Major milestone in the DeLoach home – we have officially been married over a week and we have made it with relatively few tears from anyone. While that may (and, well, will most likely) change today when I limit snack intake after school (look for that blog coming soon!), we are grasping this victory. Our focus with all four kids is simple:
Our first official (as a married family) family meeting is going to be this weekend. The kids know the routine although the boys resist it like the plague. We sit down and we essentially “air our grievances.” If there is anything that is not going right or that someone thinks needs to be done differently, then the family meeting is the time to discuss it. It’s important to both of us that there be no fear in expressing your thoughts. We don’t want the kids to keep quiet about something because they fear our reaction.
The girls approach this airing of grievances a little differently than the boys… “Uh, I really don’t like it when you sing in the car. I’m not saying you sing bad, I just like to hear the real song.” Not really what our goal is in having a family meeting, but it makes us proud that the girls can discuss things in a non-threatening way.
Joe and I also strive for complete and honest open communication. Last night at the grocery store we had a disagreement over the cost of waffles… I protested that the waffles were regular price UNLESS you bought the whole Meal Saver Deal and Joe said that they were 2 for $4.00 despite the deal. Right there in the frozen food section we almost got in our first fight – over Eggo’s waffles. He told me I was wrong……………………
Ok, if you know me AT ALL, you know that it does not go over well when you tell me I am wrong. Many of you have at one time (or 20) in your life seen me immediately glaze over and then completely shut down…. well, that’s pretty much what went down in aisle 10 at the Harris Teeter last night. I walked around the rest of the grocery trip in a zombie-like haze.
As we were driving home (after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to kiss me), Joe said, “You said you wanted me to always tell you what I thought. You said you never wanted me to go along with something just to keep the peace. So I didn’t.”
Wow… my own words back to haunt me. We have always talked about things that did not work in our first marriages that we never want to do again… and one of those things is the fear of expressing an opinion because your throat might get ripped out. Once that realization hit me, I was instantly overwhelmed with love for him. I most certainly do NOT want him to go along just to keep the peace. That is not US at ALL. Our relationship has a firm foundation in honesty, no matter how brutal. Our children have even seen that honesty in action and hopefully are learning from it every day. No fear in our home. Only love and forgiveness and understanding.
So our plan is to keep that same honest communication that we find so important in our relationship as a priority with our kids. The excuse that they are afraid to disappoint us is just not an acceptable reason to lie. Lying for any reason will not be accepted (even though one of our friends informed us that all teenagers are LIARS… and there is nothing we can do about it except expect lies when they open their mouths). Honesty first. It saves a lot of anxiety and disappointment in the future.
And the next time Joe is honest with me when I don’t want him to be – about a new hair cut or a new outfit – then I will have to remember that honest communication is what has gotten us through the first eight days and it is what will get us through the next 40+ years.