Hi, I’m Gary

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(I’m not scruffy all the time, only early in the morning in my favorite chair reading Oswald Chambers and the Bible, with new puppy Molly climbing behind my neck)

In 1985 my wife’s husband was 34 years old, an alcoholic who drank 3 quarts of beer a day, fell asleep on the floor every night at 7 pm, no college education, no training or skills, no ambition, no motivation. He was lost, apart from God, unemployed half the time, drove an old Chevy Vega with a driver side door that flew open every time you made a right turn, never seemed to get around to fixing it. He drank behind her back and lied about it and she learned she couldn’t trust him.

My wife lived with this man in a 900 sf house with lots of arguing, mostly because he was clueless on how to be married or raise kids. He had vowed to himself not to have children until he ‘figured out how to be an adult’ but he never did and here they were, two daughters 11 and 8. (If you don’t already know them, the 11 year old was Myquillyn, and the 8 year old was Emily.)

This was normal for a long time.

This was my wife’s life.

I was the husband.

That’s how our family started, and how it went for the first 12 years or so of our marriage. No one had any reason to believe anything would ever change.

It changed.

It changed not overnight but over time.

Today our marriage majors on grace and patience and caring more for the other person than for ourselves. Most of our arguments are over giving the other person their wayyes, we argue over sacrificing for each other. We’re absolute best friends, and trust dominates and creates an inviting vibe in our home. Disagreements are brief and hardly an inch deep. We share a rich connection as a family between our daughters, their husbands, and their kids. And people seem to notice.

I love it, and that may be the most important measure: how do you feel about your family?

Wish I could say “Here’s how we did it! Follow these steps!” But it’s not that kind of thing. I don’t know exactly how we got here.

It’s more of a “Here’s what we do now” kind of thing. And I CAN describe that.

It turns out, humans don’t use explanations to make change happen. They change, and then try to explain it.

~ Seth Godin

I can share the attitudes we embrace now, and what the behavior looks like that is consistent with those attitudes. I can show you how a family like ours thinks and feels, and how we mess up, and I can try to help you connect the dots of that with your family. Maybe you’ll see something that fits for a family like yours.

I believe if my family can get here with the start we had, then your family can get somewhere unimaginably good, too.

You can get there no matter where you are now. And if you’re at a good place now, well, we want it to keep getting better, right? I sure do.

I believe – and this is important – that your attitudes and expectations shape your family. Change your attitudes and expectations, and your family changes.

Positive emotions, such as compassion and patience, are teachable skills; and the way we think directly influences our experiences of the world

~ Sam Harris

I believe small steps lead to big changes over time.

I believe by perseverance the snail reached the ark.

I believe you can make hay in a season, but growing an oak takes years, and your family is an oak.

I believe everything in your world fits and is connected, even when it doesn’t make sense. You, your family, God, your hopes and dreams, all your challenges and disappointments – they all fit somehow, and the more you see how they fit together, the better your family relationships get. This place here is designed to help you and your family relationships to keep getting better over time.

And I believe one person – one human person – you – CAN make a difference.

I’ll do my best to help you make that difference.

You have hope, but hope is more than waiting and wishing. Hope involves you. You can’t wait for the right circumstances. You can’t wait for others to change and see the light. Hope means a different future – a future you can’t make happen, but a future that won’t happen without your contribution. Contributions like patience and not giving up. Refusing to keep score. Putting high expectations on yourself, not others.

This is not a parenting place, but it covers parenting.

It’s not a marriage place, but it covers marriage.

This is a place to help your family relationships, whatever your family is.

This includes your whole family. Your whole family is that group of relatives that you think most about – your spouse, kids, your brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. All those in-laws and out-laws.

Whatever relatives are your greatest source of pleasure, pain, and concern, and who you want good for, that’s your family and this place is for you.

You could probably figure most of this out on your own by trial and error like me, but why make the same mistakes and take 20 years like I did?

It will still take time, just not as much. So this is a place where you’ll get the benefit of our experience and what we’ve learned, and you can start your journey to better family relationships way farther along than we were when we started. Or if you’re already in a great place, you can keep going from good to even better. And you can start right now.

If you’re not a subscriber, scroll up on the right. You’ll get a free guide with some ideas to help your family connect and get along.

And you could read these – it will take you less than 15 minutes:

Stop doing this and every relationship you have will improve

You can’t change your family but you can woo their hearts

The Mr. Rogers method for beautiful calm in your family

For the estranged, hardly talking family

Why wooing the heart wins

Please read this

And oh yeah,

Four things my wife needs to remember I can’t do (and that your man can’t do either)