Posted by: monsonmadness | October 11, 2011

My lovely husband

So, for those of you who have ever been married, or have ever been a child of a married couple, you will know that marriage has it’s ups and downs. It can be hard sharing a life with someone who isn’t exactly like you! It can also be lots of fun and you can experience great joy together.

Marrying someone from a different country and culture defintitely adds extra spice to the mix, not to mention different social economic status and background. Michael and I came from VERY diffierent upbringings, and extremely different families. This has made our marriage very interesting. Things that we would each expect the other to assume are normal, are almost always not normal for the other person. Everything is different, sense of humor, financial dealings, communication, expectations about traditions, child rearing and discipline, the list goes on and on. You may have some of the same differences in your marriage too, or have seen them in others.

Well, we have learned a great deal about patience and compromise over the years. We still have lots to learn, but it seems that now we are well and truly “on our own”, we are working things out at a faster pace! It has been harder in lots of ways because we have always been geographically closer to Michael’s family and very far removed from mine. Now we are distant from everyone and we are on our own. Not one family’s traditions over another, not what is normal to one family being more important that what was normal to another. Now we are isolated on our island, and we have to create our own “normal”.

I have to tell you, relying and depending on each other completely is a great thing. The experience of living here is unifying us, and making us stronger. After 11 years of marriage, we are still learning together, but I am so happy that we don’t have to be satisfied with what we’ve done or who we’ve been in the past, there is always a chance for improvement and growth, for both of us. I am falling more in love with Michael and I appreciate so much the small things that he does for me and the kids. I have so much to work on to be a better wife and mother, and it seems like it is easier here because we have more opportunities to improve. Some of the things that I just love about Michael that I’ve seen a huge improvement in since we’ve been here are:

*He doesn’t answer the phone during meal times any more. You may think this is dumb, but I can’t stand allowing a phone call to interrupt our precious family meal time. We have an answering machine for a purpose, and even if we didn’t, they can call back another time. I was so happy the other day when we were eating and the phone rang and the kids said, “aren’t you going to answer it?” and Michael said, “We are not a slave to the phone!” For some reason, I felt so happy hearing that from him. Why do some people feel like they have to answer the phone and start a conversation with someone new when it’s interupts one they were already having with someone face to face? Family needs to come first, and I love him for that.

*I’m sure you don’t have rude kids who tantrum and shout mean things at you, but I do, and one of the things that I appreciate so much about Michael lately is that if one of our kids says something mean to me, he will tell them that they are not allowed to talk to his wife that way. The saying is true, “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”. My brother in law says, “Happy wife = happy life”  He’s right. One of my biggest struggles is my fiery red-headed temper, (hard to believe I know!) and it’s so much easier to stay calm with the rude kiddo’s when my husband says something like that. Thank you Michael, for making it easier for me to improve myself.

*Michael is amazing at leading our family is daily scripture study and prayer. His biggest goal is to have the Holy Spirit in our home to teach us how to be more Christ-like. Could a person ask for anything more than this? For some reason, being here in American Samoa makes living the gospel in our home so much easier. There aren’t the distractions pulling us away from family time like there have been for us in the past. We don’t watch any TV after dinner, it’s dark outside, nothing to do…makes a perfect opportunity to just be together with the children spending time with each other! To be honest, I am worried about moving away from here in the future and not having that comfort any more. I feel safe here.

Now, having said all that, you need to realise that Michael and I got into a “disagrement” last night which is why I started thinking about our differences and this post. I thought about some of the reasons that I love him, and wanted to share those, but we were not able to resolve our disagrement last night, so I thought we should just take a vote on it, because neither one of us is budging! Hope it will bring some humor to your day.

You may remember that our oven and dryer are powered by gas tanks. They are like BBQ propane tanks but bigger and heavier. They cost $50 to buy and $34 to fill. We have had to refill the oven once, and the dryer twice now. Not to bad considering all of the laundry that comes with a family of eight. So here’s my dilemma….I thrive on being organised and prepared. Just yesterday we finished our emergency suitcase with first aid, food, clothing, sanitary products, flashlights, radios, documents etc which can now be carried out to the car immediately in case of an emergency. I can’t stand not having what I need. For example, Michael learned 11 years ago that if he uses something up, it needs to be written on the shopping list immediately, then he can use the spare one that we already have in the house, NOT the other way around. I go from Jekyll to Hyde when something is not in the house when it should be! Have you ever been in the middle of a recipe to find something gone that you know you should be there? Can’t stand that!

Well, I want to be just as prepared with the gas tanks. I was cooking a roast on the day that the oven gas tank ran out, Michael wasn’t home and I was stuck. Ruined meal = frustrated wife. When the dryer runs out of gas, it is not as bad, except yesterday it ran out in the evening on the day that we washed our bedsheets. Michael thought it was ok to sleep on them damp. I did not.

I want to pay $50 for a spare tank of gas so that we can hook up and finish what we’re doing when one runs out. I also think it will be good to have in case of power cuts when hurricane season comes. Michael thinks it is an unneccsary expense and doesn’t want to spend the $50.  So… let’s hear from you…what do you think? Help us solve our little issue and find our way back to marital bliss!!!!

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Responses

  1. That is funny!!! I voted with you Helen- I would definitely want a back up! I love that Miles doesn’t answer his phone during family times either. He doesn’t when we go out together either. We know that we are top priority to him. Sometimes I think it would be great to live away from extended family and be able to focus and rely on us. I’m glad it’s going well for you guys.

  2. awesome post. love you and michael! just bite the bullet! like the gas washer and dryers – but it, you will one day be sooooo glad you have it. it is well worth it. and in two years if you don’t, I guarantee you will know someone who needs it. lots of love!! – addie

  3. I vote for a backup. It’s totally part of being emergency prepared!

  4. So frustrating for sure! We also have a spare gas tank, but we only use it for the BBQ grill. (Now if feel spoiled!) So, you know what I would say. The $50 is worth it to have a spare for emergencies and such. We love you and Michael both!

  5. From Sheri:
    I was laughing as I read your post. You and Michael have many of the same differences that Tom and I have. Yes, we were raised in the same country, but sometimes it feels like he is from another planet (a strange planet that makes no sense). I have learned one thing over the years (several things actually- but one that applies here). Tom will Never be comfortable spending money! I used to think it was because we were poor struggling students, and then I figured it was because we were trying to get a business off the ground while raising a big family. But, I have discovered that it has nothing to do with how much money is available. He just can’t do it. But, I have also discovered that he often doesn’t mind if I spend the money, even if he can’t bring himself to do it. It has something to do with that strange planet he was raised on. We actually had a similar issue with our barbecue. I was tired of half cooked summer meals when the propane ran out. He was not about to buy a second tank. So I did. Suddenly it was a good idea and he wondered why we hadn’t thought of it sooner. Life is just happier for everyone when I stopped expecting him to take care of certain purchases and just handled them myself. I still don’t get it, but I know that if I need or really want something that Tom can’t bring himself to purchase, he doesn’t mind at all if I purchase it. I have given up trying to understand the strange traditions of that planet Tom comes from.

  6. From Pam:
    Living where you are, with the uncertainties of weather and electricity supply, you should definitely have a spare tank! Sorry Michael! In fact, no matter where you live, if you can, you should certainly have back-up fuel supplies. Don’t church leaders advise this?

  7. From David:
    I’m with you Helen, I always like to be prepared and have spare item’s in my workshop and home that are

  8. From Hanna:
    Helen….. Reading your blog makes my day! I am with you. I have spare everything from car seats to BBQ gas Dan has learnt to live with it and in time appreciate it. I also have a rule if Dan says no but my argument is better then I’ll buy it anyway ( only if it’s under £50) i can deal with the two days of sulking that will follow and the delight in saying ” i told you so” when we need to use it 🙂

  9. From Cathy:
    Well I would have to say I agree with you (and not because you’re my sister!), because I am just as bad as you for making sure that I have spares of everything before they run out. Toilet rolls, deodorant, bacon etc etc. In fact I’m excessive with regards to making sure I have spare books and shower gels in case of emergency.

    I have based my vote on the assumption that there’s no meter or monitor of any sort so that you can see if the gas is running low – if there is some sort of check that you can do then you would probably still get my vote in theory but I would sympathise more with Michael and realistically I myself would probably only do it at the last minute (like I do with my own electricity!)

    Would you like me to send you $50 for Christmas so that you can buy a gas tank instead of boogie boards?! Ha ha

  10. I always have to have spare things around the house. I really hate to run out of things, too.

  11. Tyson constantly does not write down or tell me when he finished up a product and I am left stranded all the time with a meal, in the shower, etc. It is so annoying. You are lucky Michael has caught on to the saying happy wife=happy life. I agree with you, extra one for sure.


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