Finding Common Ground

Mr. Keller and I don’t have a whole lot in common:

  1.  He’s an extrovert; I’m an introvert
  2. He loves to farm; I find the farm equipment a little intimidating
  3. I work a desk job; he enjoys his outside job
  4. I have a master’s degree and professional license; he has an associate’s degree
  5. I love spreadsheets & budgeting; he does not
  6. He is patient and a great father; I struggle daily with maintaining my calm
  7. He’s the last one to leave a party; I just want to be at home in my pajamas

You get the point.  The list is a thousand times longer than that.  We are different people, and sometimes we struggle to understand one another.  At this point, we’re used to one another; we know what to expect, but that doesn’t make our differences go away.perfect-couples

We have to find common ground.  For Mr. Keller and I, that means semi-regular date nights, and allowing ourselves the opportunity to concentrate on just one another.

We recently purchased Chicago Bears season tickets.  Although they certainly were not inexpensive, they were really easy to rationalize.  First, we both love football so it gives us an opportunity to connect over something that we have in common.  Second, it’s a nearly 3 hour drive to the stadium.  That’s 6 hours round trip where we are actually together in one space without any little ones to interrupt.

We went to our first game this past Sunday, and it was a success!  First, we managed to get there without killing one another.  He was driving, and I was navigating (or trying to, anyway).  At first, Mr. Keller was completely uninterested in my suggestions on directions, and then, when he needed to listen to directions, I was pretty uninterested in providing them!  Actually, the drive was fine.  We hit very little traffic until we were nearly at the stadium.  We took one wrong turn, but it wasn’t really wrong.  It was just a little early, and we had no issues finding our destination.  It was the giant stadium that every other car was trying to get to.

Mr. Keller and I didn’t have any earth shattering conversations.  They weren’t necessary.  We simply enjoyed one another’s company.  We talked about the upcoming game, our fantasy football teams, and our NFL game picks (unfortunately, after totally dominating the last season, I’m not doing so well in either fantasy or game picks–hopefully, I can pull out of my slump!).  The conversation topics were light, but they reflected where we are at right now.  We’re both pretty content with life, and neither of us have any great concerns.  We’re on the same page where it counts.

To really top off a great day, the Chicago Bears even won!  They defeated the Detroit Lions, and earned their first win of the season (there’s a reason that the season tickets were affordable…).

Here’s to more Sundays in the future spent together!

Wrong Woman

I have a confession:  I think Mr. Keller married the wrong woman!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve probably realized by now that Mr. Keller enjoys agriculture.  He likes driving tractors, working on them, planting and harvesting our farm, baling hay, and taking care of the cows  I enjoy domestic hobbies like cooking, baking, reading, and gardening, and in spite of growing up on another little mini farm, I have absolutely no experience in driving tractors–not even rider lawn mowers.

Wrong Woman

Chad running the baler

In spite of my lack of agricultural interest, I found myself driving a tractor this past week.  Not only was I driving a tractor, I was running the baler and pulling the hay rack that Mr. Keller and the kids were on.  Me!  Running the baler!

For the first thirty minutes or so as I drove the tractor through the field, all I could think is that clearly Mr. Keller either married the wrong woman or he needs to make more friends who can help him!  After that point, I reminded myself that Mr. Keller needed my help, and I could do this.

wrong woman

It’s a family affair

We got the baling done, and I even felt proud to have assisted.  I’m nottelling anyone where the field is that we baled, though, because if you checked, you’ll find a lot of hay on the ground yet.  It turns out that I’m not very good at turns!  Mr. Keller had me completely worried.  He told me before we started that I had to take wide turns (whatever that means when you’re pulling a baler and a hay rack!) in order to avoid harming the PTO shaft.  I took wide turns, but I left about half of each line of hay whenever I turned.  Regardless, we still baled more than 100 bales that night!  Not bad for my first time.

I’m not really the wrong woman for Mr. Keller.  I just have to expand my skillset.  I’m sure I can handle it–at least until BK is old enough to drive the tractor on his own!  Marriage is all about being one another’s helpmates.  It sometimes means going out of one’s comfort zone, and I certainly did that!

wrong woman

BK looking down the field

Better Together: Because your husband is not your BFF

Better Together Series Post #1

Your husband is not your BFF — or at least not your only BFF!  How many remember what BFF stands for?  Best Friends Forever, right?!

BFF

He may be my “other half” but I need support from a community of women, too!

BFFs are the result of a lot of time, effort, and vulnerability.  I’ve certainly spent plenty of time with Mr. Keller.  Marriage takes effort, and he’s seen me without makeup, giving birth, sick, and sad.  We’ve definitely hit the requirements for BFF; however, he’s still a man!  He doesn’t understand a lot of my emotions.  In fact, I’m pretty sure he attributes any anger or sadness towards “that time of the month” — no matter what!  After all, I couldn’t possibly actually be mad at him, right?!

Women were meant to form communities with one another to really provide that support.  It wasn’t so long ago that women lived in communities where they could mother together.  There were quilting bees, family cooking sessions, major laundry sessions, and other homemaking activities.  They even assisted one another through illnesses and child birth.  Now, most women, myself included, really don’t have those types of communities.

“Because our mothering community is no longer formed within extended family relationships, we have to pursue, discover, and assemble it ourselves.  We have to recognize the value of it and make it a priority in our lives because we are stronger, wiser, and even healthier when we have a mom community around us.”  Jill Savage, Better Together.

Better Together suggests that our friends are good for our health.  This isn’t just limited to our physical health!  Friendships are great for our spiritual health, emotional health, and our marital health!

In fact, I might go so far as to say that good friendships can be marriage saving!  It’s unfair to expect our husbands to really get our struggles.  I fully expect Mr. Keller to support me and be there for me, but there is so much that he just doesn’t understand!

Mr. Keller doesn’t understand the struggles of Motherhood, just like I don’t really understand the struggles of Fatherhood.  He doesn’t understand how I worried when the children were tiny and didn’t hit those major milestones just perfectly on time.  He doesn’t understand my crazy emotions around BK’s future kindergartner status.  He also doesn’t understand my daily struggles of balancing my housewife chores (cooking, cleaning), with my status as Mom (do they even know the word “Dad” when they want something??), and my career as an accountant.  Perhaps it’s unfair, but sometimes I feel as though everything is on my shoulders.  Thankfully, I know other women in the same boat, and they can provide perspective, and pull me back from the edge when life gets too crazy.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that friendships have saved my marriage, but I would say that they have provided important perspective.

On a lighter note, girlfriends really take the pressure off of husbands when it comes to activities.  That is, I would far rather go shopping with a girlfriend!  Frankly, shopping with Mr. Keller isn’t fun at all!  Now, I’m not shopping much lately, but I do still love to visit Chicago with girlfriends!

Let’s face it, there are just some things men aren’t good at!  Mr. Keller just isn’t cutting it as my girlfriend!  He’s a great man, and certainly one of my BFF’s, but for the health of our marriage, he can’t be my only BFF.  I need someone who can relate to my experiences, and it’s unfair to expect him to be that person!

Sidenote:  These are the thoughts after reading chapter one of Better Together!  You can preorder your copy on amazon.