Growing up I always wanted the perfect family. When I think of the perfect family I think of being married with kids. I think of an old 1940s or 50s poster, the white picket fence family. Bob grilling hamburgers and hotdogs, Janet trimming the hedges, kids playing hide and seek in the backyard. I wanted the American Dream but I learned that with age comes wisdom, and with that wisdom, I can say there is no such thing as a white picket fence family.
As children, we learn what marriage should look like through the example our parents set. We learn how husband and wife treat each other, how they treat children, how they treat others. That example informs what is “normal” to each of us, but in reality, that family could be normal, terrible, average, or idyllic — all depending on who you talk to.
Maybe you are from an “ideal” family growing up. You want what your parents had, but you only saw your family through the eyes of a child. You might have never seen them in conflict, argue, or squabble. When in reality behind closed doors in the bedroom or in the car they are wondering if marriage is even worth it.
Maybe you are from a troubled family. Abuse and neglect are the norm. What you know is what you experienced. You try your best at building a healthy family, but there are moments when you fall short. You get frustrated in your marriage and attempt to steer clear of repeating the past. You may even see something of your parents in yourself.
Maybe you are from an average family. Your parents had their ups and downs, but they worked through it. You learned from them, and want to grow into something better. You may struggle in your marriage every now or maybe you just want to learn how to manage the family better than before.
Patterns We Learn
When it comes to marriages there are patterns that we learn or have learned. These patterns can help or hurt in marriage. The important thing is that we learn from our patterns and experiences so we know where we are doing well, and where there is room for improvement. But, it’s not easy to see these things in ourselves. That is where coaches, counselors, and confidants can help. They have the ability to see your “norms” assist in addressing any issues that may come up.
My family is definitely not a picket fence family. My parents are divorced and my father has been to jail numerous times. I have been afraid to get married. I have often asked myself, “What if I get divorced? What if I am just like my father? What if my kids turn into me? Am I good enough to be a husband and parent?”
A couple of years ago I was talking with my uncle and he helped me realize my father was concerned about the same things before he married my mother. What I have learned is that you are not your parents. Situations may be the same, but we can change the outcome. When it comes to being a perfect husband/wife there is no guidebook, but the tools offered at Foundation for Family Life work. Patterns can be found and changed. Break your cycle by talking with us today.