This week's Marriage Monday topic is Families of Origin. Christine has posed these questions.
- Was it difficult for either you or your husband to separate from your family? Was it difficult for your family to separate from you?
- How was your first year of marriage as a new "family"?
- What kind of influence do your families of origin have on your marriage now?
- How do you protect the integrity of your family unit from outside influences?
Jerome and I are both fortunate to come from families where our parents are still married. That being said - our families are so very different. He was raised in a religious household where I was not. His family had quiet meals, where mine were loud and boisterous - even during pleasant conversations.
I have definitely seen the differences in the family dynamics that we came from in our relationship. Any communication barriers we have come up against stems from our upbringings. My family fought - we were loud, we'd yell, we'd talk, we'd disagree, we'd have discussions. We were "allowed" to fight - it was not the end of the world. We'd make up, talk about it if need be and move on. J was brought up to avoid conflict. Conflict was not dealt with - it was ignored or swept under the rug. So needless to say, this has caused friction with us. But both of us have learned to adapt. I have learned to let certain things go. J has learned that you can disagree and even argue without it being the end of the world.
Both my parents and J's parents live near each other. We are about an hour from both sides. This means we can see both sides on holidays, but it can also mean more crazy splitting of time on holidays. We have a good relationship with my parents and J's. We are closer to my side, but I believe that stems from the type of relationships we have with my parents and his. As well as priorities within our respective families.
I would not say that either of us had difficulty separating from our families. I was already living on my own and although J was still living with his parents, he adjusted find to leaving the nest.
Our first year of marriage was pretty hectic. We immediately started looking to buy a house, so we had all that went along with that and we started trying to conceive. But although it was somewhat hectic, it was exciting and good. We were able to settle into our new home and enjoy each other.
I would say that our families influece our relationship more in the type of people that our upbringings have made us. Family is important to us, so we make a point to include our families in our lives and the lives of our children, as well as family activities and outings. My family tends to take us up on joining in on these things more than his do. But we also work to maintain our own family time. There are times that we wiill keep things just the 4 of us.
It can be tough to maintain a balance. Holidays can be the hardest. We want to make our own family traditions and make sure we get time with our girls, but also keep up with the notion that holidays are about being with family outside your little nucleus. We have had friction with siblings on J's side. And due to this friction and due to the importance J and I place on our family unit, we have had to make some tough choices in relation to them. These choices, as hard as they may be, were about protecting our children.
J and I both agree that our family comes first. We fully believe in the importance of family - the whole family, but when it comes down to it - our relationship and our children come first. We both have taken the good and bad from each of our upbringings and have used it to come up with the values we want our daughters raised with. We emphasize what is most important to us. We want our daughters to grow up knowing that our family was put first, but also knowing that their Grandparents, Aunt and Uncles and their Cousins are a big part of their life. I hope that they will be able to take the values that J and I instill in them and apply them to their own familes someday so that their family life works best for them and their spouse and children.