Archive for the ‘Woman to Woman’ Category

Woman to Woman – care for elderly parents

August 14, 2007

mybutton.jpg“There are many women who still have one or both parents living. As our parents age and move into their 80s and 90s, they often need a family member to care for them. Are you currently the caregiver for a parent? Perhaps you are the caregiver for a beloved grandparent. What have you observed through this process and how have you worked this care giving into your family life? What difficulties have you encountered, and how have you resolved them? What has been successful for you? Share your insights, observations, concerns with us.”

As I started reading the question this time, I nearly didn’t answer. I’m not caring for any elderly relatives. And I don’t foresee doing it in the near future.  My father is passed away and my mother and step father are both healthy and active. And even when they are much older, they have resources to insure a comfortable living. The reason I decided to answer is this – when I was young, before I got married, I worked in a retirement home. It wasn’t one of those nice resort type places, it was one of those ‘had to put her somewhere and this was the only place we could afford’ places. Sad, dreary, hopeless places. I couldn’t work there for very long. My technical reason was the commute – it was in the next town. But I fear the real reason was the hopelessness and the sadness of the place. I was too young and not mature enough to stay and make a difference.

However, that experience opened my eyes and I made a promise to myself that I would never do that to my parents, or inlaws. I realize at times medical care is needed. I also realize that the nicer places with medical care are extremely expensive. But, if there was any way I could avoid doing that, I would. And if there was no way around it and I had to do this, I would visit often and continue to be involved in their life.

When my parents were young and I came along, I’m sure they must have had a hard time affording all the extra expense I brought with me. They took care of me, they didn’t say “I just can’t afford to take care of that baby anymore!” and ship me off to an orphanage. They just made it work. I feel we have the same joyful obligation to our parents.

The cycle of life goes round and round – they take care of us and then the day comes when we take care of them. It’s all part of being a family. For the majority of our history, it was normal for different generations to grow up under the same roof. They all took care of each other. Now, it’s become very abnormal to do this and even considered a burden. How very sad. Older people have such wisdom and experience to share, to pass on to us younger ones. When we go through earth-shattering experiences, they can tell us how they went through the same or similar things. They give hope.

I realize, not having had to do this, you who are doing this might be snickering. Thinking I’m a bit naive, and foolish to make such rash promises. I’m sure it’s harder than I think it is. I have a tremendous respect for those of you who are taking care of your parents (or other relative). I believe it’s part of the ‘honoring thy father and mother’. And what does the rest of that verse say? ‘so that it will go well for you.’ 🙂

Personally, I can’t imagine living a comfortable life, going about my business happily while my mother was in one of those sad places. If this situation comes to reality in my life, I will happily and joyfully take care of my parents, my MIL, my aunt or whoever needed it. God provides. He’s blessed me so much, I can’t help but want to pass that on to someone else.

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Woman to Woman – marriage

July 10, 2007

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Tips and Tricks – Keeping your marriage alive: Whether you’ve been married for 38 years, 8 years or are a newlywed, you’ve probably picked up a few keys to a happy marriage, one which is nurturing and continues to grow. Maybe your marriage has struggled, but you’ve found a road back to each other and have insights to offer those in a similar situation.

What would you say are the three most key elements in your marriage that keep the romance alive and the heart aflutter?”

 

I am 48 years old and 2 ½ years into my second marriage. My first marriage was 26 years long and never good.  I made a basic mistake at the very beginning by marrying a non-Christian. If you’re a Christian, don’t marry a man who isn’t saved because you’re Sure you can lead him to the Lord. Especially when you have children. Things that didn’t seem important suddenly become important when the basic training of your child is at stake.

 
The key elements that keep our romance alive and our hearts fluttering are three very unromantic words: respect, security and always putting the other person first.

 You’d think it would be flowers, candlelight dinners and unexpected presents. Maybe some new lingerie or a trip to the day spa, getting the works. Those things are fine, but not much fun if you have underlying foundational issues that rob you of your romance and joy. Do the work and take the time to build a good foundation. It’s worth it.

 Security is key. I am so completely secure in my husbands love, that I flourish. And vice versa. I never worry about what he’s ‘really’ doing when he’s away from home. I can look at him with complete respect because he’s an honorable man, a man of integrity – and those ‘unromantic’ qualities keep my heart fluttering because I know he’s only into ME. And again, vice versa.

 Jesus tells us to put others before ourselves, to count them as more important than ourselves. Using this principle in marriage means we don’t fight. Combining this principle with respect, if I put him before me, while he’s putting me before him… it’s a win/win/win situation. Because I respect him, I don’t yell or argue or put him down in order to win a point. I listen. I may disagree, but I say it respectfully. And he does the same. We just talk. I know he’s not out to get me, and he knows I’m not out to prove anything. I am not a doormat wife. I have my own opinions which I voice without fear. It’s the ‘way’ in which you speak that make the difference.

 Ok, one more quality. Temperaments should be as like each other as possible. I know the age old saying is “Opposites attract? but I have to add, “They may attract, but they don’t stay happy very long!? The outgoing hubby who marries an introverted, quiet wife and wants to be out socially quite a bit, won’t be happy with her quiet mannerisms for long. Just an example, but it really helps if you’re either both homebodies or both social butterflies. If you’re both easygoing, it’s much easier than if one is easygoing while the other is intense. If you’re both intense, you can understand the needs of the other. In our case, we are both easygoing homebodies. We love our home and enjoy being in it and living our lives here, in this house. Our focus is on each other, not events or places to go. That being said, when we do go out, we enjoy it quite a bit. If you go out to dinner all the time, it’s not really special. We like to do some traveling, but are always happy to be home again rather than being sad our adventure is ending.

 These things work in our marriage, and I think it also helps that we are older and have some maturity, and some experience in marriage/life. You have to be true to yourselves as well. You can’t pretend to be something you’re not. You should be a whole person before joining yourself to another person. The principle is not “We make each other complete because we’re only half a person to begin with,? it’s “We make each other complete because we’re already whole in Christ and in our life before marriage.?  

 When my first marriage ended, I wanted nothing to do with another marriage. In my mind, marriage was a very unhappy and stressful state. I felt that I had finally escaped and now had my life back. God had other ideas! I’m not the type to go to ‘singles events’ or out to bars – alone or with friends! But I did find I missed social contact, and I found a Christian singles chat room that I liked. It wasn’t to find a man, it was to enjoy a few moments here and there with friends. But, on New Years Eve 2004, I met my future husband in that chat room. And 6 weeks later we were married. This is not something I’d generally recommend without specific guidance from the Lord and respecting all ‘internet dating’ boundaries and rules. It could be dangerous.

 When we met and I knew this was more than just another friend, I was scared to death. I prayed and prayed, “Lord, please take him out of my life if he’s not good.?  One morning in church, during the sermon, it was suddenly as if everything stopped, except the pastor continued talking. The only words I heard were these “Don’t let your heart be troubled.? Verse from John. I was shaken to my middle as I knew this His answer to my frantic prayers. As I look back, 2 ½ years later, I know without a shadow of a doubt this was the Lords voice, quieting my fears.

 And I have to say, I never knew marriage was like this. It’s good, solid and fun. It’s romantic and exciting. It’s enjoyable and lovely. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.