Your Children Will Disappoint You More Than Your Wife Ever Will

Believe it or not, that’s some of the best advice I’ve gotten in recent months.  Lemme explain:

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about myself.  You might say I’m my own favorite topic.  I’ve had a lot of trouble reconciling what I consider to be opposing aspects of my personality:

  • I love public speaking, but I hate social interactions.
  • I like being my own boss, but I hate overseeing other people.
  • I’m an outgoing performer, willing to wear a dress onstage, if need be, but I struggle talking with people one-on-one.

In talking with friends, I’ve been labeled an “extroverted introvert,” which… I dunno.  I’ve always found the whole “introvert/extrovert” thing to be a little reductive and not entirely helpful, so that didn’t do much to satisfy me.

So not long ago, I was having a conversation with the bishop of my church, a good man whose opinion I esteem very highly, and one of the only people not directly related to me I allow to lecture me about my life.  We were talking about some of the goals I had been setting and working towards, and he asked me how my dating life was going.  I don’t remember what I said exactly, but it probably sounded something like this.

In short, I told him that I was more eager to be a father than I was to be a husband.  To which my bishop said, “Of course.  That’s because you can control your kids.”

  

Guys, you have no idea what that phrase did to me.  We’re talking full-on paradigm shift here.  Mind.  Blown.
And this is where the title line comes in.  He told me, “Your children will disappoint you more than your wife ever will.”  Here’s what I think he met:

When you’re a parent, you are a figure of authority.  Yes, you set the rules, but your children will react to those rules in ways you can’t predict, which, sometimes means that they will act in a way you don’t expect.  This can often lead to heartache, frustration, and, yes, disappointment.

However, when you’re a spouse, your partner really isn’t beholden to any rules you choose to set for them.  More likely (at least, in the sort of marriage my bishop seems to have and in the one which he wants for me), both parties are partners, committed to the same goal and collaborating on the same processes towards that goal.  The destination isn’t always in their control, but their cooperation is.  As they stay committed to working together, they grow closer together, and they learn to trust and rely on each other.

But it all starts with surrendering some of that control, which… *shudder*

Yeah, that spooks me still.

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3 thoughts on “Your Children Will Disappoint You More Than Your Wife Ever Will

  1. Technically, your children aren’t beholden to your rules either, although you are usually allowed to impose stricter consequences than your feministy friends would ever allow you to try and impose on a spouse. (Yes, I said it.) Really, don’t all relationships–romantic, children, friendships, everything–in some way begin with surrendering some of your control? I mean, even you and Meow-Meows, you have had to allow that cat to be the boss of the whole house in order to have a furry roommate, yes?

    xox

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    1. Hence, I think, the disappointment. It was an expectations vs. reality situation. Children push boundaries, while spouses (hopefully) collaborate. Meow Meows simply threatens violence.

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  2. Part of the reason I Don’t want kids is because I would lose all control of my life – it is no longer about you, it’s about them. SO, I get it in a disciplinarian aspect, but Rob doesn’t wake me up five times a night crying for me to feed him. Most of the time.

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