The below was sent today to my kids and their partners. I included the wife, but dang now I got to try to walk the talk. I hope blog readers will find some food for thought in their relationships and reach out for help to others if needed.
Kids: I posted this on my blog today, but I said what the heck – send to the six kids you love the most. I get making a difference is more about living it than talking it. I suck at that sometimes but I am going to die trying. I will be brief what is on my heart (Get it. Valentine’s Day!)
I want to share what I have come to understand the main reason couples grow apart. I already sent to you several months ago a longer version of ways to make marriage work.
I am convinced there is one key understanding backed by action that enables a couple to remain good friends.
After all, don’t most couples get married because they have grown to be best friends. This understanding has been vital in my relationship with Mom/Janet these past thirty-five years. I saw it essential when I worked with couples in private practice. Couples I know today don’t have the relationship they could because of it.
Differences don’t have to divide! Learn to be “happily incompatible.”
It is not normal for two people that have a 24/7 relationship to not have differences. The reason that you don’t have as intense conflicts with others friends is because you don’t live with them. Share finances, closets, bathrooms, children, etc., and challenges will come to your doorstep.
Don’t make the same mistakes I did with my Valentine in the beginning of our marriage. Thankfully, all six of you seem to have a more mature attitude about relationships than I did when young. I am not sure why but I assumed love meant Janet and I would always agree. Doesn’t work that way if human. And the longer the relationship last, the more differences there will be especially if you live with someone as opinionated as I am.
Accept and even embrace your differences. You may be better off with two brains than one. It is easy to know how to handle differences but hard to do.
When differences arise, communicate to your partner the way you wish to be spoken to.
Listen more than you talk, don’t raise your voice, etc. If things get heated agree to try again later. Letting anger fly usually doesn’t work. Be creative in your “differences” solving like you are in your other relationships. Just thank God you don’t have to live with them!
Love you six more than you can imagine!
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