provoking thought

I talked about the questionnaire YBW and I had to answer for A, the church rector, for our “marriage counseling” meetings in the months leading to our wedding in how very Robynbird.

The first set of questions were about each of us personally, and we weren’t allowed to discuss them (questions or answers) before we talked about them with A.
They were personal, but not intimate. General, not terribly specific. But thought provoking nonetheless. They were completely focused on the self.
1. What are your life’s goals? How will your marriage facilitate your attaining these goals?
2. What personal strengths do you bring to a relationship?
3. What areas do you, as an individual, need to strengthen for the enrichment of your relationship?
4. Do you perceive any personal losses in sharing your life with a spouse, and potentially, family?
5. What benefits do you hope to derive through your marital relationship?
6. If you are currently living with your potential spouse, will marriage change your relationship, if so, how?

The second set of questions were more focused on us as a couple.
1. What are your expectations of marriage?
2. How do you you perceive the role of a husband?
3. How do you perceive the role of a wife?
4. How do you (husband and wife) perceive your role with your children?
5. Out of your experiences together, what strengths have emerged?
6. Out of your experiences together, what weaknesses have emerged?
7. How do you perceive your relationship with the church?

The second set of questions was a bit trickier. As much of a ‘girl power, votes for women’ kind of girl I am, I’m also really traditional when it comes to gender roles in marriage.
The husband as provider.
But while the wife makes martinis wearing pearls when her husband comes home, she can change the oil in the car and replace light fixtures and still fold the laundry like a boss.
I believe husbands can be great cooks, amazing dads…sometimes infinitely better parents than their wives.

I want a husband who will take good care of me in a practical way so I don’t have to fret about finances. But not to the point I’m left clueless.
I want a husband who will treat me with kindness and respect.
I want a husband who knows I’m a badass and isn’t intimidated by that.
I want a husband who loves me because I’m flawed, not in “spite of it”.
I want a husband I can be real with. A man with whom I can say what I think and expect the same.
I want a husband who is my partner. Who will hold my hand when something is scary and when it’s pants peeing exciting.
I want a husband who will rely on me. My opinions as well as my compassion.

We’re in a trickier but overall simpler situation when it comes to kids. YBW told me once that he didn’t like being a stepfather and didn’t want to do it again. As it turns out he really hasn’t had to be.
I think the biggest challenge for me is being mindful that our kids were raised completely differently. That has to be taken into account before expectations are placed. It’s hard to parent other people’s kids. To know that you only have “so much” say. But if I am mindful and come from a place of love that’s what that really matters.

As many strengths as our relationship has I think it has a pretty significant weakness.
We’re pretty crap at communicating about important stuff. So much so that sometimes I choose not to initiate conversations because I don’t believe we’re get anything resolved.
I do have a tendency to over-talk and this frustrates him. I’ve been working really hard at reigning that in. I even made an outline the last time I wanted to talk to him about things that were bothering me so I would stay on track.
I don’t think we’re hopeless…I think we just need to keep at it. And keep at it. And keep at it.
I need to tone down my sarcasm.
He needs to realize everything isn’t a personal affront.

We’re lucky to have each other. We know that. We do enrich each other’s life. I come at him from a place of love and believe the same of him.

The questions for these premarital conversations with A are doing part of what they’re supposed to do. They’re provoking thought.
We must make time for follow up dialogue.

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Categories: wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “provoking thought

  1. You sound like me. Suncereky best wishes but hooe wirds from a complete stranger wont upset you. . .My last husband and I lasted 13 years. In our dating year, he told me he didn’t like his silent, “pouting” ex-wife. I told him thank goodness since I am a talk things out person. We each had 3 kids. He obviously had one favorite. I worried about these niggling doubts.
    It started out pretty well but as time passed I realized HE was the passive aggressive person who “pouted.” Wow, we met in church and 6 kids who were witnesses to some silly fights.
    In the evrning, I quietly tried to talk things out. My begging him to talk. It made ME look like an idiot. Try to figure out how to compromise. Please fugure out a plan for communication.
    It is such a tough “egg to crack.” Been married 3 times but only took things as long as I could. My parents set the bar high! They liked to discuss and we had open communication in our household. (Married 46 years when Dad died.) He cracked me up and said, about my exes, “Men are jerks.” 🙂

    • The above message looked okay but apparently my cell phone is one I am clearly not able to handle.
      the second sentence:
      “Sincerely best wishes but hope words from a complete stranger won’t upset you.”
      Smiles, Robin

  2. Thank you, Robin, for sharing with me. No, your words didn’t upset me.
    I was married to a passive aggressive man…it’s almost as though finally being away from him has let me see it clearly for the first time. I can’t believe I lived that way for so long. He doesn’t even know he does it. That’s the part that blows my mind. He’s behaves that way and is completely oblivious.

    Communication is key. We’re sorting it. I think YBW has spent a great deal of time being criticized and hears things from that point of view even when they may not be. I have a hard time with that. I do tend to over talk and talk in great abstract concepts. He’s a concrete thought sort of guy. We’re SO much better than we were six years ago. Everything takes time.
    I think what keeps me hopeful is that we both want to communicate well. We keep trying to figure out the best way to make that happen.

    We’re meeting with A (the rector) tomorrow, it’ll be curious to see where we stand on this second set of questions.

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