My husband Aaron and his family have very different family dynamics than my family has. We have both struggled with this in the past, and raising our family at times since we were both brought up pretty differently. Somewhere along the way we have found a compromise in our parenting methods and we have both had to make changes towards the way we think.
When it comes to Aaron’s family they are mostly liberal. They have all been raised to think and feel freely, even if its different from one another. This includes religion, politics and pretty much anything under the moon. His family consists of not only his siblings and parents but extended family as well. They are very open, everyone speaks their minds, and no one really has a filter. People have no issues, speaking about controversial topics, fighting in front of one another or stating opinions. After fights however, they tend to get over things and move on fairly fast. Aaron’s family is also more loving when it comes to showing others how you feel. They hug often, goof around and talk to one another about anything that excites them. There’s really no holding back when it comes to all emotions, anger, happiness, being excited, they feel free around one another.
With Aaron’s family when we have gatherings everyone must be invited, and we host about every 2 weeks. I wouldn’t dare invite one person over without the rest. They are a package deal. This ranges from his sisters, to parents and even his aunt and cousins. This is strange to me, but over time its become easier to understand. Everyone has an open door policy, has little knowledge of appropriate home times, and wants to gather often. As I’m speaking they really sound like an Italian family, but they aren’t. This is the best comparison however. My family on the other hand are polar opposites from Aaron’s. My siblings and I were all raised to be Christian conservatives. We were also brought up to be closed minded, and very sheltered from all real world things. I’m sure you can imagine what I ride I have had since I’ve become apart of Aaron’s family. When it comes to my family we consist of my parents, siblings, their spouses and kids. Everyone else for the most part is fairly extended. My family generally shares all the same views, and we know far better than to fight in front of one another often. When we do fight people take things to heart, and it creates giant cracks in the family.
I was raised pretty closed policy. We wouldn’t often go to peoples homes or have people over without invitations. We don’t ever host family events on my side. Normally my parents do, or we all go out someplace together. My family loves one another very much, but we don’t tend to touch one another, this works for me because I don’t enjoy being touchy with anyone. I hug my parents, nieces and nephews, but anyone outside of that would be odd. Family gatherings are more laid back with some beer and rum, otherwise things stay more serious. We get together mostly for holidays or bigger events. Not weekly, or even monthly. People don’t tend to overstay, and keep things pretty appropriate when it comes to attitudes and conversation.
As you can imagine, having these very 2 different families and upbringings has put a lot of stress on my marriage in the past. Aaron and I have changed a lot, compromised, and had to merge our ways into our parenting. We don’t struggle with how we want to raise our kids, and have somehow managed to get on the same page. It wasn’t easy but over some time it got easier. So if you and your spouse struggle with different views and really push to connect, it can happen. And soon you will become your own unit, create your own family values, and things will seem so much simpler.