As a child my home was filled with love. However, you never would have known just by watching us. While my sisters and I were confident that our mom loved us by all of her sacrifices and actions, we never participated in a tremendous amount of physical contact. We just weren’t big on all the kissing and hugging. And neither of us had a problem with it. This was our family, our way and at that time we didn’t require it, at least that’s what we thought. I never felt as though I needed that sort of attention when I was a child. Not having that physical interaction only became a concern once I got married. Although my husband was raised in the same type of household (limited physical touch) he seemed to recognize the value of it in our marriage. But his frequent random hugs, as I cleaned up or did the laundry, were initially met by a little reluctance.
I would respond but not with the same amount of enthusiasm as my husband offered. After so many unsuccessful attempts my spouse, quite naturally, began to limit those frequent displays of affection. More than likely the conclusion he came to was that I simply did not appreciate him or even want to be bothered. Not until after they had slowed down did I notice how much they not only meant to him, but how good it actually felt for me.
As I mentioned above, there was never a doubt in my mind as to how much my mother loved us. But as an adult, I now realize the impact that hugs and kisses truly have. Although this was the childhood habit I brought into my marriage, there are many others who have brought certain beliefs into their relationship that stem from childhood. One particular idea that comes to mind is the role each spouse plays. I have known men who grew up in households where women did all the housework (cooking, cleaning and fixing the husband’s plate) and men take out the garbage. These beliefs affect how we show up in marriage. I have witnessed couples struggle in this area because the husband wants his household to resemble the one he came up in and so does the wife. When we bridge two lives together part of that bridging includes merging those ideas that may vary from one another’s upbringing. The key is to make sure the marriage works for the two present individuals involved.
Just because we may have been raised a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that way will work for our spouses. A few of those habits can actually have a negative bearing on our relationships. Creating a marriage with new values that honor each spouse is critical. Of course there will be those that definitely work for our marriage and then there will be those that won’t. When the beliefs cause more harm than good, we can’t force them to fit into the marriage we are creating. I recommend setting new goals, being flexible and willing to do whatever is needed for the marriage as a whole.
BMWK, what childhood beliefs have affected your marriage?
Esther McKitty-Griffin says
I am newly married and definitely can relate to the lack of physical contact as a child. I always would brush anyone off if they tried to give me a hug and in my family it was never done. So now in my marriage it has been an area that I have to work extra on. Not that I don’t love my husband etc but PDA does not come easily to me and even when we are home, I still have a hard time responding to his affections – but we have discussed it and it’s much better than it was before. Wow and I thought I was the only one. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely share this with him tonight.
Esther, I’m glad to hear its getting better. But you are definitely not alone. I am a work in progress.
Donyeil McCoy says
Great article.. How you are raised does tend to reflect on how you would like your family to be. But we do have to respect our mates upbringing as well. My husband is laid back and loveable and i am dominant and loveable too..lol but it does cause conflict at times. I have to step back and re-evaluate my role because i am aware that it can damage a marriage. I was raised around both dominance and loveableness and it does reflect in my adulthood. So setting new goals is truly the best way to keeping a happy marriage and home. Our way is definately not always the best way.
Thank you. Well said Donyeil!