Here’s another preview of my book about marriage entitled, Why didn’t you tell me that? What no one told me about marriage.
Chapter 1 – Section 2 – You can always blame your parents
You can always blame your parents. There are a lot of pillows with pretty sayings sewn into them but I’ve never seen that saying on one. If you do sew and have some free time please send me one because that saying is true. Who we are and how we act as married people is greatly influenced by our parent’s behavior. My dad’s name is Jerry and he’s talkative, friendly to strangers, helpful to friends and generous with his time and money. I’m most of those things (except my name’s not Jerry). He’s also got a potty mouth, gets personally offended when a bad driver crosses his path, saves his anger for those closest to him and would rather watch football than talk about his feelings. I’m most of those things too.
If your parents got divorced then you’re four times more likely to get divorced yourself. Can you really blame your parents for your own divorce? Divorced parents share the blame because they paved the way for you. Where did you learn about marriage? Where did you learn about divorce? I learned the vocabulary of cussing and the use of those words from my father. Television and friends reinforced my knowledge but the real life use of those words came from hearing my dad use them. (For the record, I love my dad and he’s an *&%*$# awesome guy.) Kids know the difference between fantasy and reality and when their parents get divorced divorce becomes their reality. Divorce becomes an option. Divorce is an easy one to see but there are more subtle behaviors we carry into our marriage.
When my parents fought about mundane things, letting the arguments escalate to shouting matches, I learned how to do the same. They taught me to slam doors, speak to my children about my spouse when she wasn’t present and get impatient over very simple situations. They were and are great people and while they were better parents than most parents they still taught me a lot of things I didn’t need to know. When you get married and you screw things up don’t call your parents and yell at them. It’s your job to have a healthy marriage now. Part of establishing a healthy marriage is to weed the garden of your life, removing the things that will choke a healthy marriage. Your parents may have planted the weeds. You need to identify them and then kill them at their root. Killing them at the root is the hard part. You must dig deeper than you want to and may need a tool to get deep enough to remove the full behavior. Use a counselor or a trusted mentor couple (more on those folks in a few chapters) and identify what’s killing your growth before you settle for a dwarfed marriage.