Monday, November 9, 2009

Family comes first

Rex and I have realized since we got married two and a half years ago, family should always come first (after God, of course). Before we got married, it was okay for us to put ourselves first, as long as our actions were not detrimental to those around us. But all of that changed as soon as we said "I do." We could no longer think about ourselves. We had to consider each other's thoughts and feelings in anything we did. We had to discuss things before a final decision was made. We no longer had the luxury to be selfish. Of course, we weren't very good at making sure we always put the other one first.

When a person gets married in their late twenties or early thirties, they are so used to not having to take another person's opinion into consideration when making a decision. They are so used to doing things for themselves whenever they wished. I know this from experience, because this was one of the problems Rex and I encountered once we got married. Neither one of us was used to having to discuss things with one another, before a mutual decision was made. We also weren't used to sharing space with another human being. I mean, we both lived with our perspective parents until we got married, but that was totally different. We may have lived in the same house as our parents, but we still had our "private space". Having to share a bed, let alone a room with another person, took some getting used to.

We had to remind ourselves to be considerate of one another's feelings and personal space. We could no longer take it upon ourselves to move or use something that belonged to the other, without asking first. We actually had to stop and think about how our actions would affect one another. We had to think, before we said whatever was on our mind, just to be sure that it wasn't hurtful to the other. I had to learn to give him the space he needed (which I'm still not always good at), and he had to learn to just listen to how I felt, rather than trying to "solve my problems" (which he is much better at now!) Even now, two and a half years later, we are still learning. We have gotten better about putting one another needs before our own, but now we have a baby to consider!

Our daughter's needs have to come before ours, but not at the expense of our marriage. In taking care of our daughter, we need to not neglect one another, or take advantage of one another. It needs to be a team effort, that helps us to grow closer together as husband and wife. We need to remind ourselves that as we raise and nurture our daughter, we need to nurture our relationship with each other, as well. If we neglect our marriage, our family structure will begin to crumble, and that isn't helpful to our welfare, or the welfare of our daughter. So as our daughter gets older, we need to set aside some time together, as a couple. We need to "take a break"from being parents, and remind ourselves of why we fell in love and got married.

Outside of our little family nucleus, we have to remember to stay involved in the lives of our extended family as well. We need to include them in the goings-on in our lives, as well as make sure we're up date on their experiences as well. (We are getting better at it, but it's still a "work in progress".) It is important to have close ties with our family, because we never know when we might need them, or even possibly lose them. We need to reach out to our "external" family members, spend time with them, and keep in touch with them as often as possible. Who knows? We may be the ones that are needed someday. The closer knit a family is, the better it relates and prospers. We were not put on this earth to be singular creatures. We were created to "go forth and multiply", so to speak.

All throughout history and the Bible, families lived together, and worked together, until the children were of marrying age. Then the wife went with her husband's family, and though they often had their own homes, they lived close to the family, and continued to interact and spend time with their family members. Nobody was ever expected to do anything alone. Farms were tended by families, businesses were run by families, and the entire family helped to raise the younger children. Then, when the young couple's parents became ill, or too fragile to care for themselves, the children would take them in, and care for them. In those days, it truly was a family "unit". Everyone looked out for the welfare of everyone else.

In today's society, we are not encouraged to do so. It's all about putting yourself first, and fighting your way to the top. Often, families are left behind, because of selfish desires. We are trained to do everything necessary to better ourselves, sometimes at the expense of others. Families and marriages are destroyed, because too often, people give into these selfish urges, without thinking of how it will affect others. People are taught to put their careers first, because if they don't, someone else will get the promotion. We as individuals need to STOP DOING THIS!!! We were not alone when we were brought into this world, and we are not meant to go through life alone.

Whether or not a person decides to get married and have a family, they are still not meant to be alone. We have families for a reason: to raise us, teach us, and nurture us. We are also expected to become caretakers when our elders become too fragile to care for themselves. Always remember to put your family first. Because without them, you would be nothing, and you would have nothing. God created us to be dependent on him AND one another. Eve was created as a Helpmate to Adam, because God did not want Adam to go through life alone. Why should we be any different?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Beginnings

Well, this past month has brought about a lot of brand new beginnings (and/or firsts):

Our 18-20 something group at Centerpoint had expanded to a 20-30 something group. (We still welcome those in the 18-20 age range, but we discovered that we were reaching more people above the age of 29, so we've grown to accommodate them!) We're looking forward to the new things that God has prepared for us as a group! Our goal is still to reach those who need a small group, to help cement their faith in God, and offer support for their struggles along their path. So for anyone who is still in search of a small group that might offer just what you're looking for, come check us out!

Rex's cousin has enlisted in the Air Force, and that has helped to prompt us into strengthening our relationship with his family, because we realize that family is more important than anything else on Earth. We went to a potluck at Rex's uncle's house (his cousin's grandfather), and it felt good to connect with his family. I know it is difficult for him, considering his first cousins are considerably older than him. But, the more time we spend with his family, the more he will continue to discover that he has in common with them.

Our daughter has grown her first two teeth (and is working on her next two), and tonight, for the very first time......stood up by herself for almost 30 seconds! I know that may not seem like much to those of you who aren't parents, but for those of you who are, you understand how big of an acheivement this is! She has tried previously, on several occasions, but usually after a couple of seconds, has fallen right back down on hre bottom! But, being the determined little girl that she is, she refused to give up! And her perserverance has prevailed! We're pretty sure she'll be walking (possibly running) by Christmas!

Both Rex and I have reconnected with old friends, and are rebuilding those relationships as adults. We are finding that we have more in common with these people now, then we ever did as children or adolescents. We have all matured, and that has made us more aware of how our actions affect those around us. We are able to relate to each other better, and have learned to listen to one another. We no longer let our selfish desires get in the way of our friendships. We realize that it is no longer "all about us", but that it is about those who we surround ourselves with. We no longer put ourselves first in those friendships, and because of this, our relationships are stonger than ever.

Several of our friends have had new living quarters and/or arrangements, and it seems to be working out for everyone! (Of course, not without several roadblocks along the way, but they have all prevailed!) We are very happy for all of them, and hopefully our living arrangements improve soon! We really need more room for a growing baby, and two rambuncious cats! Our apartment is no longer big enough for our family!

As time goes on, I know that there will be many more new beginnings, and many more firsts. I look forward to whatever God sees fit to endow upon us!