I received a text from a friend from our homeschool group three moths ago asking if we were interested I attending a marriage training/conference. The dates were over my husbands birthday and we have never really taken time off for us having been military for most of our married life and not having built in babysitters. We are now retired and settled as of this year and starting to work on all the problems in our life that have been put on the back burner as we survived through living. The opportunity came and I took it. I told my husband it was a birthday gift and we got a hotel room and called my mom to "babysit" our 2 teens and 11 year old. I wrote it on the calendar and went on with life.
Our marriage has been rough from the start. We began in love but problems of hurt, health and then military separations made everything bad starting after the first few weeks after the wedding. We found out parenting styles were polar opposite and could not be resolved. He only knew iron fist and I was raised love and choices. Our fighting has grown to epic proportions, and our oldest son (ADHD, High Functioning Autism) taking the brunt of all his anger and my husband taking all of mine in my attempts to defend and protect my children. Out commitment to the gospel, our stubborn personalities, frequent military separations, and our high sex drives I think has kept us together for the past 16 years. We have gone to counseling several times when it was toughest (during my chemo and surgeries when the kids were young, and depression for him after deployment) But we fight everyday. The kids play us against each other and as I push for control and ways to fix parenting, relationships....he shuts down, stonewalls, and hides. I had realized he has no self esteem, no confidence in his roll as a father and our son had checked out of life completely (not even getting out of bed anymore and disappearing to the bathroom anytime we do things as a family or he is asked to help with anything - the only place he can lock the door and hide).
Last month, at a training for our homeschool commonwealth, I was introduced to a 3 Key audio. I slowly listened to the first disc of Mind of Steel with my kids as we drove to our various activities. We would listen and discuss 15 min at a time but it quickly became a part of our everyday language. I soon realized that the Leadeship class the oldest two were taking at our weekly Commonwealth school was teaching visionboarding and goal setting and principles that were learned from 3 Key and like programs. Then the confirmation information arrived and I realized that Royaty and Romance was 3 Key as well. I was very excited.
My husband and I also began a serious look at the book A House United by Nicholeen Peck. We had started writing a family vision and mission statement and begun to teach the kids the basics when again my husband shut down. He went off on how this would not work, he could not do this, I was expecting too much of him, it was too hard..... Now our weekend away had a new mission. I neede him inspired and ready. He needed tools and confidence so we could make som progress. And I needed to know how to back off enough to take a step forward without overwhelming him. I'm an all in person and he is a dip the toe and then run kind. I needed him to dip and then jump!
So we arrived not knowing at all what to expect. He knew nothing about 3 Key. I knew 1 disc worth. But we were willing and I was ready! I was sold after the first sway. I looked into his eyes and would not let him look away. I saw the tears in his eyes also and knew we could do this, whatever this was! We both took notes like crazy...I filled half a composition notebook! And when you told your story we both looked at each other. That is exactly where we are. We both have been so afraid that it was too late for us, too late for our kids. But your three kids were similar ages. Your situations were similar in attitudes. And when you brought your son out to talk about sharing emotions we both cried, because that is our oldest. He will be 16 this year and we know what we have put him through.
We gave 100% this weekend. We came home and gave 100%. We had recently begun Sunday couples meeting before our family council so it made it easy to use that time to bring up a blank homeschool board from the basement and mount it on our bedroom wall (until we can get a pretty one) and print out vision board pictures. We set our 7 day goals. We printed out our King and Queen statements and our dot people fighting declarations. We also updated the declarations I had been saying to the kids at night and they helped me write them so they were their words, so we could be a second witness for them as well. At family council we brought out the light sabers and plastic swords and declared who we are. We taught how to slay dragons and took 7 min to do that. We got smiles from the girls and eye rolls from our son that first day. But we did it. We set our alarms for 15 min earlier to make time for whispers and sways and today had a wonderful morning.
Today my son did not roll his eyes when I told him we would slay dragons before starting school. HE smiled as he said he could not even remember what he wrote about yesterday, that it was gone, and he said he knew what he wanted to get rid of today, and got right to work. My son that does not want to do anything with us smiled! My husband did not yell and we all had fun. Day 1 is going well. I plan to keep this up for a long time.
Thanks for giving us the skills and confidence to take the steps forward. We needed a place to start. We could see where we wanted to be, but did not know how to get there. And that was scary and hopeless. Now we can work together and take it one day at a time. Check back in in a month and see if we are doing ok. We bought some of the discs. My husband is attending Master your Influence next month. It sounded perfect for where he is nad what he needs. One step at a time. I have complete faith in him. I have faith in us.
-- Anne H