This is more a post on communication in marriage than it is about our strong willed boy-but it was, in a way, "through him" we learned the lesson that I'm going to write about.
It's sort-of an embarrassing story, but oh well. Here goes. (I'll try and keep it short for Mr. Shumway's sake.)
Throughout the course of raising and homeschooling 3, then a 4th boy, there were naturally good and bad days. Sibling rivalry, bad attitudes, wild amounts of energy, messes, and spiritual lessons all had to be dealt with. I tried to be patient and would pray for wisdom more than just daily. However, there were days when I would be drained of both. Especially on those days when our 3rd son (the strong willed one) was being pillish to the best of his ability. My husband would come home and I'd be running on fumes. "I've had it! That kid, (or those kids) drove me crazy today! Would you please do something with him/them?!"
Then Mike would be annoyed with Alec, or all 3 boys, and lecture them on being obedient or respectful, or whatever I'd complained about. Then I'd get annoyed with him because he was being grouchy or stern with the kids. I'd then jump to their defense which confused my husband because not ten minutes earlier I'd asked him for help. This circus went on for years!! I'd have a bad day, whine and complain, Mike would try and "rescue" me, then I'd get angry at him. It built up an unhealthy wall in our marriage, needless to say.
Finally LAST YEAR I read a great book: For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. It not only helped me understand Mike in general, it helped us get out of the revolving door we'd been stuck in.
One night last spring Mike and I were walking and we were finally "having it out" about this "issue" in our marriage.
I couldn't understand why he treated the boy/s like he did when I'd told him I'VE HAD IT and he couldn't understand why I was angry at him for dealing with the boy/s.
We were getting really annoyed with each other, but finally we both stopped talking, and got lost in our own thoughts. I started thinking about the book For Women Only. I put myself in his shoes and tried to think like a man. (Not an easy task, let me tell you.) But then it hit me-Mike was trying to be my hero! He was trying to get on his white horse and slay the dragon of pain-in-the-neck moments with our son/s. He heard my distress call and wanted to come to my aid.
When I shared my thoughts with him he basically said, "Yes, you dope. What took you so long to see THAT?" (Of course those weren't his exact words:-) )
So I said, "Mike, I look at parenting as a relay race. I run with the baton all day. By the time you get home, I'm tired of running. The boys need patience, love, humor, etc. and by dinner time I'm weary. When I tell you I've had it, I'm trying to pass the baton on to you. I just want you to take it for a couple hours so I can regenerate."
Talk about a "Duh" moment for both of us. So, even now, with only a 15 year old and a 6 year old "in the house", (our other 2 still live at home but we hardly ever get to see them) there are moments where "I've had it." But now I just say, "Mike, please take the baton for a while! I'm pooped."