Friday, February 26, 2010

Confusion in the A-M

I wake up most mornings completely confused.
A series of questions will go through my head:
- What day is it?
- Am I supposed to be somewhere?
- Do I HAVE to go to work?
- even a Where am I?

Surely I jest? Absolutely not.

Today is no different.

I clearly do have too much on my mind and I can't seem to clear it out.
Right now - work wise - I am completely overwhelmed.

I have a handle on it, but it's there. Or rather, it's here.

Struggle is a good word to use. I struggle most days to keep my sanity. Perhaps that is a bit dramatic, but I cannot think of another way to explain it.

Apparently, when you marry an arab, there are very high expectations for the women.
1. You must keep a perfectly clean house.
(Okay, I am not filthy by any stretch of the imagination, but apparently if I leave a shoe in the middle of the floor - I might as well have emptied the trash can right on the kitchen counter.)

2. You must have a great job - but remember you priority is your husband.
(Okay.. I have nine media markets to supervise from Northeast TN to Pensacola, Florida.)

However - I have an added ugly bonus - technically the "man" is supposed to control the cash flow and make the household decisions. In our case, I am the bread winner - soooo... it gets tricky.

It all makes me extremely tired. Cultural differences can be an absolute pain in the a$$. There is no other way to put it. It's cute at first - now it is down right annoying.

I think that is where the confusion is coming in. I wake up - and ask myself - "Did I get my superwoman cape dry cleaned??"

I have never wanted a vacation more in my entire life. THANK GOD I do not have children. Plus - who knew that my egyptian did me a HUGE favor when he asked me to get rid of the cat.

Because apparently HE is the one who needs the attention and the care.
I look at friends who have multiple children, they juggle the job, the family, the "house hold "duties, etc. I am sure it ages them.
But what is easier? Living alone and wishing you had someone to share your life with and having to totally depend on yourself? Or finding that person who does make you smile and having someone to lean on when necessary? I choose the latter. With all of it's ups and downs.

The joy of a first year of marriage usually involves finding your routine. The joining of two lives is never easy. Imagine joining two people who clearly have a different vision of what marriage looks like. Then mix a difference in faith into the equation - and you would also wake up confused most days.

I found a great resource for anyone going through a similar situation (or if you are planning on getting married.) The resource sites 5 simple tips which I am sharing now:

1. Talk about your Expectations.

Not of each other, but of the marriage you have just entered together. Aside from the flowery vows you recite in the wedding ceremony, tell your partner exactly how you translate those vows in your own words and ask what those vows mean to him or her personally. In other words be clear with each other what kind of agreement marriage is and what you expect it will and won't change once you are actually married.

2. Know what their needs are and share yours.

Find out what your partner will need to be their best as a husband (or wife) and tell him/her what you think you'll need in the relationship so that you can be your best too. For example: "I need to be and feel listened to if I am to successfully work through difficult issues that come along", "I need to feel appreciated if you want help from me around the house", "I need to resolve conflicts between us before ending the day or else I will be a mess until we do".
Note: Your spouse cannot be responsible to fill or meet all of your needs. So, when sharing needs, be sure that you also express to each other what needs you can accommodate and which ones you think you may not.

3. Agree to disagree.

One of the most common tests in the first years of marriage is each spouse trying to convert the other to do or think or feel the same as they do about everything, which naturally leads to disagreements about - everything. This is also known as the Power Struggle.

You can avoid this by starting your marriage with the agreement that you can and will disagree with each other about how things should or should not be and you will not to try to bend each others will to suit your own.

In situations where an agreement is a must for marital success, agree to step away from your personal positions and come together to create a compromise that you both agree on.

4. Be a Team!

Marriage is not a game so don't keep score on who the better spouse is. You are playing a game and are indeed a score-keeper if you regularly withhold saying or doing something for your soon-to-be-spouse because he/she had (in your perception) withheld in some way or another on you. This is how you break down a relationship not build one.

The goal in a great marriage is for each spouse to 'be for' and root for the other spouse. Never tire on finding ways in which you can understand your spouse and help him/her understand you.

5. Forgive! Forgive! Forgive!

Learn this skill in your first year of marriage and count on years of happiness in return.
Those who cannot or won't forgive end up with a marriage that is filled with hurt and distrust and spend most of their time consumed and blinded by resentment.

Allow and forgive the screw-ups and mistakes you are both likely to make, with the expectation of course, that you both learn from the situation and not make it a habit.

Note: Forgiving is not to be confused with tolerating or accepting certain (especially harmful and abusive) behaviors. Always seek professional help anytime your health or life feels at risk or danger.

There you have it. Fives excellent (fairly obvious) tips - but truly a good recipe for success.

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