Monday: Relationships and Changes

Happy Monday! We made skillet lasagna last night in celebration of Garfield’s favorite day. It was delicious, I have leftovers for lunch today.

In light of the changes rolling through for me over the course of the next month, I wanted to talk about changes and relationships in general.
Obviously, we all know in theory that you can’t get into a relationship, expect the other person to change and also expect the relationship to remain healthy. Theory and practice are often disparate, however. Today’s conversation isn’t about expecting change from someone, but rather about weathering change as a family.

For example, one of the changes that my family has undergone several times (and will soon undergo again) in the past five years has been job related. Aside from the company I currently work for being acquired over a year ago, I’ve also had a company I worked for go out of business and another contract end so that I needed to find a better place for me. I’m happy to say I’ve never experienced any period of unemployment, but finances are one of the great stressors in a relationship.
My answer to this stressor is open communication. That starts at the dinner table, usually (or any meal we share, but it’s most often dinner).
This doesn’t mean that the second I get home, I spill out a whole bunch of “blarrrgh” about the way my day has gone. Instead, after some time playing with Aubri and otherwise unwinding, I’ll talk about things with Jamie. I keep her updated on our budget, and she goes with me grocery shopping most of the time (a task she hates, but she goes so that we can have that time together).
It’s a work in progress. I want to teach her to do budgeting and keep track of our finances, because I don’t want her to have struggles in that regard if anything ever happened to me. But we take it one step at a time.

Other changes that face a family… illness, moving, family changes, even births and deaths can really impact the dynamic of a family, at least for a time. In my experience, it’s important to get away from the source of the distress to get everything out into the open. I like camping trips for that, but any long drive or even just a few hours to picnic away from technology. If you have teenagers, this will become especially important. Talking may not solve the problem, but it won’t be solved in a bottled condition, either. Getting away is the most important component. As Einstein said, we cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it (paraphrased).

 

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