Since starting this blog, I have been writing a post every year after our wedding anniversary. This one comes a little late, as we have just celebrated our FOURTH wedding anniversary, but I still want to take some time to sit down to reflect on some of the things that I learned in our third year of marriage.
As our third anniversary approached, J and I felt ready to bring a baby into the family because we felt that over the past few years we had created a strong identity as a couple, and one in which we would feel comfortable adding a new little member; a “family culture” if you will. Though having a baby at any time would have been a blessing, having had a few years to “find ourselves” as a family really made a difference; we needed the time to get to know who we were, what we stood for, and how we wanted to live our lives.
Though J and I come from families with similar cultural backgrounds and values, we have discovered over the years that we and our families are actually quite different. For example, I grew up in Toronto, and my family immigrated from Cairo; both bustling metropolises. J, on the other hand, grew up in Ottawa (a much smaller city) and immigrated from a small village in Lebanon. We realized that while my family and I are used to big city life, J and his family are used to a slower pace. This alone actually impacted a lot of the ways that J and I would run our lives, and it took a few years for us to find a common pace that both of us were comfortable with. I wouldn’t have thought of it at the outset, but it took a while to find a happy balance as to how we schedule our days and our weeks, how much social time we need with friends vs. how much time we need to ourselves as a couple. Some other questions that came up were: how do we spend our money and organize our finances as a couple? We knew how we liked to do this individually, but we had to find our way together – and this involved figuring out our family values in this area. How much time do we spend with family and friends? How often do we go out for dinner? How much time do we let work take? How do we serve our Church, charities and our communities? What foods does our family like to eat? (I will need to write a whole other post on this).
Now that I look back, I realize that our time in Halifax has really given us the time and space to answer these questions. We didn’t necessarily do it on purpose, but having some time across the country, away from our families and friends, gave us the time to figure out who we are as a family, enough so, that it prepared us to welcome a new member into the culture that we created. This is not to say that our culture won’t change or evolve, but just that we went from being two individuals, to one family, and it didn’t happen over night. Have you intentionally thought about your family culture? If so, what type of culture have you created. For those interested in reading a little more on this, here is an excellent blog post.