Starting a family can be the most exciting as well as frightening thing ever. Nothing could really prepare you for the things to come after you have your child. To actually make the decision it’s imperative to know your truth about each of them. It’s important to know your pain points before you start your family.
For couples who are planning to have children, it can be helpful to identify individual and family stressors before starting a family.
Having children rarely creates new problems for couples. Rather, small annoyances from before tend to get upgraded into bigger problems.
Some examples of common triggers include finances and environmental stressors; sources of joy might include faith or physical fitness.
The beauty of individuals, couples, and families is that we are all unique. The strengths we have to vary widely from each other; likewise, our weaknesses and fears will be vastly different. In the middle of the road, we have those things that cause us just the teensiest bit of stress. Like points of light in a constellation, these likes, dislikes, and fears make up the star systems of our lives.
Long before Vikings became masters of the sea, thousands of years before Europeans crossed oceans to colonize other people groups, Polynesians mastered long-distance voyaging that enabled them to travel thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. They used an art called Wayfinding that leveraged the use of the sea, birds, weather, and stars to guide them through uncharted waters towards a safe place to land.
Things To Consider Before Starting A Family
Couples who are planning to have children can learn many things from these ancestors. Just as these early explorers used the stars to find their way, couples today should identify what their individual (and family) systems and stars are as they find their way into family life.
The seas are going to be turbid, and this water truly is uncharted. The Polynesians knew their stars, so they knew which ways to go and which ways to avoid. We can apply the same principles in our lives to address new and old challenges that will arise.
For your family, you won’t know what new stressors will be created when you have a child, but you do know what stressors you encounter now as an adult and in your relationship. You also know what brings you joy and fulfills your needs for connection, peace, and love. These are your stars.
If you are not sure what these are, figure them out now, long before you have kids, because you won’t have the more emotional energy, physical energy, or mental energy after they arrive.
Examples Of Pain Points
Everyone is different, but a few common themes endure in terms of potential pain points that we would like to avoid in our lives. Some noteworthy ones include:
- Job/Career status
- Environmental stressors
- Relationship distress
How do you know if these apply to you or what your specific pain points are? Ask yourself these two questions:
- What do I easily get mad about?
- What do my partner and I frequently argue about?
The answers to these two questions will tell you a lot.
Examples Of Pleasure Points
We each need to engage in things that bring us joy and fill our emotional buckets. When our needs are being met, we feel healthy, capable, and have room to deal with the casual stress of life.
Some examples of pleasure points that can fill our bucket are:
- Physical intimacy
- A sense of purpose
- Connection to friends
- Physical fitness
How do you know what yours are? Ask yourself these two questions:
- What activity consistently puts me in a good mood?
- What would I be very sad about if I were to lose it?