Is it Wrong to have a Child-Centered Marriage?

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Can too much focus on the children hurt a marriage? According to Patrick and Ruth Schwenk, the answer is a huge “Yes!” In their new book, For Better or for Kids, they share their own issues raising 4 kids and how it changed their marriage in ways they never dreamed possible.

Having a child-centered relationship can cause spouses to neglect each other’s needs, they warn, leading to significant problems that often lead to tremendous marital strife and eventual divorce. Do any of these common complaints sound familiar?

  • Loss of intimacy
  • Romance cools or stops completely
  • Unresolved conflicts
  • Infrequent or non-existent communication
  • Fights over money
  • Lack of attention and affection
  • Child’s needs/wants are paramount

Seriously, what couple can’t relate to most—all?—of those! What starts out as newlywed bless seems to become almost like platonic roommates once little people are added to the mix. While I certainly believe marriage is important and couples need time alone together, I think it’s almost impossible for the focus to remain solely on the husband and wife. Most of us, if we’re honest, would admit that we love our child more than our spouse and that can cause a lot of tension…

I do like some of their suggestions like scheduling regular Date Nights, parenting together as a team, having open communication without finger pointing, and making sure every member of the family feels valued and heard.

Another great point is not allowing the children to divide and conquer. Parents should maintain a united front and not allow any manipulation. (Easier said than done, of course, but important to remember.)

Overall, I think a child-centered marriage isn’t ideal, but it is the norm—especially in the Jewish community. By recognizing and admitting it, both husband and wife can do things for each other, and as a couple, to strength their bond and keep it strong and healthy. (Notice I didn’t say perfect. We all know there’s no such thing as a “perfect” marriage!)

Advice Needed

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Dear Readers, I’m hoping someone has good advice to solve a most pressing issue. Recently, my entire house has been infested with fruit flies! Those little pests aren’t uncommon in the kitchen during the summer, but I’ve never seen a situation where literally every room has something swarming. It’s annoying, it’s gross, it’s actually creeping me out…

I went on a massive cleaning spree to see if that would fix it. I removed all bits of food from the counters and put it into the fridge. Then, I scrubbed every surface, took the trash out and bleached the can. That helped somewhat, but not completely. I’ve searched high and low for the culprit in closets, under beds, checked window screens, behind the couch, etc. Total mystery.

The next step will be to spray the rooms with insect repellant, or if anyone has a natural/alternative remedy that works, I’ll attempt anything!

10 Natural Skincare Masks

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While I’ve never met a commercially-made beauty product that didn’t entice me, I don’t always have good results with bottled items. Fragrance, dyes, preservatives, additives—the list goes on. Natural products, however, are much less likely to cause a reaction. They’re also cheaper and fun to make, too!

Here are some excellent masks you can enjoy at home:

1. Moisture Mask: Combine equal parts fresh strawberries and bananas in a blender. Add 1 Tbsp. of raw honey. Apply to skin and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

2. Oily Skin Mask: Mash a tomato until it’s pulp, then mix with 1 Tbsp. of wheat germ. Apply and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

3. Inflamed Skin Mask: Apply plain, whole milk yogurt to completely coat the face. Leave on up to 30 minutes. Crushed cucumber can also be added. It’s good either way.

4. Blemished Skin Mask: Add lukewarm water to green tea powder (Matcha) until it forms a paste. Apply and let sit for 30 minutes. Can be done twice daily, if needed.

5. Homemade Fruit Peel: Cut a lemon in half. Rub over the face, making sure the juice is extracted. Let sit 5-10 minutes. Be careful to avoid the eye area. This also works great on ashy/discolored areas like knees and elbows.

6. Extremely Dry Skin Mask: Warm raw honey until it becomes manageable but not scalding. Apply to skin and let sit 20 minutes.

7. Texturizing Mask: Use to improve skin that looks dull. Mash together banana, papaya, avocado, and peach. Apply to skin and let sit 20 minutes.

8. Astringent Mask: Steep fresh sage and fresh mint in whole milk. Apply to skin, let dry and sleep with it on overnight. Wash face in the morning. It has a wonderful effect.

9. Redness mask: If skin is red, raw, and/or sunburned, try this. Take 1 cup of whole oats and blend. Add 1 Tbsp. of water and 1 Tbsp. of raw honey. Apply and let sit as long as you’d like. (I’ve done it for an hour.)

10. Revitalizing Mask: Puree a handful of fresh, ripe apricots. Add a few drops of olive oil. Apply to skin and let sit 20 minutes.

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To enhance the experience, I love to apply cucumber slices to my eyes and soak in a warm bath as the mask does its magic. So relaxing and rejuvenating!

Manic Monday & An Impromptu Picnic

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It was one of those mornings. Everyone woke up late. Everyone was crabby. There was considerable bickering. Still tired and now frazzled, I burned breakfast. Instead of scrambled eggs, we’d have to settle for second choice cereal. Not a minute after it was poured, clumsy little fingers spilled an entire bowl onto a freshly washed floor. After that was cleaned up, I had to deal with considerable hollering as kitchen whisks were being used as makeshift weapons.

Sigh…

Yes, I love my family, but oh, can they push buttons! I try to run a neat and orderly home, but we all know that the best of intentions don’t result in perfection. Rather than stay home as we’d planned, I decided everyone needed a time out.

I quickly put together cheese sandwiches, raw carrots/broccoli, and red grapes. Into a backpack it went, along with sunscreen and bottled water. We were off to the park for an impromptu picnic. For two solid hours, we enjoyed some sunshine and fresh air. The negativity seemed to disappear. I actually got to read a magazine, call my sister for a daytime chat (rare for us), and pick some wildflowers. Plus, the kids thought it was really neat to each lunch food for breakfast (more like brunch time by then).

We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we have 100% control over our reaction. It would’ve been so easy to give up, declare it a lost day, and sit on the couch and sulk. Instead, I chose to not yell, to not punish, to change the scenery, and take a deep breath.

Not a bad decision, huh?

 

Are you also having a Manic Monday?