{Guest Post: Mary Pepper} Healthy Relationships 101 pt II

He had a short 4 hour time block. Then, he would be gone again. After working 12 to 14 hours shifts out of town, he finally walked through our front door. His eyes were red and strained from being sleep deprived. He said that he wanted to sit and chat. So, we did.

Husband and wife talking in kitchen, husband using cell phone

There were now only 3 hours left for us to be together. During these hours, we still needed to do his laundry, make his lunches, go to Mass and eat dinner. Then, he would be leaving again. During our brief time together, I tried to be extra kind.

Fish!  Oh, no, why did this fish incident happen now?  I tried to bite my tongue and not criticize him, but the words came tumbling out. He was using his bare hands to scoop up the dead fish from the tank. Then, with the fish in his hands, he walked towards the kitchen while fish water dripped onto our carpet. “Ahhhh!”  I yelled.   “You are making a mess on the carpet!  And do not put that dead fish in the kitchen!  Ahhh!  What are you doing?”  With a man’s grin on his face, he continued with his plan, and disposed of the dead fish in a plastic bag.


With 10 minutes left before he had to leave, I was hoping for some “cuddle time”.  But not with fishy hands!  Again, my words spouted out, “Wash your hands with soap.”  After his short, cursory 10 second wash, I bellowed “Please, wash your hands again.”  And sing the ABC song! When you are finish singing the song, your hands will be clean.” To my surprise, I heard his strong, silly voice singing the A, B, C’s.  His humor had saved the moment.  We both began laughing at the absurdity of a grown man singing the ABC’s while washing his hands.  Yippee, I thought! His hands are clean! Now, before he gets back on the road, we can enjoy some more cuddle time.


Have you had a time when you wanted to have some special moments with your spouse?  With your kids?  Did everything flow smoothly or were there glitches along the way?  What  might help you to have those special times together?  Below are traits which establishes a foundation for a healthy marriage and a stable, strong family.  If these traits are modeled and practiced in your home, special moments with your spouse &/or your children can easily flow.

The Family Strengths Framework identifies 6 main traits which enhances the strength and stability of a family.  These are also applicable for your marriage as well.  These 6 attributes are:  Appreciation and Affection, Positive Communication, Spiritual Well-Being, Commitment, Enjoyable Time Together and the Ability to Manage Stress and Crisis (DeFrain et al, 2006).

· Appreciation & Affection – caring for each other, friendship, respect for individuality, playfulness & humor

· Positive Communication – giving compliments, sharing feelings, avoiding blame, being able to compromise, agreeing to disagree

· Spiritual Well-Being – hope, faith, compassion, shared ethical values, oneness with humankind

· Commitment – trust, honesty, dependability, faithfulness, sharing

· Enjoyable Time Together – quality time in great quantity, good things take time, enjoying each others company, simple good times, sharing fun times

· Ability to Manage Stress & Crisis – adaptability, seeing crises as challenges & opportunities, growing through crises together, openness to change, resilience

Which of these qualities do you have in your family?  Which new ones do you want to bring into your family’s life?  Can you have a family meeting and discuss ways to implement these attributes?

For our precious 4 hours together, my hubby and I showed one another appreciation and affection, communicated our ideas, showed compassion, shared our faith and despite the death of a pet fish, we did enjoy our simple, short time of being together!

By Mary Pepper, guest blogger, www.HealthyRelationships101.com

For more on everything wedding and wedding planning visit PerfectWeddingGuide.com 

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