Marriage Advice

Recently at a bridal shower for my sister, we were asked to write down advice for the bride-to-be on her upcoming marriage.

I thought about this carefully.  My husband and I have been together since we were 15, more than half our lives.  I hope that she and her fiance (who we all adore) can find the same happiness and longevity in their relationship.  I thought about the relationship that my husband and I have and what contributes to it to make it work.  

Full Disclosure

The hubs and I are not perfect. We disagree on things, sometimes they’re little and sometimes they’re big. However, we have found that we can get through them together.  

Talking to each other, about how we feel, why we feel that way, and discussing the situation, usually allows us to come up with a solution.  Sometimes we end up going “his” way, sometimes “mine” but usually it’s a compromise that makes the most sense and in the end, becomes “our” way. 

I know that this sounds simple and easy, and sometimes it is.  But many times it’s not. There are times when it takes a while for us to come to an agreement.  

Agreeing to disagree – for a little bit anyway

 I can get very invested in my ideas/thoughts, I know this and so I understand that I might need some space to digest and think through something that contradicts what I’ve been thinking. Sometimes, I need to walk away and take a break. 

 He on the other hand, likes to talk things through to solution.  In order for our communication to work, we have to understand each other and the different ways that we process information.  We also have to respect each other enough to allow for our differences. 

While it is true that we must remember to work with our differences, I think one of the important tenets of marriage is that we also remember we are no longer single but part of a couple.  Before anyone jumps to disagree, I do think that it is important to keep our individual identities and we should not lose them, but if we don’t act as a couple then we are defeating our relationship ourselves.  

Open discussions allow us to see each other’s point of view and gives us more insight into each other. Communication is important for us to be able to act as one.  We have to know where each other stands and how we can support each other. Communication is key to avoiding, mitigating, or working through issues, as well as growing together as a couple.

My advice to my sister: 

Practice makes perfect

Listen with your heart – know that the other person is sharing with you something they believe to be true.  They are sharing their thoughts with you knowing you may not agree with them but wanting to communicate and understand your thoughts as well.  Listen with your mouth closed and your mind open.

Talk with your heart – speak the truth as you see it; speak humbly, gently, but truthfully.

My hubby will be the first to tell you that I have a terrible time talking.  I do tend to keep things bottled up rather than risk a disagreement or confrontation.  I am a huge people pleaser and try to take the path of least resistance that makes everyone happy.  Even when it’s detrimental to myself.  

I also worry that I could be wrong, or “look stupid” in front of others.  I am learning to speak up, especially to the hubs. If he’s put up with me this long, there must not be much that I can say to make him run away. It helps that hubs tells me that he likes for me to speak up and emphasises that when I do.

Best wishes for the bride and groom

So, I hope that my sister and future brother-in-law can listen and talk to each other.  I know it won’t always be smooth sailing throughout their journey together, but hopefully if they can remember to talk and listen with their hearts, they will have a long and happy marriage.

Apraxia

Imagine if you wanted to say something but everytime you tried to talk it came out as just sounds, not words.  It sounded fine in your head, but no one understood you.  

People looked at you wondering why you couldn’t communicate properly.  Sometimes they were rude about it, sometimes they assumed you were not as smart as other people.  Most of the time they just didn’t know how to interact with you so you were left to yourself and not included in things.

This is my daughter’s life, every day.

Background Info

My daughter is almost nine..  She only has one intelligible word – Mama.

When she was around 20 months old we put her through so many tests.  Hearing tests – under sedation which lost her trust in us giving her medicine for a long time – came back normal.  Genetic tests – came back normal (although we are now revisiting this). Psychological testing – she was diagnosed as autistic. But no one could tell us why she couldn’t talk.

We began speech therapy with no results.  She would cooperate for a while and then after several months of therapy, she would shut down. So, we would take a break and then start again. This cycle went on for several years.  Still no answers on why should couldn’t talk or make progress even with therapy.  

Answers – Finally (or at least some)

After Googling for what seemed like forever, I finally came across a site that seemed to have some answers,  www.apraxiaspeaks.com (unfortunately, this site no longer exists).  They offered an e-book called Apraxia Explained and although it seemed like a lot of money, after reading through the site, I bought it.  I’m so glad that I did. Almost every aspect of what this family was going through was similar to our situation. At last, I thought I was on to something.

What is Apraxia?

Apraxia is a motor planning disorder.  In short, she knows what she wants to say but she has trouble getting her brain to properly transmit the coordination of the muscles to be able to say it.  Apraxia Kids – the leading non-profit support organization for children, families, and professionals affected by Apraxia – has a more detailed explanation here – https://www.apraxia-kids.org/

Unfortunately, at that time, Apraxia was still fairly unknown and getting it diagnosed, and more importantly proper therapy for it was difficult.  Since Apraxia is a motor planning issue and not just articulation or delay, it requires a specific type of therapy.

Three years ago we put our girl in yet another speech therapy. This would be speech therapy number four. Almost immediately the therapist asked if we had heard about Apraxia.  After lots of hard work she can say Mama, and some approximations of a few other words. It’s difficult and frustrating because she knows what she wants to say but she can’t make her muscles move properly to make the right sounds.

Possible Other Issues

Fast forward to 2019, her therapists were concerned she wasn’t making enough progress and suspected some other, more physical issues. After visiting a craniofacial specialist, it was determined that her palate, the part of your mouth that controls air flow allowing sounds to resonate, vibrate, ect., does not work properly.  She cannot close her palate when trying to talk which compounds her speech difficulties. 

So our girl was hit with a double whammy for speech problems. We’re working on strengthening those muscles along with working on motor planning.

Currently, she uses a combination of sign language (both ASL and her own) and speech devices to help her communicate her wants and needs.

Keep on Keeping On

Most days are hard.  It’s frustrating for her not to be understood and it’s frustrating for us not to be able to understand her and to see the struggles she has in interacting with other kids and adults.  We don’t know when or if she’ll ever talk.

But she’s smart and funny. She completely amazes us every day. We’re not going to let this stop her. We know we can’t give up because the world deserves to know her, so we’re working through it. One day at a time.

10 Things I Believe In

Ok, so I thought for one of my first posts, I’d give you a little more insight into me. You can also visit my About Me page for more.

God 

I am a Christian. I am imperfect and I sin.  I believe that Jesus died on the Cross to save me so that I can go to Heaven.  This does not mean however, that I believe that anyone who does not believe the same as me is bad, or wrong, or whatever.  I do not believe that we should not love and help those who do not believe the same as we do. I believe that is all the more reason we should.  I don’t think Jesus created many followers by condemning them. Or that he meant for us to do so. He showed love, kindness, and compassion. I believe we should do the same. 

Love 

Love is amazing. It has many different facets, like a gemstone.  Mother to child, spouse to spouse, friend to friend, etc. It can take us through a whole range of emotions.  It is infinite. It’s one of the few things I can think of where the more you give, the more you have. I often wonder if many people know that. Love is probably the best part of what makes us human. 

Family – blood or otherwise 

Family is not always related by blood.  Neither are blood relations always family.  Family is caring, loving, sharing, and being there for each other.  Even if it’s just a hug, a kind word, or a sympathetic ear.   

Second chances 

Everyone deserves a second chance.  We all make mistakes. I hope that when I do, someone gives me a second chance to make it right. 

Miracles 

I’ve seen them.  I’ve had them affect my life. You just have to take it on faith. 

Good will always triumph over evil – in the end. 

Perhaps this is the result of watching too many Disney movies, but I love the saying “it’ll be okay in the end; if it’s not okay, it’s not the end”.  Good always wins. Maybe not like we thought; there might be some casualties, but good always wins. 

Laughter cures many things 

Laughter is wonderful medicine.  It’s usually contagious and does make you feel better. If you’re having a bad day, just try watching some funny videos.  It’ll help cheer you up. 

All things happen for a reason 

When a door closes, a window opens.  And if one doesn’t and you’re forced to make your own, well there’s a reason for that too. 

Magic 

Magic is what makes life amazing.  All those things that happen that we can’t explain.  Or it could just be the geekiness coming out… 

Me 

I can do this.  I don’t say this because starting a blog is easy.  Putting myself out there is a bit scary. But I have family that supports me.  I have my faith. And I know it will be okay – because it’s not the end. It’s only the beginning.