Monthly Archives: June 2011

Jun 28

It Gets Easier. Right?

By Dustin | Children

Life as a young, busy family can be downright tough sometimes.

Here’s a scenario that any couple with small children can probably relate to…and I know we can because it’s a true (and completely typical) story for us from just last weekend.

One Hour, Two Thirty-Somethings, Three Small Children

Bethany and I are standing at the start of Mass at our church, confident that the kids are finally under control.

It’s been a long Sunday filled with lots of playing, cooking, feeding, driving, disciplining, doctoring, explaining, reading, loving, yelling, celebrating, stressing, enjoying and being…together as a family.  We’re certainly ready for some spiritual renewal.

The first five minutes have been a welcome respite, as the kids were distracted by the church musicians’ practice and were (kinda) quiet.

Then, just as Mass gets underway, comes the shrill, whiney “BRADENNNNN” from the mouth of our 4-year-old daughter Kendall to pierce the relative silence.

Braden has decided at this point in his life that he MUST have a green crayon.  No, unlike his little sister, he is not coloring.  But that green crayon is his or at least he NEEDS it right now.  Right now.

This isn’t our first rodeo, so Braden and Kendall are quickly separated to stand on either side of us.

Kendall gets her crayon back, Braden makes a (loud) appeal for keeping it, while our priest prays and appears to do a good job of ignoring that rude family in the third pew.  Braden relinquishes and is convinced through stern, not-so-quiet whispers from Mommy that this would be an excellent time to be quiet, turn around and respect God by paying attention.

For at least 5 seconds, calm ensued as if by Divine Intervention.  It was heavenly.

Then it was 11-month-old Avery’s turn.  She’s got an ear infection, so she rightfully requires some extra love and attention.

And she’s had plenty of it since I’ve been holding her the entire time with one arm, while policing the previous fight with the other.

Well, apparently being held, pulling my hair, periodically screeching like a rabid monkey, slobbering on me, arching her back away from me so as to maximize stress on my lower back, and kicking me in such a way as to discourage any future siblings isn’t enough.

It’s time to cry!

This is one of those resonating, inconsolable cries that everyone notices.  It even earns a look from our priest, and he’s pretty numb to such interruptions.

It’s at this time that the beads of sweat start to form on my forehead and my ears feel like they’re on fire as I’m sure the 300 people behind me are all staring at me wondering why I’m such a lousy father.

This is also the time that Braden decides it would be a swell idea to crawl under the pew, kicking the back of my knees in the process and nearly causing me to tumble.

As she sees my temper flaring, Bethany motions for the hand-off.

I give her screaming Avery so she can bail to the church foyer and end that madness.  Meanwhile, I wipe my forehead and look down…to see Braden waving a green crayon in Kendall’s face.  Her breath is held tight, mouth turned down and I can practically see the steam coming from her ears.

She’s gonna blow!

And so it goes for the next 50 minutes, off and on, between moments of true joy like genuine hugs and kisses between all of our family members during the Sign of Peace to many more moments of stress, frustration and a bit of physical pain.

It’s just another Sunday afternoon for the Riechmann family. 🙂

It Gets Easier

After Mass is over and we’re gathering up our things, a sweet older lady makes the point of walking up to Bethany and telling her how cute our kids are.

Naturally, it’s hard to accept such kind words at a time when you’re not sure if your children are possessed by demons, but a polite smile and a “thank you” was reciprocated.

But this lady had a bit of wisdom to share.  She smiled very knowingly and said, “Don’t worry, honey.  It’s tough with small children.  But it gets easier.”

Thank God.

It’s All Good

This is just a 10-minute snippet of our life as the parents of three small children.  Am I complaining?  A little.

But would I change it for anything in the world? Not a chance.

Small children are tough to raise, especially when you try so hard to be consistent and firm in your boundaries.  It requires a LOT of energy, patience and encouragement, even when it comes from strangers.

If you’re facing similar stress in your family life, be sure to get a healthy dose of regular date nights away from the kids, time alone with individual children so you can bond more directly, and give your spouse some time to be alone and just focus on taking care of their body.

That’s what we do as much as possible, and it makes all the difference.

We still have lots of struggles, but at the end of the day we are so incredibly thankful for the blessings of our crazy little children, screams and groin kicks and all.

So, for you slightly older families out there, does it really get any easier?

Jun 15

How to Handle Heated Arguments

By Dustin | Communication

Every couple gets into arguments with one another. In many cases, these arguments happen on a daily basis.

Hopefully, level heads prevail, but couples will inevitably encounter times when the discussion can turn a bit ugly.

With the divorce rate being approximately 41% for first marriages, it is crucial that every couple learns how to handle heated arguments.

Understanding the Differences Between Men and Women

It’s important to understand the differences between men and women in relation to handling an argument. Women tend to be more emotional and react to their feelings. On the contrary, men tend to be less emotional and more matter-of-fact.

During an argument, a woman may get even more upset and emotional if their spouse isn’t showing any sign of emotion, because it might make her think that he doesn’t really care. Similarly, a man may not understand why his wife is upset and crying about something that he doesn’t think is that big of a deal.

By understanding these key differences, you can try to better relate to your spouse by putting the situation into his or her perspective.

Speaking with a Calm Voice

During an argument, it is crucial that you do not shout or yell at your spouse. Instead, speak with a calm voice.

Yelling tends to make the situation worse. When one starts to yell, the other feels the need to yell even louder. This can cause both parties to get even angrier, causing the argument to turn into a screaming contest, instead of actually discussing the issue at hand.

When you speak in a calm voice, you send a message to your partner that you really want to resolve the issue and come to an agreement.

Bringing up Issues from the Past

Arguing can bring up old familiar feelings. Perhaps the current issue reminds you of something bad that happened in your relationship previously. However, it is essential that you do not bring these feelings from the past into the current argument.

When you do this, it shows your spouse that you haven’t truly forgiven them. This can add fuel to the fire, starting a whole new argument.

It may be difficult to push these feelings back, but doing so can help save a marriage by focusing on resolving the current issue you and your spouse are experiencing.

Agree to Disagree

Occasionally, it will be impossible for you and your spouse to reach an agreement during an argument. This is when you simply have to agree to disagree.

After doing so, you can set a compromise to resolve your quarrel, and get back to marital bliss.

What tips would you add to this list from your own experience with heated arguments?

This guest article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training Guide. Check out her site to learn more about dental assistant training and other exciting health careers.

(photo source)
Jun 09

Don’t Miss the Sexy Summit

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

If you’re looking to improve your sex life and ramp up the romance in your marriage, you won’t want to miss a special event that my friend Gina Parris is hosting next week.  I am honored to be one of ten experts featured in this interview series aimed at helping you enjoy the Sexy Marriage that God desires for you!

From June 13-17, you can learn from some of the best experts in the world on the topics of love, intimacy and sex.  And the best part is it’s totally free to attend.  Just click the link below for all the details:

Get the Details & Get Signed Up for the Sexy Summit

If you can’t catch all the interviews next week, no worrries. The transcripts and the audio recordings will be available to buy and listen to whenever you wish with a portion of the proceeds to benefit a very worthy charity.

I encourage you to do what it takes to be part of the Sexy Summit and put all of this amazing advice into action in your relationship.  After all, a healthy and thriving sex life is central to an extraordinary Christian marriage.

Go get signed up today!

Jun 02

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Wedding?

By Dustin | Finances & Careers

A member of the Engaged Marriage community recently shared the infographic below, and I found it pretty fascinating…but not surprising. It shows graphically just how much it costs to attend or be part of a wedding as a guest.

I know I’ve been part of probably a dozen weddings over the last 10 years as either a groomsman, an usher or a groom.  🙂

It is definitely an expensive honor!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments.  Do you think these average costs are accurate and, more importantly,  do you think it’s worth it?

Cost to Wedding Guests
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