Noone Told Me That This Was Going To Be Such Hard Work
Linda Wechter-Ashkin PhD NCSP BC-TMHC ADHD CCSP
I have to admit I was never a little girl who dreamt of a prince charming and a fancy wedding with a beautiful dress. I loved children and knew I would work with them, but I never really imagined myself as a mother when I was playing with my baby dolls. My pretend play involved me being a teacher. I created a classroom and taught my baby dolls to read and wiped their tears when something was making them sad. I wasn’t a fairy tale kind of little girl. Maybe I had learned early that life is rarely a fairy tale.
I always thought that I would marry but we never talked about it at home. We never talked about right and wrong choices that made sense to me. There were suggestions about being on the right side of town and some about how they dressed and looked. But we never talked about what I really wanted for my life and how my choice in a partner could help me to follow my path or create the opportunity for a new path, good or bad. So, I just chose. And I made a lot of choices especially being that I was married by 21. If he looked good, I dated him. If he treated me badly, I didn’t pay attention because for the most part my friends were all in the same boat. When I started to date my husband, he was a breath of fresh air. He wasn’t jealous and treated me respectfully but to be honest we really didn’t discuss the big issues until we were in the middle of them later down the road.
I work with many young adults and one of the things I start to work on with them early is a helping them to develop a clear picture of what they want for themselves. We talk about financial goals, career goals, religious beliefs, where they want to settle down, their thoughts about marriage and children. We talk about the relationships they have observed and what they see as a healthy relationship. We talk about deal makers and deal breakers for them when it comes to partners and things they want to work on within themselves before beginning a new relationship. I teach them how to choose with intention. I teach them to see the red flags. I teach them to be open to choices that look different than what they are used to. I teach them that the choice they make when they walk down that aisle and say I Do should be the most thought-out choice of their lives. So, if you are looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right make sure you know who you are, and what you are really looking for. And if you don’t have the answers than find someone to help you to find them before you say I Do and later down the line wish you had said no thanks.