Saturday, January 17, 2015

In which I post about nothing related to adoption...Part One.

I've been on a bit of a personal journey these last several months...but it's weird because I don't know that I really noticed the lessons being taught until after I was really THROUGH them.  I am by nature and personality a very very stubborn person and while this can be a positive attribute in fighting for the rights of those who can't fight for themselves it definitely has it's drawbacks.  Specifically in the land of marriage.  Tyler and I have been married for almost 13 years and I would say the last three have been the toughest years yet.  We've relocated, started a family, changed jobs, endured money stress, expectations haven't been met, communication hasn't been ideal, our time with each other has NOT been valued or placed above others and it has just recently been very clear to me why people get divorced.  It's just so hard sometimes, to love thru moments where they don't resemble the person who stole your heart years ago (and I'm referring more to myself with that last one than Tyler).  Our arguments were always the same and almost always started from something completely ridiculous (one time the simple act of an incorrectly flavored cinnamon roll, ahem...I digress). In October and November our church, Mission Point, did a series called "For Better-A Marriage Beyond Ok"  that was the first of many subtle hints for me and I started to realize that I treated my friends better than I treated Tyler.  In the beginning of December I came across a blog post from a woman named Amy Groeschel about respect and it completely rocked my world.  You see Tyler had always talked to me about how important respect is for a man, for a husband and father and I thought I understood it but to be completely honest I never valued it.  I listened but I didn't implement.  He stood there in front of me on many occasions telling me exactly what he needed and all I could see were that my own needs weren't being met so why meet his then?  This admission of an extremely ugly part of me is not something I'm proud of, but I feel the Holy Spirit moving in my need for transparency at this point because I know I'm not alone in this.  I'm not some stubborn, opinionated lone ranger.  I am one of many whose complacent, reactionary attitude to something lacking in her marriage caused her to become a lesser version of herself.  I believe this happens a lot with people whose spouses are a little more passive.
SO...where did it start?  With me.  These bad habits that I had formed over the last several years became a very real part of my every day interactions that without focused daily prayer on a genuine change of heart I knew I couldn't be successful.  My prayer every morning on my way to work was that I would be put into situations with Tyler where it was very obvious how he needed me to respond and then to actually respond that way.  Almost like an extra dose of clarity and foresight and I'm telling you it worked.  When I first started doing this I didn't tell Tyler because I wanted what I was doing and changing to be something he noticed on his own not because I told him I was trying (stubborn for the win).  Here's a little side note for those women who are spicy and very independent (not that I'm speaking from experience), it's important to me that you know I didn't become a doormat.  I still maintained my core beliefs in areas that were inherently important to me and I still spoke up and shared opinions when I felt it was necessary instead of 100% of the time.  I'll give you an example, we were going to bed on New Years day and he shared with me his goals of 2015...and there are a few on the list that are very lofty (in my opinion with the year we have coming up).  Old Kari would have pointed out the many reasons why I think HE should rethink HIS goals for HIMSELF maybe even go as far as letting him know all the times he has started things like this and never finished.  To say I was a real peach would be an understatement.  Instead this time (not being a doormat because they're his plans not mine), I simply listened completely silent and resigned in my heart that I would pray for success in these goals for this coming year.  The End.  Was that hard for me to do?  Ummm yes.  Did he say thank you to me for not saying anything?  No.  Should he have?  NO!  I don't expect to be thanked for not being a brat.  As the month of December went on and I employed these changes within myself and asked nothing of Tyler I began to notice an ease return to our relationship.  A mutual give and take had made it's way back.  I asked for his opinion more, including him in more decision making that initially I didn't think he wanted to be a part of.  We said thank you to each other more, worked better as a team to tackle the day to day of both working full time and having a family and enjoyed each others company again.  Shortly after the new year and right before we headed back to work after an insanely amazing break I let the cat out of the bag.  I told him I wanted to be better for him and for us and lest you think he didn't accept responsibility for a great many things he did in fact apologize and was excited to move forward as well.
You guys, the real truth is if you want to see change you must be the change and I realize that I'm married to one of the kindest most genuine people on planet earth but everyone is capable of affecting their own change and once that started in me all of the pieces of kindness and respect fell gently back together.  Don't sit and wait for the other to figure their crap out because chances are they're waiting for you to figure yours out too.  Marriage is never made up of flawless people, let it start with you and it's a little surreal the ease with which that mutual respect returns.

In Amy's blog post she says..
Because to get what you once had — you have to do what you once did.
Marriage is not so much about finding the right person — as it is becoming the right person.
If you think something good — say it!
If you think something special — do it!
If you want something different — be it!

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