Another benefit to having a child

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I’ve always thought there’s something terribly misguided about couples who have children in an effort to hold their relationship or family together. If you’re not relatively healthy as a couple, adding a third party to the mix isn’t likely to help.

That certainly wasn’t our motive for having Mariel. And our relationship has never been on the rocks.

But I have to say that, at least in our case, having a child is a major incentive for Francisco and myself to stay centered in our marriage. We’re far less prone to argue now than we were before. Though I’d classify both of us as conflict avoidant, we’re also both (as Francisco’s mom would say) “medio locos con cabezas duras” (“half crazy hard heads”) and strong opinions. Neither of us likes to argue, but with the kinds of personalities we have, it’s happened.

Now, though, I’ve noticed that we both go to exceptional lengths to address and resolve any differences without arguing, which makes a lot of sense because 100% of our disagreements are petty anyhow. Without going all New Age on you, we both believe that babies absorb the energy of their environments, and it’s really important to us that Mariel not be exposed unnecessarily to any negative energy. We’ve talked about our first memories and want her first memory to be pleasant and positive. God forbid her first memory be an argument.

We also believe that experiences get imprinted in our memories and have lasting impacts… that a single moment of your childhood–however inconsistent that moment may be with the whole spectrum of your childhood history–can endure. Who wants to remember the time their parents had a verbal duking out? Not pleasant.

So this is a fabulous added benefit of having a child. If I wonder why he used the crappy lens to shoot photos or he wonders why I made plans for us without asking him, we’re much more inclined to let our gripes go, to choose love and what our friend Nancy calls “pre-forgiveness” over a verbal duel.

And that feels good for everybody.

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2 responses »

  1. A friend of mine’s kids saw the rated G-movie Cars at about 3, and got really upset when the characters spoke sternly to each other. She realized her child had never witnessed an argument, and I’m sure she felt pleased as New Age pie (except for the part where she didn’t pre-screen the movie, but you can’t win them all).

    I’ll be glad to meet Mariel one day. I’m sure she’ll be able to teach me a thing or two. She’ll have had great teachers.

    • Eileen-

      Now that you write that, I think I’d like for Mariel to learn how to disagree or express frustration in a healthy way… not that she should never see it, because that would be fake, and definitely not learn to repress it. But to learn how to express it appropriately.

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