron's blog or morgan's blog. it was a trip we dreamed about for years, and we made memories to last a lifetime.

after ten days of communal living i went through withdrawals when everyone returned to their own homes. i admit it, i have a chronic case of motherhood. thankfully, the majority of the tribe lives within a 30 mile radius. our son, his wife, and our youngest grandchild however, live about 4 hours away. this last weekend i made the trek to get another grandbaby fix.

we had a great time together - morgan thought it would be fun to explore a petting zoo near their home. it was a huge hit with ethan! he rode his first pony, tried eating goat poop and rabbit food, patted the sheep (at least 50 times), and explored a play house in the goat yard.

LOVED the baby bunnies. had to pat every one he could get his hands on.

chubby baby hands – pat, pat, pat. toddle away for 5 seconds. toddle back.
pat, pat, pat.
squeal. jibber jabber baby talk at them.
pat, pat, pat.
i’m sure those animals have seen it all –
the sheep, especially, just sat there while he “petted” them.

we love having a growing family. we love the time we can spend with our children, or our grandchildren. however, as parents, we can get so involved in our children’s lives, it is easy to spend all of our energies on the kids, and have only the leftovers for our mates.

when we first got married, we decided that we would practice “dating” regularly. sounded like a good plan at the time. the true test came after baby no. 1. we made all the arrangements for our evening (which in itself was no small feat! – let’s face it – just arranging a babysitter can be a mountain to climb). as the time for our departure neared, sarah was being fussy and i felt like i should stay at home, you know, and “be a good Mom”. gunther’s response stuck with me, and actually became a guideline for our years with young children. his answer to my dilemma sounded something like “i know the baby needs you, but our relationship is the foundation of this home. our kids will do well, if you and i are doing well. if we don’t take time for each other, then someday, when our children are grown and gone, you and I will look at each other and won’t have anything in common. we started as just you and me, and when that day comes, it’ll be just you and me again.” i realized then, that our children would be the most secure in an environment where mommy and daddy’s relationship was strong and loving. so . . . we dated.

it wasn’t always easy to break away from the children on date nights. truth be told it could be flat out rough. sometimes one of us would argue that we couldn’t afford to date that week. to which the other would respond, “we can’t afford not to”. when we were broke – it forced us to find creative ways to get away together and have fun.

now that we’re the only ones at home, we still date. we still need romance, and fun, and new adventures together. it helps to keep the “us” alive.

think of it this way, every time you date, you’re strengthening your foundation.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

marriage for lifers

let's face it. marriage is hard. we will celebrate our 33rd anniversary this next january. i (vickey) tell gunther "you were the best decision i ever made". at the same time, marriage is the hardest thing i have ever done. the payoffs are amazing, but so is the work involved.

we see couples fall by the wayside all the time. young ones, old ones - newlyweds, oldlyweds. literally it scares the hell out of us. so we have made a decision. we will do all we can to be married for life - just as we promised on day one. but we also want to do all we can to help others stay married for life.

that's what this blog is all about. along the way, we've learned a few things. and we will share what we've learned. we'll also be honest about the places where we still fall short. the good, the bad, and the ugly of living a life together. not just existing under the same roof - but doing it well - and staying in love in the process.

we welcome your feedback, your questions, your stories. let's root each other on and make a good thing even better.

enjoying the journey - gunther and vickey