As a family, we’re very big on establishing a very short, simple list of core family values.
If it came down to one and only most important, above all else, value and moto that dominates every day for us, it’s this: FAMILY FIRST.
Always, always, always. Family comes first. Nothing else. Ever.
We really love this one because it’s 100% straight forward. If you’re trying to make a decision about something, it comes down to is it what’s best for our family? It only works if you’re genuinely able to be honest with yourself about the answer to that question. But, if you can consistently do that, it makes life so, so easy.
I think there’s a lot of confusion, though, with that sort of blanket statement. Broken down, those words can easily be mistaken for meaning that the ‘kids come first’…and, then the parent’s relationship.
Many years ago (OMG, that makes me sound soooo old the way I said that), I was very close with a couple in Connecticut whose marriage was struggling. They had 2 young kids and had, like many young parents, lost love for each other and justified it by saying that it was more important to take care of the kids than to take care of their own relationship.
They had problems with each other and it was easier, and it felt like the right thing to do, to deal with dishing out meals to kids and get them to eat during dinner than to talk to each other about how their days went. It was easier to spend nights racing to kids sporting events and catching up on email than to prioritize finding time and babysitters for date nights and taking walks alone to have uninterrupted conversations. And, it was easier to think that it was “normal” to not want to be intimate with each other because you put so much time and energy into the kids all day than to accept that that’s actually a pretty important piece of a loving relationship.
And, the hardest thing to accept when something’s going wrong in your relationship is this: it’s not just your partner’s fault that things aren’t working out. You actually play a role in why things are falling apart, too.
In all honesty, I have no idea where all of this is coming from…but, this is one of those posts that comes like a straight shot from my heart to anyone’s who wants to listen.
Because I’ve been there.
And, I’ve felt all of those things.
And, I’ve seen so many very dear friends of mine share very similar experiences.
And, I know that almost everyone is out there thinking they’re doing the “right” thing and thinking that it’s the other person who needs to get better at things and that this is just what parenting with someone is like.
And, having said all of that, I also do believe that the universe has a way of making everything work out the way it is intended to. It’s not that I think we’re all just chess pieces being moved around regardless of our own efforts. But, I do think that when we make decisions for the right reasons and we genuinely do our best to make the world right, we will find the path we belong on if we are also able to have faith in one of the very most important personality traits out there: patience.
Patience with the process.