Originally Published: August 21, 2017 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are at an impasse. He wants to have a fourth child; I want to stick with three. We both have equally valid reasoning for our cases, and we acknowledge each other’s points. Neither of us is budging. Whenever we have had disagreements in the past, we have found ways to compromise and come to an agreement that has satisfied us both.
However, with this particular disagreement, there is no compromise. Either we have a fourth child or we do not. I am not writing to ask you to pick a side. My question is this: How do my husband and I come to a decision about a matter that is so black-and-white and doesn’t have a gray area? — Standoff in South Dakota
Dear Standoff in South Dakota: You and your husband have built a foundation of understanding, love and willingness to compromise — a sturdy platform onto which a counselor or spiritual adviser could step and guide you through this conversation. Even if one of you were to bend and give in to the other’s preference, there could be lingering resentment, and talking it out would help clear the air. Whatever decision you end up making, a loving, nurturing family is what you both want. Keep that front of mind and you will have it.
Dear Annie: This is a plea for adults to see their parents as they are today and try to get beyond the past. I am the mother of five children and have one son who wants to have almost nothing to do with me. He doesn’t allow me to spend time with my 1-year-old granddaughter. He always says they have somewhere to go or something to do, but I know they can’t be going every moment of every day. They bought a home literally a minute away from mine, which makes this even harder. It breaks my heart to not be able to be a part of his and my granddaughter’s lives.
His father and I divorced when the children were young. I admit we stayed together longer than we should and that wasn’t good for anyone, especially the kids. I know the bad marriage and divorce hurt everyone, and half of that was me. No one escapes those situations without some scars. I have a wonderful relationship with my other children, and I haven’t stopped trying with my son and pray he’ll give me a chance one day.
For any readers out there who harbor anger or have issues with a parent: Please take the time to look at your parents today and realize they are human and make mistakes. Think about how much they must love you to be hurt over and over again but never give up. Talk to them and tell them how you feel. Parents can’t read minds, and you’d be surprised how much they’d like to talk to you. I’d rather have my son yell and scream if that’s what it would take to get it out so we could work past this.
I learned this lesson later in life: Forgiveness is such a great gift. It frees you and brings peace to your life. I hope your readers will try to look at things differently and give their parents a chance. — Never Stop Loving Them
Dear Never Stop Loving Them: Forgiveness is indeed a gift we give ourselves. Though it’s hard, I encourage you to keep allowing your son the space he needs. Give the problem to God. I hope that in time, he comes around and your little granddaughter becomes a bigger part of your life.
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