While playing "Blair," a self-centered rich girl on the '80s hit TV show "The Facts of Life," Lisa Whelchel never could have predicted she'd eventually leave acting to become a mother of three, and best-selling author including her recent, Taking Care of the Me in Mommy (Integrity). Here's what Lisa and Steve Cauble, her husband of 18 years, had to say about marriage, parenting, and working out a balance between the two.
HOW ARE YOU MOST DIFFERENT?
Lisa: I'm more easy going and relational. I tend to let issues slide if they aren't that important. I can let the kids be kids and enjoy them that way. Steve, on the other hand, was responsible and obedient as a child, and he can't comprehend why we didn't produce kids like that.
Steve: I like things to be organized, so it's easier for me to focus on work. I have to consciously make myself be more relational, where for Lisa it comes naturally.
HOW DO YOU WORK THROUGH THOSE DIFFERENCES?
Steve: Lisa helps me handle kid situations that are especially frustrating, such as when they don't wipe the mud from their feet before tracking through the house. While my impulse is to blow my stack, Lisa thinks through the situation and helps me see that an eight year old probably won't stop and think like an adult would.
Lisa: I've learned, though, to wait until we're alone before letting him know I disagree with him. Then I can say, "You might have gone overboard. I think they were just having fun and got carried away." That way he can go and mend fences. Whereas if I take the kids' side in front of them, I'm essentially telling the kids he's a buffoon and sabotaging my relationship with my husband.
HOW DOES TAKING TIME FOR YOURSELF BENEFIT YOUR MARRIAGE?
Lisa: I'm less cranky and irritable. Whether it's spending time to laugh and vent with girlfriends who are going through similar frustrations or getting away by myself for some quiet time with God, I come back a much better mother and wife. And making those investments takes pressure off Steve. I'm building an additional support system, so I'm not looking to him to meet all my emotional, physical, and spiritual needs.
Steve: From a man's perspective it may seem counterproductive to make the sacrifice to give your wife time for herself. But it's going to make your family feel and flow better. Both the kids and I benefit as much from Lisa's time away as she does. She comes back not only more relaxed, but more loving and focused on us. You can't give constantly without replenishing the source. It doesn't take long, but the effects are amazing.
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