• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Leigh Tate
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Greg Martin
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • Nancy Reading
  • Mike Barkley
  • L. Johnson

How to balance ideals with reality

 
pollinator
Posts: 619
Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
66
hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Guys, I’m struggling and looking for some guidance…

Growing up, I always had faith in something bigger than me and my personal desires, and I always felt I had a purpose in life but couldn’t figure out what it was. I pretty much felt that way until graduating high school, when I started getting a lot of social pressure to conform. Due to a lack of knowing any alternatives, I caved. I went to a trade school and moved away for a “good” job afterwards. My girlfriend came with, although she REALLY didn’t want to (I didn’t pressure her, she came with because she thought we would split if we tried long distance). A few years later and I still have the same feelings as when I was a kid, but now I had a full time job, rent, utilities, a dog and a little debt. Normal. Then we got married (more debt, more responsibility). Normal. Then things started getting funky….

My wife was working and commuting to college and so was essentially unavailable to me. I was working and taking care of all the housework while simultaneously trying to find meaning and purpose in life. I cracked. Something happened one evening and I think panic attack, mental breakdown or spiritual awakening all can describe what I experienced. It was life changing and during the experience I had a vision (totally sober, mind you!) I saw my wife and I in what I can only describe as the Garden of Eden. We were happy and healthy, holding baskets of fruits and vegetables and surrounded by lush vegetation. I realized this is what I want out of life and that I can make this happen here and now. I discovered permaculture and dove in.

I explained to my wife that I was a different person now, I had found my purpose, my life had true meaning and my priorities would change. She was nervous… But we talked things through and decided to buy a house. It made sense and felt good. It was modern enough, large enough and close enough to town to make her feel good and had enough property and potential to allow me to fulfill my dream. And so began the unraveling of our relationship…

I cant say that I dove into permaculture 100% because that would definitely be a lie. What I did was put permaculture on a pedestal, as an ideal and as the only way for humans to live on this planet (which I still do believe is probably true). Obviously, this knocked her down a peg on my priority list. I was, and still am, working full time. But my job is so unrelated to my dream and my ideals that I feel the urgent need to compensate and basically bust my ass every day after work and all weekend doing the dance: planning, planting, building, growing, harvesting, preserving, cooking… and leaving my wife behind.

Currently, we are having a lot of serious discussions about feelings and priorities and our relationship seems to be in jeopardy. Ive spent the last 3 years of my life slamming back and forth between the extremes of hating my job (because the only way it helps me reach my dream/ideal is money, not fulfillment, satisfaction, joy or anything else) and compensating by frantically trying to recreate Eden in our front yard. I justified this because we need money to pay for this house and our debt, and we need Eden for us to live a happy healthy life and raise kids to do the same. I felt like what I was doing was in not only my best interest but also my wifes best interest and the interest of our unborn children. Apparently I was mistaken. My unwillingness to slow down, to do anything “against” my idealistic dream like go to sporting events or shopping with my wife, or to want to travel and be spontaneous made my wife feel that her and her feelings are not important. She feels like I’m leaving her behind and to be honest, I’ve felt that way before too. I get impatient. I’m pretty goal oriented and enjoy making progress and feeling productive. So, when I have “free time” I always want to get stuff done in the yard to make progress towards this idealistic dream.

I admit, I rarely make time for “us” because I thought “us” was the life we’re living. I’ve been trying to get a lot of things established before we have children, but ironically, my busyness and the lack of attention I’ve given my wife is making her question the relationship let alone children… I guess I thought getting to the commitment of marriage was the hard part and now that we committed, we could direct attention towards other things in life. But the relationship still seems to need attention too.

We have pretty different situations in life. I sleep like a baby, she struggles to sleep every night. Im a self reliant and confident, she’s reliant on friends and family and is self conscious. She’s a fighter, I am not. She likes fun, I like feeling useful and productive. It seems to me that these differences have always been a bit of a struggle but also have led to the majority of personal and relationship growth over the years. But it does get exhausting and she wonders if it’s ever supposed to get easier. I don’t expect much of anything in life to get easier, not to say that I’d complain if it did! It seems to me that for two different types of personalities to stay together, a common bond would have to be shared. Something that each agreed is the main priority in life so that could supersede all the other things that come up. I feel like working towards an idealistic dream could be that common tie, so long as the feeling is mutual. If I can get her to commit to working towards this lifestyle, i would happily slow down for her and even help her along when needed. But I’m headed in this direction one way or another and if she’s not even interested in that then I dont see how this could continue.

What complicates things more is that she’s sleep deprived almost always. And, in 7 years of living here (2.5 hours from where we grew up, in a similar sized town and environment) she still really misses friends and family. Although shes made a few new friends here and we head back home relatively often, she still struggles to live here. Dont get me wrong, I miss my family too (most friends moved away by now) but I’m a loner, and I get along just fine either way. And honestly, our house and property here is so perfect for what we want, and I’ve put so much time and effort into it, acquired so many resources and planned so many future projects that moving would tear my heart out. She knows this…And when we bought the place I told her it would be hard not to get attached to it because its got almost everything we need.

I know I’d be alright if we moved. It would just feel horrible for a while. And I would be terrified that the new owners wouldn’t respect the place in the same way that I’d like to think any permie would. Id hate to sell it to some people who undo my hard work and love to “get the yard back”. But if we moved I’d probably keep the same dream and just retrofit it for a new situation. Nice thing about permaculture is you can do it anywhere. And being closer to family could be nice with aging parents, possible children in the future and a crazy crazy world we’re living in.  

I’ll quit rambling. I guess I’m just looking for advice on a few things:

Do any of you struggle balancing permaculture, or a different ideal, with your partner?

Do you all feel this sense of urgency, or is this probably because of my disdain for my job and current world events?

Is a common goal in life necessary for a relationship to work with people of different personalities? Or just for any couple?

Am I crazy to give up a “good job” and the perfect house to help make my wife happier by living close to family?

Thanks in advance, any advice is appreciated!
 
gardener
Posts: 498
Location: Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
361
2
kids dog forest garden personal care trees foraging
  • Likes 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brody, sounds like you are in the midst of a tough life transition. I relate to a lot of what you described. I hear some "sunken cost fallacy" in not wanting to give up what you put into your current place. I have moved several times and given up a lot of work put into other places, but ultimately the landscape is meaningless if your other needs aren't going to be met there. It's normal to grieve the loss and lament not being in  control of the places' future. I take comfort in the skills, experience, knowledge gained during the time that will always be with me. And try to remind myself that whether or not it continues, the life/ecosystem/restoration/carbon sequestration etc. that was achieved during the time I was in control is always meaningful and a positive even if it doesn't last. After all nothing lasts.

I remember being all-consumed with the urgency of the permaculture way, so much so that it became tied to my self worth. Anything not permaculture or not sustainable that I did was bad and I was bad and wrong, hurting the earth, hurting everyone's future, whenever I did anything not perfectly aligned with my perceived permaculture ideals. I also felt I needed to make up for past behavior and offset the unsustainable parts of my life by permacultur-ing extra hard. This way of thinking was unsustainable, costing my mental health and my relationships.

I related to your description of a permaculture awakening that changes your whole perspective, purpose, priorities. I went through another kind of awakening which kind of settled me back down in a way and broadened my perspective to include permaculture as just a part of everything. Where we are today is the product of everyone and everything that came before and I think I was putting an unfair expectation on myself of fixing the world and as quickly as I could separating from the unsustainable modern world. The reality is that I can only do what I can. I'm cutting myself some slack and taking less responsibility for things outside of my control. I wasn't born into this society on purpose and I didn't make it this way. Of course I will do what I can to change it, but I don't beat myself up for what I can't change anymore. I went through a grief process for the state of the world and the inevitability of suffering, devastation, and what not. In accepting all that and accepting how little I can individually actually do, I became free to enjoy my progress however big or small, to not feel guilty about spending time with my family or having fun, to get excited about a new project without the specter of obligation looming, and to rest. That is the balance I have reached between my ideals and reality so far. Hopefully that all made sense...

I think the most important skill in a relationship is communication and it sounds like you guys are communicating well. I don't think partners necessarily have to have a common goal as long as your differing goals don't contradict one another, and you can be supportive of each other's differences without getting resentful. Ultimately I think it's important to accept your partner as they are and expect the same from them. I think it's important for a partner to listen to your perspective, but at the same time we can't expect them to change their minds or have an awakening based on the same information or in the same time frame as we did. Spending a whole life side by side, each one will be ahead or behind at certain points. What matters is if it's something you can wait on and for how long. But of course in your relationship, if having the same goals is very important for you, then that's what's important for you and that's ok.

I think it's totally normal to give up a "good job" and perfect house for any reason you think is important to you. Your job doesn't sound very good for you from how you talk about it though. We have left jobs and moved a few times. When it becomes clear that the current situation isn't working for us, it's time to move on. I wonder if there is work that is more aligned with your current values if you moved back?

I think it's amazing that you guys are able to openly communicate these things!
 
Posts: 264
Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
38
monies cooking building
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi, Amy has a lot of good things to say. Trying to see the other end of the tunnel can be daunting in the dark. Here is something to consider.

I once read a book called the Five Love Languages.  In essence I was speaking One language and my wife and children another.  To truly love my wife I needed to speak her language, and she mine.  I put my life, my mission, my goals on hold to work on myself so I could communicate in her language. It wasn't easy at first but I became accustomed to her love language and she mine. We now work together on everything, but not everything equally as my dream and hers are somewhat different.  We also give permission for each other to do our own thing.

I internalized something this year after my wife had gotten sick and I became her caregiver for many months.  I knew this knowledge but didn't really know it. The only thing we have is each other and our memories.  If the land goes to hell, I'm ok with that. If it doesn't, praise God also.

Go and live in peace-

 
pollinator
Posts: 2258
Location: Denmark 57N
561
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A question for you, if she turns round and says, lets go into town this weekend get a meal see a movie, what do you say?  If you say I'm building a new shed this weekend what does she say? If the answer to the first one is often no. and the second one always ok (probably with a shrug). then you need to stop thinking about you and start thinking about us.


Do any of you struggle balancing permaculture, or a different ideal, with your partner?
He doesn't care at all, no we compromise on things he helps a bit I don't insist we have a fire in the living room

Do you all feel this sense of urgency, or is this probably because of my disdain for my job and current world events?
Not at all, There really is no rush, life will go on maybe not as it is now but it will go on.

Is a common goal in life necessary for a relationship to work with people of different personalities? Or just for any couple?
If one partner holds very tightly to an ideal or goal then yes. otherwise no.

Am I crazy to give up a “good job” and the perfect house to help make my wife happier by living close to family?
No, you would be being a good person forcing someone else to be miserable is not a relationship goal. However if moving back would make you miserable then...



Have you thought about commune living?  You say she likes to have family and people around, that would give her that, and it would give you other people of like mind to work with rather than always being on your own.
 
Posts: 74
Location: eastern cape breton, 6b
33
cat fish ungarbage
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brody:

I am sorry you are struggling wit this however take comfort in the fact that you are facing it head-on and at the same time admitting that you don't have all the answers.

REGARDLESS of the outcome, continue to be honest and raw about your situation, your feelings and continue to rehearse the issues - and talk to your wife. there is no guarantee that your relationship will survive, there is no guarantee of anything in life.. yet you have to keep going and doing and searching - especially with the personality you describe yourself as having - leading to problems sandwiched between:

"the future is unwritten" - Joe Strummer
"the unexamined life is not worth living" - Aristotle

Amy gives you some fantastic advice about the existential angst that is typical in your situation and the pitfalls that accompany that angst - this quote especially resonated with me:

"I also felt I needed to make up for past behavior"

don't go down that route in particular - i've been through it too - daily i see the horrors we inflict on our only home and the creatures that share it with us - only for unnecessary comfort, profit and greed >> there is a perpetual nausea that accompanies this realization and i will be frank - it never goes away, you have to manage it.. and you CAN mitigate it be being as self-reliant as you can, adopting a permaculture oriented lifestyle, buying use whenever you can, ditching cosmetics... not attending sporting events etc. ( full disclosure - i am an extremist in my view, i would abolish all professional and international sport tomorrow - the waste and environmental impact is appalling if you really think about it)

and i am no saint - it is bit by bit you change and that will have to do - keep going forward.. stick with your own plan - from what i can read from your brutal honesty, yes you could move from the current physical space, but you will not easily move away from yourself - and that never works out...

which brings us to the relationship part you can compromise but you have to be careful what you compromise about and be sure it is done honestly, Amy, Arthur and Skandi all offer you TERRIFIC insight into relationship success - reread what they have to say... their advice is the best you could have that will help you make your relationship successful..

mine failed -

i am still "in the woods" growing food, fishing, recycling, planning for solar, learning new skills etc. my partner moved "closer to town" after 9 years in our little shitbox on rough acreage.. she missed having a nice home, decorating, dressing up an going out with people

there was friction about what we were doing, to what extent we were "all-in", how that saving the planet wasn't our job... etc. yes, i was uncompromising at the end, so was she ....

here is the kicker..

moving from a big city , quitting my really good job and moving to the woods on her pension...was HER idea! and there was no compromise on that ... she went "all-on" on the prepping movement after 2008 being instrumental in the early organizations and forums etc. . we got a bugout location on her home island of cape breton and after an issue with neighbours in town we moved hastily to a rather remote location to begin anew and live on  a homestead, self sufficient etc.  i was reluctant but had to go along - she was going anyway so i quit my job, friends family etc. and moved to nowhere without the skills required... many years of mayhem and struggle ensued... gradually i learned what was required, gradually i worked long hours on all kinds of stuff , i got work closer to the homestead.. i REALLY gave it a shot to survive out here where she "loved the quiet" and "just wanted to be left alone"

well that was then and this is now and i gravitated towards the lifestyle and she away from it - she is in a big house by herself in a small village - LOTS of friend and neighbors, she has reconnected with old military friends online.. i help her around her place with chores when i can and get supplies etc.... i am, like all of us, a flawed individual - i cannot make up for past mistakes, but i CAN refrain from repeating them, do my best to say no to resentment and regret, and hope the best for her

after a destructive unravelling 2 years ago, i had the worst winter of my life... no real work, paying the same bills, lonely, desolate etc. sometimes in the dark, in a snowstorm with no power, everything rattling..

that spring i decided to garden anyway, by myself... it was bittersweet but i stubbornly began again anyway... to my surprise, it invigorated me beyond my expectations and helped the healing process... i spent many many many nights sorting through all kinds of rats nests in my head - i am fortunate - i survived intact and there is no looking back for me

i go to the "big city" (50, 000 people) every 2-3 weeks... the sights and sounds are appalling (i particularity resent being constantly bombarded with advertising) - everyone lives so close together etc. etc... i have made peace with it - this is who i am and the things that i hold to be true and i don't waver on them, but i can't really expect others to change either just because either - that part you have to let go. " you can lead a horse to water......"

BUT my story is to demonstrate that people do change anyway - you just can't CONTOL that part and you don't know what will happen, despite all your "prepping"... my god we has so much food stocked waiting for TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) to happen as the system collapsed... well it didn't and the food went stale, and freezer burnt, and we couldn't store all the canning jars, and we planted too much... etc. etc. etc. stocking up on ammo for crying out loud.. in canada !!??!!

well - bailouts and such and no meltdown... f250s are all the rage in the burbs now... travel to exotic locations is the shit ... i don't get it

and covid was supposed to be a rallying cry for humanity along with the climate change.. still, we are buying just as much shit in packaging... probably more with "covid crafts" - watch "nomadland" - the amazon factories are terrifying.. and that was then!!

your angst is real, your angst for her is real, your angst for the planet is real, your goals are real... the dangers we ALL face are real.. and if it seems to you that people aren't listening, well, they aren't...

do what you can but don't lose yourself either. this may sound like i am not in the camp of "making it work" believe me, i tried, often flawed mind you, but i tried.. so did she, in spades...and that was accompanied by much self destructive behavior all around..

our personalities were probably not compatible long term, but then again, like i have said, people also change and no matter how much you plan for it, you cannot control the outcome..

"be prepared" is as much a mental/emotional/spiritual mantra as it is physical one  - i wish you the very best of luck and fortune - peace!

(p.s. - sorry for the rambling - i sat down to this with my morning coffee and all kinds of bells went off ;-)


 
gardener
Posts: 1119
297
3
forest garden wofati composting toilet solar rocket stoves
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You need to be truthful with yourself and ask how important is your marriage first. I've never seen a marriage where after the couple married they could say "finally, we're done having to put effort into our relationship!" You both will always need to put in effort or eventually one or both of you will be unhappy with it. I would definitely not be thinking about kids as that will make things much worse, not solve anything.

Has your wife shown much/any interest in what you have dove into? Can you adapt your goals to fit with her goals if she's not really into it? For example if you find a house near her friends/family, and it has enough yard that you can grow a food forest around it without changing the landscape in ways that make her unhappy, would that work for both of you? Consider Paul's eco scale, maybe you were level 0-1 and suddenly want to dive into level 4-5. If she's still level 0 she may easily find that crazy. If she has no interest in leaving level 0, then the two of you will have some serious tension that will take a toll on your marriage.

So I would start with having some conversations to find out where she stands on some of these items, and then if you are far apart you can see if there's a path you both can take to reach a happy place for both of you. It might take some time for her to find level 1 ideas cool, and then additional time for level 2 etc. I think it's important to find some activities/goals that you both share, otherwise if you each are always off doing your own thing and not spending much time together, that will also strain your marriage. Relationships take time and effort, whether you're married or not.
 
master steward
Posts: 7233
Location: USDA Zone 8a
2177
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To me, reality comes first because that is something I cannot change easily.

I am my own person, I don't expect my spouse to like the same things that I like.  We have our common interests where some are the things he likes and some are the things I like.

He likes to go fishing so I went fishing just to be with him and be outdoors.

He likes hunting so I went with him to the deer lease so I could be with him and be outdoors.

I like sewing.  I don't expect him to like to sew.

I like to read books though I don't expect him to like books.

I like Louis Lamour's books, he likes Louis Lamour's movies.

My guess would be that permaculture might be one of my ideals.  I don't even know if my spouse has ever heard the word.  I know I have never spoken the word to him.  I do talk with him about plants, gardens, harvests, cooking, etc.

We both like wildlife, being outdoors, traveling, etc.

I also consider marriage is like a business, I am married to my business partner. I run my household like a business.  I am the accountant and I pay all the bills.

Do I balance ideals with reality ... sure.  What has this got to do with my spouse?
 
Posts: 42
Location: Tennessee
38
homeschooling kids urban books writing homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
From reading what you have written, I think that you are a thoughtful, verbal, and hard-working idealist. That combination in your personality probably makes you particularly vulnerable to the current state of things in this world, leading to your sense of urgency and your disdain for all the yuck, both visible and invisible. You can see and say what many other people cannot.  But--those elements in your character are also leverage to make a huge positive difference in your own life, and your family's, and many more besides.  

Bravo to you for what you are dreaming of, working on, and hoping for. The self-awareness you have of how things are going with your relationship and in your own inner world are absolutely priceless. That right there is a HUGE indicator of hope and growth to come.

I’m guessing you’re the kind of person that enjoys thought experiments! Maybe think about things this way for a day or two: You’re doing Permaculture with your lot, but perhaps not yet with your life. And by that I mean ALL of your life: including marriage, hobbies, employment, future plans, etc., all a part of the personal ecosystem. Use your thoughtful, perceptive nature to generate better “design” for them.

Two things jumped out at me from your writing:
  • From what I’m reading, it seems like you and your wife would both would be happier if you were “home.” You’ve been transplanted for awhile and it’s not working as well as you hoped. If you both belong in a different “microclimate” two hours away, you just won’t thrive as well where you are now! If you try and sell your house, consciously try to sell to a like-minded person, perhaps posting it here on this site, for peace of mind.
  • It seems that your dislike of your current employment is causing a vicious cycle that results in a strain on your marriage. How can you change your money situation so that you don’t need to work in so bleak a scenario that it requires you to compensate in your time off? *Getting a cheaper house/rent? *Freelance employment? *Simultaneous side-hustles? *Stay-at-home fatherhood?

  • You and your wife do want the same things, really—happiness and well-being for your family now and in the future. It’s the how-to that is your question. If you haven't already, you can work out a priorities list together that will focus your upcoming decisions and choices.  

    Best wishes for your future! Keep looking--you'll find a way!
     
    gardener
    Posts: 574
    Location: Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
    380
    forest garden fungi foraging trees urban chicken medical herbs ungarbage
    • Likes 5
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Brody, this sounds really tough for both of you. The first thing that pops to my mind is this:
    It sounds like both of you have deep, essential needs that don’t feel seen by the other, let alone met. You have had a life changing realization and shift in priorities that don't feel shared by your wife, or in some cases, like she's going the opposite direction. She has a need for connection with friends and family, including you, that isn't being met. I wonder if one or both of you feel some resentment towards the other and that the needs of the other are in the way of your own. But neither of your needs can be given up. I bet with some creative thinking and work together, you can both get what you need and keep growing in love.

    It's pretty clear that you need someone who shares your interest in permaculture and that makes sense. It seems possible that she may be willing to do that, but you will need to accept that she's behind you on the eco-scale. And that's okay. I could imagine it would be hard for her to want to engage in that when her needs for quality sleep and interpersonal connection aren't being met! I think it could really help to ask yourself how willing you are to meet her need to connect with you in ways that feel connecting to her (even if you don't always like the way it looks) and without judgement of her. It really seems like you’ve changed a lot since the relationship started, which is great. But that might be scary for her in some ways. It sounds like it feels like a threat to the relationship, since you aren’t as interested in what she is these days. If she sees your interest in permaculture that way, I could see there being lots of resistance. Meeting her where she is and letting her know you want to share time with her in ways that work for her seems key to remedying that and nurturing the relationship.

    Tying back to the sculpture, what you've shared also reminds me of this from the late, great Kurt Vonnegut:

    "Here is what women really want: They want lives in folk societies, wherein everyone is a friendly relative, and no act or object is without holiness. Chemicals make them want that. Chemicals make us all want that. Chemicals make us furious when we are treated as things rather than persons. When anything that happens to us which would not happen to us in a folk society, our chemicals make us feel like fish out of water. Our chemicals demand that we get back into water again. If we become increasingly wild and preposterous in modern times--well, so do fish on river banks, for a little while."  *


    It sounds like both of you are trying to get back into water again, albeit through seemingly different means. And trying to connect with one another, but perhaps feeling thwarted or misunderstood. I imagine this might be related to the source of the urgency you are feeling, which is totally understandable. It sounds like your job is really making you feel out of alignment with what matters most to you. Like he said, fish on a river bank. I get the impulse to make big moves, but permaculture is about small and slow solutions. What small steps could you take, preferably together, to get closer to both of you feeling like you're back in the water of what you need? I also wonder if perhaps your wife has something to teach you about people care? I feel like that's a sometimes overlooked part of permaculture and it sounds like even if she isn't approaching it in a permie way, she has a natural draw to it. I know you said you're self reliant, but it sure sounds to me like you really feel a need to connect with like minded people and maybe for your wife to feel more like one of them.

    I think it's really important to understand that it is totally natural, normal and workable to have differences in relationship. It's all about how you choose to approach them. Even "problems" that don't get "fixed" don't have to be the end for the relationship, if they're approached skillfully and lovingly. The Gottman Institute is a really amazing resource for learning ways to communicate that lead to greater connection and deepening love. They've got some great stuff on this particular subject. https://www.gottman.com/blog/managing-conflict-solvable-vs-perpetual-problems/
    One thing they've learned predicts very strongly whether a relationship fails or succeeds is how couples respond to one another's bids for connection. Perhaps not surprisingly, couples who respond frequently and positively when the other makes a bid succeed and those who ignore or respond in an irritated way usually end up apart. What Skandi said is a good example of bids:

    Skandi Rogers wrote:A question for you, if she turns round and says, lets go into town this weekend get a meal see a movie, what do you say?  If you say I'm building a new shed this weekend what does she say? If the answer to the first one is often no. and the second one always ok (probably with a shrug). then you need to stop thinking about you and start thinking about us.


    Maybe put some extra energy into making sure you respond in a positive way when she makes bids for connection. I think to avoid getting stuck and feeling hopeless or frustrated in relationship challenges, it's really important to focus on what you can change about how you respond, rather than what you’d like her to change.

    For what it's worth, my partner and I both are permies and have a shared vision we've developed over time. Yet we still have our challenges. Building a life that bears little resemblance to what most of us have seen and had modeled is hard sometimes! We've had to do a lot of work learning to communicate well. Arthur's suggestion of the Five Love Languages is an excellent one. Those ideas have certainly helped us. It's really easy for people to get caught in patterns of doing things that feel like loving gestures to them and feeling frustrated when it isn't received and appreciated by their partner. One can get so caught in that frustration, that they fail to see that it may not feel like love to the other person at all, sometimes even quite the opposite.

    Brody Ekberg wrote:Am I crazy to give up a “good job” and the perfect house to help make my wife happier by living close to family?

    I don't think you're crazy at all. More like going sane in a crazy world. It doesn't sound like a very good job for you emotionally, mentally or goal wise. As for the house, if your wife's need to be close to family can't be met there, it doesn't seem like a great fit either. Both of you deserve to have your needs met and it may well be possible. It just might take a lot of work. But I think if you’re both committed, you can do it!

    I love, love, love what Rachel said. That your relationship with your wife could actually be a path to deepening your permaculture practice is a wonderful way to look at what seems like a problem.

    *Just in case it's not clear, when he says chemicals, he's referrring to neurotransmitters, hormones, etc. The whole piece, titled "Address to the National Institute of Arts and Letters" is excellent and can be found in his book Wampeters, Foma and Granfaloons.


     
    master gardener
    Posts: 3634
    1600
    2
    personal care gear foraging hunting rabbit chicken cooking food preservation fiber arts medical herbs homestead
    • Likes 10
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Personally, I often *feel* like I'm dragging John through my permie dreams, kicking and screaming. Then, I stop and assess our actual situation. John and I are at different levels, and sometimes, that creates a ton of tension, but at the same time, when I stop and think about it, I started - mentally, emotionally, and physically - down this path, as a kid. A little kid. John started on this path - mentally - about 7 years ago, but in his head, it was all a silly, romantic notion, and he was only barely entertaining the idea of someday having a few chickens and some quail. The tiny seeds of physical education and commitment were planted a little over three years ago, when we bought this place, and 6mos later, when we got some baby chicks, and a henhouse/run for them to move into (after they were old enough to grow out of their little pool, in the living room!).

    He's a "city-boy" (there is no offense meant in that phrase - only that he was born and raised in the city, and he refers to himself that way) who is learning, very quickly,  I think, how to homestead. It's incredibly hard on him, sometimes. He's not always happy about the way things go, and there's the simple fact that because of my history and experience, I sometimes forget how new it is, to him, and come across more callously than I mean to. Sometimes, he gets frustrated and tired of it, and wants to throw in the towel, and go back to the city. What I've learned is to just give him whatever space and time he needs. What he's learned, is that I'm fine *doing it*, whether he helps me, or not, and that doing it really is his choice, as far as I'm concerned. So, we stay. I keep plodding along, and I celebrate each step he takes in the permie direction, and breathe through each step he takes back. I watch his progress, so that I can celebrate it, and so that the bigger picture is obvious to me, when he balks, or needs to take a step back.

    It's not always easy. I have to breathe, give us both a break, and remember what's most important, to me, and where my priorities are - and he has to do those things, too. We made some promises to each other, including keeping our relationship first. We all have to find that balance, ourselves.


     
    Posts: 9
    Location: Zone 5b Michigan
    5
    • Likes 5
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    This was quite a thread to start me off here... gave me lots of food for thought, thank you!

    Do any of you struggle balancing permaculture, or a different ideal, with your partner?
    I wouldn't call it "struggle" - We share many of the same concerns, but not to the same degree, and in some cases even when we share those concerns to the same degree, our lives are different enough that we cannot do the same things about them.  What that means is that I'm the SAHM who homeschools the kids and runs the homestead, while he works up in town... and he works enough hours that he's exhausted when he gets home and falls asleep reading a book at 8PM, and between that and travel, he cannot often help around here.  It is what it is.  I know he'd do more if he had time.  We have some differing goals that cause some friction - he does love to travel, (and his job often sends him overseas for 6-8 weeks at a time), and I don't enjoy traveling much at all.  I find it stressful because it's such a hassle to find someone to care for everything here while I'm gone.  

    Do you all feel this sense of urgency, or is this probably because of my disdain for my job and current world events?
    I have no sense of urgency anymore.  Instead,  I have a sense of regret... The urgency seems to have disappeared in the last 3 years or so, as I've graduated a kid, and have only the youngest still homeschooling 6 more months.   I always wanted more time and needed more energy for all the things I wanted to do, and wanted us to do together... I regret not spending more time doing kid things with the kids, instead of trying to get so much done around the homestead in the shortest time possible.  Relationships are far more important than a lot of the chores and projects that ONLY I wanted done.  I should have let the kids help in the kitchen more instead of chasing them outside, just because it was going to take longer and be messier if they helped.  I should have played more of the games they wanted me to play (even though they weren't games I found enjoyable in themselves), kind of like going shopping with your wife - the activity isn't one you would ever choose to do by yourself, but the point of it is building the relationship, not in completing the activity as efficiently as possible.
    Anyway, I still have a lot of goals, but I've also had 2 back surgeries and I have bursitis and arthritis in my right shoulder - some things just take a lot longer, or require me to wait for someone to help.  If it gets done, yea!  If it doesn't get done today, there is tomorrow if I'm still alive then.  Part of the attitude change (I used to be very, very driven and goal-oriented, and unhappy if I wasn't working on something and making progress on those goals)... is that I'm more aware that someday the sun is going to fry the planet, and I cannot stop that.  I know this sounds weird, but I don't find that hopeless.  I find that it takes the hopelessness and anger AWAY  - instead I feel that if I do what I can, I can be satisfied with that.  I am only responsible for me and my own actions, I don't need to put my limited emotional energy into things I cannot control, only into the things I can.  I don't know if your feelings relate to your job... I don't have a job off this homestead.  I am concerned about world events, but not in a disdainful way... the actions people take are based on the choices they think they have, with the tradeoffs they recognize.  I love Marcus Aurelius' Meditations... and I paraphrase him this way, "You are going to meet a lot of jerks today.  They act like jerks out of ignorance, because they don't know any better.  You don't have that excuse, so don't act like a jerk."  It's harder to be angry at people behaving like jerks when you know they are doing it out of ignorance.

    Is a common goal in life necessary for a relationship to work with people of different personalities? Or just for any couple?
    Well, you have to share some goals.  There are some things that will just make a relationship impossible long-term... like one person wanting a dozen kids while the other person doesn't want any.  There are some things like that that there may not be a workable compromise for.  But for other things - like my husband and I want to be as prepared as possible for whatever Nature and the economy do... so, I garden and preserve a lot of food, and he hunts and builds garden infrastructure for me and sometimes broadforks new areas- but I don't think I've seen him sow, weed, or harvest a single inch of my garden in 20+ years.  It's ok.  While I think it would be nice if he'd do that in the garden with me, he thinks it would be nice if I would hang out in a tree stand with him during deer season... but I generally only hunt alone, and only after everyone else in the family is out of time to hunt and only if the freezer isn't full yet.  There are a lot of things like that.  It's actually kind of funny - he asks me to go shopping with him a lot, usually for tools or something, and I tend to not go, because I think how much I can get done if I stay home instead...We aren't perfect at the relationship thing, by any means, but we are both still trying, and we've been married 28 years so far.  

    Am I crazy to give up a “good job” and the perfect house to help make my wife happier by living close to family?
    It doesn't actually sound like a good job - it sounds like you really want to be doing something else.  My husband took a 70% pay cut 20 years ago to move here.  He doesn't regret quitting that job, and neither do I.  However, it's really hard to give up a place you've worked to improve, especially if it is as close to perfect as you think you can find.  I hate Michigan for a lot of reasons, but I'd have a hard time leaving this homestead because I've put so much work into it in the last 10+ years.  Having said that, neither my husband nor I have any desire to live any closer than 250 miles from the rest of our family.  I'd move if his job moved him (a move out of his control), but I'd have a real hard time moving from this spot if he just wanted to be closer to his blood relatives... precisely because this homestead is as close to perfect as I'm ever likely to get.  

    I hope my rambles answered the questions you asked.  And I think the effort you are putting into thinking about your life and what you want out of it will serve you well.   The only piece of advice I can give you is to put less energy and emotion into all the things that are not in your control... and the only thing that is actually in your control is how you respond to everything and everyone.  it's hard to keep that in mind, but I have found it immensely helpful.  I hope it is to you as well.  And thank YOU for making me think about these things... it will help me to improve my life, as well.
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 917
    Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
    315
    kids dog home care duck rabbit urban books building writing ungarbage
    • Likes 6
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I think the core of the issue here comes down to a single word, with multiple definitions: INVESTMENT.

    There is the investment in education,  personal relationships, property, and ideals - just to name a few - and they all have different values for different people,  and at different times of one's life.

    I think each of you may need to throw "investment" off the table and stop seeing change as loss (of investment) and rather focus on growth, truth, and honesty.  Perhaps it is time to truly reassess what you both desire out of life; lifestyle, family,  friends,  hobbies,  recreation,  finances, etc.   I fear your original plan, from WAY back when, stopped serving you a long time ago and a new plan was never formulated OR everyone is so busy compromising that no one is getting what they want or need to feel fulfilled and happy.

    You could, each individually, create lists to outlining your personal goals, dreams and expectations.  Then share, discuss and then jointly create a master plan that suits you both.  BUT be prepared that this sort of honesty does not necessarily mean your marriage, lifestyle or current plans will survive.  In my opinion, compromising only works when each party feels THEY have lucked out and both parrties feel content and happy.  Compromising the wrong way breeds resentment, misery and hate; everyone eventually feels ripped off, cheated, and filled with with regret.
    It's very possible that your dreams and hers are no longer compatible  -  that you have both grown,  but in such different directions the core values are no longer shared.  

    Change is not failure.  

    Change comes from learning, experiencing and maturing.  Consider releasing the concept of investment and instead replace it with one of education  -  life is "schooling" you both.  It is entirely possible that the "degrees" you signed up for are not the ones you received, but incredibly, are the ones you need.

    At the end of the day, or ones life, it's not ones investments but the harvests that count.  Knowing when to walk away when a situation, job or relationship no longer works or serves its its purpose are the hardest of life's lessons.   The only thing that is harder is having the self awareness to be honest with ourselves, those we love, and those who love us.

    ALL your investments will end, at some point.  Some will "pay off" others may feel like a loss,  but they are ALL a part of  learning life, and all it has to teach you,  if you choose to "hear the lesson".

    In my opinion,  it is time for you and your wife to take stock of your individual wants,  needs and desires; then, simply take the path that best suits your combined dreams.    Remember,  investments are just that, investments; do not define your future based on fear of loss, but rather on your pursuit of happiness, fulfillment, and contentment. Good luck!

    P.S. for some a counselor, therapist,  or other third party may be incredibly helpful in sorting this stuff out, especially when couples find themselves with what often appears to be different definitions of "happiness".

     
    pollinator
    Posts: 359
    Location: Málaga, Spain
    104
    home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
    • Likes 4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hey, are you me one year ago? I had the exact same troubles, including insomnia.

    We were on the verge of divorce, but I didn't want to give it all up for a dream. So we scheduled priorities. It seems to be working for now.
    What we agreed was the following:
    1. Once per week, a romantic activity, a family activity. and a social activity. Sometimes the same activity can be shared, if it is long enough. This way, we don't forget about our duties towards the family and the couple.
    2. Limit hobbies outside home to just twice per week, on sessions that are less than three hours long. That's gardening for me, Pilates gym for her.
    3. Once per month, there's one day when rules don't apply.

    This is not perfect. Sometimes we have holidays, or events that meddles with our schedule, but we are trying. Sometimes it's covid ruining our plans.
    We both have had personal crisis. Mindfulness for her and spiritual practices in my case seem to be helping too.

    Limiting my time in the garden to just 4-5 hours per week is a challenge and I wish I could do more, but I know that all would be lost if I had to deal with a divorce. Life is a balancing act for which you need at least three legs. If you don't focus enough on one of them, it falls.
    Anyways, having so little time for my passion has a bright side. I am heavily prioritizing tasks that have long lasting effects, and I don't waste gardening time thinking what to do next, since I've alredy done the schoolwork at home.

    She still doesn't understand me. I'm learning to bake bread with just wild sourdough. My results are so-so, and she wants me to let it down and just buy bread from the bakery. She doesn't get that I want to learn this skill, as much as I want a tasty and healthier bread, and that all my failures are just the learning process. But at least she tolerates my hobbies, given that I'm not forgetting my familiy duties.
    She has her own demons to deal with.

    You have to come to your own agreement, since every land needs a customized approach.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Amy Arnett wrote:
    I remember being all-consumed with the urgency of the permaculture way, so much so that it became tied to my self worth. Anything not permaculture or not sustainable that I did was bad and I was bad and wrong, hurting the earth, hurting everyone's future, whenever I did anything not perfectly aligned with my perceived permaculture ideals. I also felt I needed to make up for past behavior and offset the unsustainable parts of my life by permacultur-ing extra hard. This way of thinking was unsustainable, costing my mental health and my relationships.

    I related to your description of a permaculture awakening that changes your whole perspective, purpose, priorities. I went through another kind of awakening which kind of settled me back down in a way and broadened my perspective to include permaculture as just a part of everything. Where we are today is the product of everyone and everything that came before and I think I was putting an unfair expectation on myself of fixing the world and as quickly as I could separating from the unsustainable modern world. The reality is that I can only do what I can. I'm cutting myself some slack and taking less responsibility for things outside of my control. I wasn't born into this society on purpose and I didn't make it this way. Of course I will do what I can to change it, but I don't beat myself up for what I can't change anymore. I went through a grief process for the state of the world and the inevitability of suffering, devastation, and what not. In accepting all that and accepting how little I can individually actually do, I became free to enjoy my progress however big or small, to not feel guilty about spending time with my family or having fun, to get excited about a new project without the specter of obligation looming, and to rest. That is the balance I have reached between my ideals and reality so far. Hopefully that all made sense...

    I think the most important skill in a relationship is communication and it sounds like you guys are communicating well. I don't think partners necessarily have to have a common goal as long as your differing goals don't contradict one another, and you can be supportive of each other's differences without getting resentful. Ultimately I think it's important to accept your partner as they are and expect the same from them. I think it's important for a partner to listen to your perspective, but at the same time we can't expect them to change their minds or have an awakening based on the same information or in the same time frame as we did. Spending a whole life side by side, each one will be ahead or behind at certain points. What matters is if it's something you can wait on and for how long. But of course in your relationship, if having the same goals is very important for you, then that's what's important for you and that's ok.

    I think it's totally normal to give up a "good job" and perfect house for any reason you think is important to you. Your job doesn't sound very good for you from how you talk about it though. We have left jobs and moved a few times. When it becomes clear that the current situation isn't working for us, it's time to move on. I wonder if there is work that is more aligned with your current values if you moved back?

    I think it's amazing that you guys are able to openly communicate these things!



    Thank you for this, it means a lot! It does sound like you know exactly how I feel because I dont think I could have described my feelings better myself! Me working towards my ideals is 100% tied to my self worth and whenever I inevitably contradict my values I feel like a moron. And I also feel the need to compensate by “permaculture-ing extra hard” because of the fact that my job contradicts my values. I also feel that need because I feel like such a huge stride in the “wrong direction” was made my my parents and grandparents generations that I and the next generation need to compensate for that. But not even a fair, equal compensation. I feel like an overcompensation is called for due to the nature of everything evolving and changing exponentially faster as the years go by. The same effort now won’t accomplish as much as it did 80 years ago, so since I am willing and able, I want to double down at all costs. Obviously this isn’t healthy. I end up doing things out of fear, guilt, obligation and compensation (which is exactly what got us into this mess) instead of following my heart and doing what I desire in the moment. What confuses me is when people say “just do what you can”. I feel like I can always do more, so just doing what I can leaves me still feeling guilty. Ive yet to run into something I literally cant do. I run into time, money and educational restraints, which (in my idealistic mind) can be dealt with by personal lifestyle changes, not admitting that “I cant”. I kind of dont even believe in “I cant” as a reality. I believe in “I wont”, “i dont want to”, or “i dont know how to, yet”. But “I cant” doesn’t jive with me!

    And I agree (so does my wife) that I need to find a job more aligned with my/our values. I dont think that will be easy, and I know it wont be nearly as financially supportive as our current situation. And now with oppressive covid restrictions, I feel like I’m destined to either be poor, be self employed or work for various small businesses. But working for a corporation and living comfortably and conveniently is likely coming to an end for my wife and I. Im ok with that so long as I feel more self worth, more happiness and have a healthier relationship with my wife and myself.

    I also agree that its amazing we can communicate with each other about these things! We’ve been in the process of becoming aware of our own unconscious coping mechanisms and their effects on ourselves and eachother lately and it’s rough, but its good and necessary. My coping mechanisms include:

    1. Detachment from emotions. My thoughts were: It doesn’t matter how I or you feel, shit needs to get done. Whether your happy or sad, like it or not or agree or not, dishes need to be washed, laundry done, dinner cooked, garden watered, chickens tended to… feelings were always there but 100% irrelevant to me. Obviously this was destroying our relationship.

    2. Spiritual bypassing. I set permaculture up as the ideal, the holy thing on the pedestal, the one thing that trumps all other things as far as importance goes. And obsessing on it was justified in my mind because of the fact that it was me fulfilling my purpose in life. This also was destroying our relationship.

    Her coping mechanisms include defensiveness, ruminating and rebelling against me and my ideals. So naturally, this whole situation escalated into a ticking time bomb!

    Fortunately, we are becoming aware of these things and talking through them now and I feel the bomb is being diffused.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Arthur Angaran wrote:Hi, Amy has a lot of good things to say. Trying to see the other end of the tunnel can be daunting in the dark. Here is something to consider.

    I once read a book called the Five Love Languages.  In essence I was speaking One language and my wife and children another.  To truly love my wife I needed to speak her language, and she mine.  I put my life, my mission, my goals on hold to work on myself so I could communicate in her language. It wasn't easy at first but I became accustomed to her love language and she mine. We now work together on everything, but not everything equally as my dream and hers are somewhat different.  We also give permission for each other to do our own thing.

    I internalized something this year after my wife had gotten sick and I became her caregiver for many months.  I knew this knowledge but didn't really know it. The only thing we have is each other and our memories.  If the land goes to hell, I'm ok with that. If it doesn't, praise God also.

    Go and live in peace-



    You know, now that you mentioned it, we were gifted a copy of that book for our wedding and have never even opened it. Maybe it’s about time! I did tell her that we express our feelings in much different ways and until recently, did not account for that or even consider it in regards to our relationship.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Skandi Rogers wrote:A question for you, if she turns round and says, lets go into town this weekend get a meal see a movie, what do you say?  If you say I'm building a new shed this weekend what does she say? If the answer to the first one is often no. and the second one always ok (probably with a shrug). then you need to stop thinking about you and start thinking about us.


    Do any of you struggle balancing permaculture, or a different ideal, with your partner?
    He doesn't care at all, no we compromise on things he helps a bit I don't insist we have a fire in the living room

    Do you all feel this sense of urgency, or is this probably because of my disdain for my job and current world events?
    Not at all, There really is no rush, life will go on maybe not as it is now but it will go on.

    Is a common goal in life necessary for a relationship to work with people of different personalities? Or just for any couple?
    If one partner holds very tightly to an ideal or goal then yes. otherwise no.

    Am I crazy to give up a “good job” and the perfect house to help make my wife happier by living close to family?
    No, you would be being a good person forcing someone else to be miserable is not a relationship goal. However if moving back would make you miserable then...



    Have you thought about commune living?  You say she likes to have family and people around, that would give her that, and it would give you other people of like mind to work with rather than always being on your own.



    That is a situation that does come up and you pretty much nailed it. I always had an agenda that revolved around “making progress” (towards this ideal), and if what she wanted to do didnt fit that then I wasn’t interested. And honestly, I knew it was affecting our relationship but I thought that she was at fault for caring too much about fun and her personal desires, which mostly stem from the past and our culture, not anything relevant to the present or a sustainable future. I thought that if I persevered, she would come around and learn to appreciate me and my hard work. After all, permaculture isnt just something I want to do like a fun hobby. Its an altruistic, idealistic, meaningful thing that benefits all aspects of life in my mind. I thought that even though she didnt understand, that what i was doing WAS what was best for us. Boy was I wrong. Shes a fighter and it backfired on me!

    Im not personally convinced that living here is making her miserable. She blamed that a lot, but she also has insomnia and was living with me and my idealistic behavior. I was contributing to her misery along with her lack or sleep (and possibly mold in our bedroom wall) were also contributing. I also don’t think I would be miserable if we moved back home. I mean I definitely would be for a bit, just feeling as though my heart had been torn out. But thats just a feeling and it will pass. Permaculture applies to everywhere and I would just continue on in a new location.

    The closest thing to commune living that we have discussed is trying to convince family members to start an intentional community on my uncles 160 acre chunk of farmland. Thing is, that land isnt here or home, its somewhere else. And we dont own it, my uncle does, and he would likely think we’re nuts. Also, most of our family doesn’t see eye to eye with us on a lot of things. I can just as easily consider anyone and everyone family, but her definition of family is definitely literal. So I dont think moving into a commune would be good for us, at least not now.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    James MacKenzie wrote:Brody:

    I am sorry you are struggling wit this however take comfort in the fact that you are facing it head-on and at the same time admitting that you don't have all the answers.

    REGARDLESS of the outcome, continue to be honest and raw about your situation, your feelings and continue to rehearse the issues - and talk to your wife. there is no guarantee that your relationship will survive, there is no guarantee of anything in life.. yet you have to keep going and doing and searching - especially with the personality you describe yourself as having - leading to problems sandwiched between:

    "the future is unwritten" - Joe Strummer
    "the unexamined life is not worth living" - Aristotle

    "I also felt I needed to make up for past behavior"

    don't go down that route in particular - i've been through it too - daily i see the horrors we inflict on our only home and the creatures that share it with us - only for unnecessary comfort, profit and greed >> there is a perpetual nausea that accompanies this realization and i will be frank - it never goes away, you have to manage it.. and you CAN mitigate it be being as self-reliant as you can, adopting a permaculture oriented lifestyle, buying use whenever you can, ditching cosmetics... not attending sporting events etc. ( full disclosure - i am an extremist in my view, i would abolish all professional and international sport tomorrow - the waste and environmental impact is appalling if you really think about it)

    and i am no saint - it is bit by bit you change and that will have to do - keep going forward.. stick with your own plan - from what i can read from your brutal honesty, yes you could move from the current physical space, but you will not easily move away from yourself - and that never works out...

    which brings us to the relationship part you can compromise but you have to be careful what you compromise about and be sure it is done honestly, Amy, Arthur and Skandi all offer you TERRIFIC insight into relationship success - reread what they have to say... their advice is the best you could have that will help you make your relationship successful..

    mine failed -

    your angst is real, your angst for her is real, your angst for the planet is real, your goals are real... the dangers we ALL face are real.. and if it seems to you that people aren't listening, well, they aren't...

    do what you can but don't lose yourself either. this may sound like i am not in the camp of "making it work" believe me, i tried, often flawed mind you, but i tried.. so did she, in spades...and that was accompanied by much self destructive behavior all around..

    our personalities were probably not compatible long term, but then again, like i have said, people also change and no matter how much you plan for it, you cannot control the outcome..

    "be prepared" is as much a mental/emotional/spiritual mantra as it is physical one  - i wish you the very best of luck and fortune - peace!

    (p.s. - sorry for the rambling - i sat down to this with my morning coffee and all kinds of bells went off ;-)



    Thank you for this! Your rambling is very much welcomed! I really appreciate hearing that all of my angst, goals and the dangers I see are real because I sure think they are! But looking around at how people are behaving makes me feel like the lone crazy person (kind of John the Baptist style). But you’re right, people aren’t listening. People dont want me to be right because that puts obligations on them to change. So long as I’m crazy, wrong, alone or an extremist, people can get by feeling ok with their lifestyle. But if its admitted that I’m right, now uncomfortable feelings arise and responsibility falls onto people. I get it…

    And you’re absolutely right that being prepared is just as much mental, emotional and spiritual as it is physical. Im guilty of saying that and yet still being 99% focused on the physical. I tell my wife all the time that the best thing we can do to ensure our well being is to work on our attitudes and perspectives, and then I go back to worrying about the physical challenges we face. We’re all hypocrites right!?!
     
    pollinator
    Posts: 2701
    Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
    458
    kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
    • Likes 4
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I have been with my husband for 18 years now. To put that in perspective, I was 18 when we got married. It's always been work. Sometimes that work is harder than others, but you have to be present. You have to be a part of the relationship for it to be a relationship.

    We have 3 kids. They've helped me spread seed. They've helped me plant trees. They've had to be banned from the greenhouse so they didn't eat all the tomatoes. I don't just do permaculture for them, I do it with them. I teach them about it. I explain what things are. I have conversations about earth worms and bees and why I desire my son to pee on a particular tree. lol They circle plant varieties they want in magazines and we start seeds together.

    Sometimes I also have to stop pruning or mulching or digging and go jump on the trampoline with them. I'm growing people. I'm not just growing plants. You need to stop growing plants because your person is standing on scorched earth and you need to heal it. My husband didn't want permaculture or homesteading but he's helped me along the way. He's been a part of it. I've asked him to help. I've asked him to be a part of it. I've also been a part of what he desires. We are partners in all things. Even things we don't desire or understand. Believe you me he does not want to be outside shoveling things for the pigs or for trees but he's there and he does because he adores me, and what is important to me is important to him.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Mark Brunnr wrote:You need to be truthful with yourself and ask how important is your marriage first. I've never seen a marriage where after the couple married they could say "finally, we're done having to put effort into our relationship!" You both will always need to put in effort or eventually one or both of you will be unhappy with it. I would definitely not be thinking about kids as that will make things much worse, not solve anything.

    Has your wife shown much/any interest in what you have dove into? Can you adapt your goals to fit with her goals if she's not really into it? For example if you find a house near her friends/family, and it has enough yard that you can grow a food forest around it without changing the landscape in ways that make her unhappy, would that work for both of you? Consider Paul's eco scale, maybe you were level 0-1 and suddenly want to dive into level 4-5. If she's still level 0 she may easily find that crazy. If she has no interest in leaving level 0, then the two of you will have some serious tension that will take a toll on your marriage.

    So I would start with having some conversations to find out where she stands on some of these items, and then if you are far apart you can see if there's a path you both can take to reach a happy place for both of you. It might take some time for her to find level 1 ideas cool, and then additional time for level 2 etc. I think it's important to find some activities/goals that you both share, otherwise if you each are always off doing your own thing and not spending much time together, that will also strain your marriage. Relationships take time and effort, whether you're married or not.



    You’re spot on with asking myself how important my marriage is. When I realized how much trouble we we’re headed towards and that she was blaming a significant amount of it in my all or nothing permaculture ideal, that was the first thing I considered. And I considered it very deeply. And I came to the conclusion that: I’ve been with her, I’ve been without her and now I’m with her again. I find life to be more enjoyable with her in it. Shes been the catalyst for a large portion of my own personal growth in a lot of ways and I like to think thats mutual. If I focus solely on permaculture, I will lose my wife and I’m almost certain that would leave me as a lonely, disgruntled man who’s certainly not any happier (despite things definitely being more simple and more cheap!). I want to keep this relationship. I think we have something special.

    As far as my wife showing interest goes, there hasn’t been much. But she has said things like wanting to learn more about growing flowers and knowing that she will “come around” eventually. She values the environment and a healthy lifestyle and wants our children to grow up valuing those things as well. She just isn’t a die hard like me, at least not yet. Fun has always been a significant part of her life and never has been for me. My life was more about responsibility, discipline and purpose, which I dont think she relates to all that much. I dont think either is better, we just have different backgrounds and need to meet in the middle.

    And yes, if we moved closer to our friends and family, and found at least a couple acres of halfway decent land Im sure i would adapt quickly. I always adapt quickly. My fears are leaving behind what seems to be so perfect, admitting that my beautiful plan for the future isnt going to work out, worrying how different people woild treat our property, and worrying that being closer to friends and family would only serve to distract her further from permaculture. But I do believe we need to face our fears, that we cant control outcomes, that change is inevitable and that she really does know whats best for her. I told myself when we bought our house that it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done to try not to become attached to it. Seems I forgot that I knew that right at the start! I lost track of that amongst all the busyness.

    I should check out that eco scale. It sounds pretty relevant. She has said things like “You’re just farther along than me” or “I’ll come along eventually, I’m just not there yet”. I try not to think of things that way and doubt I’ve said things like that to her, but maybe my actions and attitude implies that to her. Either way, I believe permaculture is the way to live and that she will understand that in her own time. As of now, I dont think she understands it the way I do. I view it as a lifestyle, an ideology and an all encompassing perspective. I think she views it mainly as gardening and animal husbandry. Shes a fighter and I think my busyness and priority with physical outdoor stuff caused her to refuse to participate. She felt unimportant, and in all honesty, she was. I thought we could bust ass to get some stuff established for a few years and then focus on us and raising kids. It didn’t work like that for her. And I agree that apparently all relationships require regular attention and maintenance and I failed on that for the last couple years.
     
    Heather Sharpe
    gardener
    Posts: 574
    Location: Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
    380
    forest garden fungi foraging trees urban chicken medical herbs ungarbage
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Here's a link to the eco scale for you. https://permies.com/t/scale

    I also just wanted to add that I think it's really courageous of you to ask for help with this and put so much of your process out there. Not only will it hopefully help you and your wife, but I think it has the potential to help others through similar things or at least not feel alone in their challenges. I imagine this might be a more common challenge to people embracing permaculture than we know. And a super important one to address.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Anne Miller wrote:To me, reality comes first because that is something I cannot change easily.

    I am my own person, I don't expect my spouse to like the same things that I like.  We have our common interests where some are the things he likes and some are the things I like.

    He likes to go fishing so I went fishing just to be with him and be outdoors.

    He likes hunting so I went with him to the deer lease so I could be with him and be outdoors.

    I like sewing.  I don't expect him to like to sew.

    I like to read books though I don't expect him to like books.

    I like Louis Lamour's books, he likes Louis Lamour's movies.

    My guess would be that permaculture might be one of my ideals.  I don't even know if my spouse has ever heard the word.  I know I have never spoken the word to him.  I do talk with him about plants, gardens, harvests, cooking, etc.

    We both like wildlife, being outdoors, traveling, etc.

    I also consider marriage is like a business, I am married to my business partner. I run my household like a business.  I am the accountant and I pay all the bills.

    Do I balance ideals with reality ... sure.  What has this got to do with my spouse?



    There are some similarities to us. My wife “likes fishing” so she says. In reality, she likes the act of catching fish and likes to be with me outdoors. When I say i “like fishing” i mean just that. I like the catching and the not catching. I like the work and the relaxing involved. I like it when its sunny or raining. She has gone hunting with me for the sole purpose of spending time with me. I dont think she’s ever said she likes hunting though. She gets cold and bored.

    I guess my main issue probably stemmed from not seeing any relevance to likes or not likes, wants or dont wants, feelings or emotions. I mean, they were always there but didn’t slow me down or change the simple fact that the garden will die if I dont water it, the chickens will die if I dont feed them and we will die if we dont eat food. So I detached from all the head stuff and just went into work mode. For like 3 years.

    Now I’m realizing what I had done (again) was turn a beautiful passion into work because of my all or nothing, discipline oriented work ethic. Fun was not valuable to me, “making progress” was. So when I ask about balancing ideals with reality, that’s what I’m talking about. My ideals consisted of: humans are meant to live a certain way and the ethics and principles or permaculture define the way. If your life isnt in accordance with those ethics and principles then you are either misinformed, misguided, lazy or insane. In retrospect, I can see how my perspective was not healthy despite how much sense it makes logically. And it certainly made my wife feel unimportant and actually problematic considering a lot of the things she desires to do for fun contradict my ideals. Seems to me either ideals are a problem in general or just the way I handle them is the problem.
     
    Posts: 87
    Location: Sedona Az Zone 8b
    37
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    About a million years ago when I was just a little kid, I asked my grandmother why people got married. This was her answer,, as best as I can recall....

    People get married when they find someone that they truly love. A person that they love just as much as they love themselves or sometimes more than they love themselves. And the TWO become ONE. They want to spend the rest of their lives not just making themselves happy but also making this other person, their other half, happy. Always giving and receiving so much love is the most important thing and gives them both great joy no matter how much life changes. What a wonderful life to live!

    That's what she said.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Rachel Lindsay wrote:From reading what you have written, I think that you are a thoughtful, verbal, and hard-working idealist. That combination in your personality probably makes you particularly vulnerable to the current state of things in this world, leading to your sense of urgency and your disdain for all the yuck, both visible and invisible. You can see and say what many other people cannot.  But--those elements in your character are also leverage to make a huge positive difference in your own life, and your family's, and many more besides.  

    Bravo to you for what you are dreaming of, working on, and hoping for. The self-awareness you have of how things are going with your relationship and in your own inner world are absolutely priceless. That right there is a HUGE indicator of hope and growth to come.

    I’m guessing you’re the kind of person that enjoys thought experiments! Maybe think about things this way for a day or two: You’re doing Permaculture with your lot, but perhaps not yet with your life. And by that I mean ALL of your life: including marriage, hobbies, employment, future plans, etc., all a part of the personal ecosystem. Use your thoughtful, perceptive nature to generate better “design” for them.

    Two things jumped out at me from your writing:

  • From what I’m reading, it seems like you and your wife would both would be happier if you were “home.” You’ve been transplanted for awhile and it’s not working as well as you hoped. If you both belong in a different “microclimate” two hours away, you just won’t thrive as well where you are now! If you try and sell your house, consciously try to sell to a like-minded person, perhaps posting it here on this site, for peace of mind.
  • It seems that your dislike of your current employment is causing a vicious cycle that results in a strain on your marriage. How can you change your money situation so that you don’t need to work in so bleak a scenario that it requires you to compensate in your time off? *Getting a cheaper house/rent? *Freelance employment? *Simultaneous side-hustles? *Stay-at-home fatherhood?

  • You and your wife do want the same things, really—happiness and well-being for your family now and in the future. It’s the how-to that is your question. If you haven't already, you can work out a priorities list together that will focus your upcoming decisions and choices.  

    Best wishes for your future! Keep looking--you'll find a way!



    Thank you for this! The first half of your post really was nice to hear and is encouraging!

    As I was reading the ethics and principles of permaculture the other day, I realized exactly what you said: I’m “doing” permaculture with our lot but not with life in general. I basically told myself I had learned enough for now, observed enough for now and it’s time to get to work. I developed a warrior’s mindset and my enemy was the current state of affairs. My goal was to change them to something sustainable and I did not want to slow down let alone stop and observe or learn more. I honestly felt like “dealing” with feelings and emotions could wait. It could wait until I was worn out, busted, broken and disabled for all I cared. I felt like since i was young, strong, smart, motivated and educated that it was my duty to create change. To create the change that so many others cant. But in adopting that attitude, my actual desire and love for what I was doing faded away quickly and was replaced with duty and responsibility. And honestly, if I was single and wanted to stay that way, I dont think there’s anything inherently wrong with that attitude. I mean, its all true. But it doesn’t jive with a relationship. And it isn’t sustainable. So yes, I’ve definitely got to slow down (i always say that’s what winter is for but then winter turns into moving snow and working on house projects), be open to unexpected change of plans, stop detaching from feelings/emotions, and look to sustainability in attitude, relationships and my own physical health.

    Ive already figured that if we do try to sell the house I will very seriously try to find someone like minded to buy it. Someone who will appreciate the work I’ve done and the potential of the property. I do have to say though that I don’t necessarily think I/we would be happier at home. Maybe. But maybe not. I really value the natural environment and where we are now has at least a month more of summer, way less snow, better soil and more wildlife to eat. Where we are from is definitely “home” in our hearts, but it’s brutal. More mosquitoes, more snow, more wind, more tourists, but also more family. The family is a double edged sword to me. I love them and would love to be closer to my parents as they age. But my dad drives me nuts a lot of the time and I dont think any of my family have ever really seen eye to eye with me on a lot of things. Part of the reason I’ve been a bit of a loner my whole life. And my wife’s family definitely contributes both comfort and stress/bad habits to her. They are also social and always having family gatherings, which my wife misses. But in my mind, she is too reliant on them and her friends and her self esteem and happiness are affected by that. I also fear that if she’s able to surround herself with friends and family whenever she wants, she will never really see the value in the natural world because she will always be socializing. I guess prioritizing and setting goals for the future are in order before we decide to move or not.

    I have been entertaining alternative living conditions though. We currently have a 3 bedroom house with a full basement and 2 1/2 acres (half “yard” and half wooded). We still owe at least 80,000 on that and even thinking about that is troubling. Its perfect in a lot of ways, but affording it will be a serious struggle if I quit my current job. And honestly, theres almost no chance I will make even close to the amount of money I currently make, have as good of benefits or nearly as much paid time off ANYWHERE around here. We would need to learn to live on likely 50% of what we currently squeak by on, which would be quite the challenge! It would be a drastic change of lifestyle if I quit, but we both know it will happen sooner or later. Ill either quit voluntarily, get replaced by technology, or get fired for being “non compliant” with these new Covid restrictions. Im pretty well destined to work somewhere else! And seriously, the “stay at home father” idea is perfect for me. I was off work for a couple months a few winters ago due to an injury and needing physical therapy. I loved every minute of it. I cooked breakfast for both of us, made lunch for her, cooked dinner every night, did dishes, laundry and still had time for reading and relaxing. I never complained about it once. The problem is, she’s got a degree in early childhood education and wants to utilize that degree and work with children. Unfortunately, in this country we value children and teachers about as much as a bagger at a grocery store. Shes had several jobs in the school system working “part time” (like 35 hours a week) for minimum wage. She literally made as much money and had less stress bagging groceries than working with kids. I wish teachers made my kind of money, because they certainly deserve it. But unfortunately, they do not. Teachers get shafted. So unless she’s willing and able to get a decently high paying job, either I will be the provider or we both will need to work. And both of us working really irks me because then absolutely no “progress” whatsoever gets made towards home life or ideals. Its all just work and daily chores.

    Regardless, we do have more talking to do, priorities to discuss and goals to set before any major changes take place.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Heather Sharpe wrote:Brody, this sounds really tough for both of you. The first thing that pops to my mind is this:
    It sounds like both of you have deep, essential needs that don’t feel seen by the other, let alone met. You have had a life changing realization and shift in priorities that don't feel shared by your wife, or in some cases, like she's going the opposite direction. She has a need for connection with friends and family, including you, that isn't being met. I wonder if one or both of you feel some resentment towards the other and that the needs of the other are in the way of your own. But neither of your needs can be given up. I bet with some creative thinking and work together, you can both get what you need and keep growing in love.

    It's pretty clear that you need someone who shares your interest in permaculture and that makes sense. It seems possible that she may be willing to do that, but you will need to accept that she's behind you on the eco-scale. And that's okay. I could imagine it would be hard for her to want to engage in that when her needs for quality sleep and interpersonal connection aren't being met! I think it could really help to ask yourself how willing you are to meet her need to connect with you in ways that feel connecting to her (even if you don't always like the way it looks) and without judgement of her. It really seems like you’ve changed a lot since the relationship started, which is great. But that might be scary for her in some ways. It sounds like it feels like a threat to the relationship, since you aren’t as interested in what she is these days. If she sees your interest in permaculture that way, I could see there being lots of resistance. Meeting her where she is and letting her know you want to share time with her in ways that work for her seems key to remedying that and nurturing the relationship.

    Tying back to the sculpture, what you've shared also reminds me of this from the late, great Kurt Vonnegut:

    "Here is what women really want: They want lives in folk societies, wherein everyone is a friendly relative, and no act or object is without holiness. Chemicals make them want that. Chemicals make us all want that. Chemicals make us furious when we are treated as things rather than persons. When anything that happens to us which would not happen to us in a folk society, our chemicals make us feel like fish out of water. Our chemicals demand that we get back into water again. If we become increasingly wild and preposterous in modern times--well, so do fish on river banks, for a little while."  *


    It sounds like both of you are trying to get back into water again, albeit through seemingly different means. And trying to connect with one another, but perhaps feeling thwarted or misunderstood. I imagine this might be related to the source of the urgency you are feeling, which is totally understandable. It sounds like your job is really making you feel out of alignment with what matters most to you. Like he said, fish on a river bank. I get the impulse to make big moves, but permaculture is about small and slow solutions. What small steps could you take, preferably together, to get closer to both of you feeling like you're back in the water of what you need? I also wonder if perhaps your wife has something to teach you about people care? I feel like that's a sometimes overlooked part of permaculture and it sounds like even if she isn't approaching it in a permie way, she has a natural draw to it. I know you said you're self reliant, but it sure sounds to me like you really feel a need to connect with like minded people and maybe for your wife to feel more like one of them.

    I think it's really important to understand that it is totally natural, normal and workable to have differences in relationship. It's all about how you choose to approach them. Even "problems" that don't get "fixed" don't have to be the end for the relationship, if they're approached skillfully and lovingly. The Gottman Institute is a really amazing resource for learning ways to communicate that lead to greater connection and deepening love. They've got some great stuff on this particular subject. https://www.gottman.com/blog/managing-conflict-solvable-vs-perpetual-problems/
    One thing they've learned predicts very strongly whether a relationship fails or succeeds is how couples respond to one another's bids for connection. Perhaps not surprisingly, couples who respond frequently and positively when the other makes a bid succeed and those who ignore or respond in an irritated way usually end up apart. What Skandi said is a good example of bids:

    Skandi Rogers wrote:A question for you, if she turns round and says, lets go into town this weekend get a meal see a movie, what do you say?  If you say I'm building a new shed this weekend what does she say? If the answer to the first one is often no. and the second one always ok (probably with a shrug). then you need to stop thinking about you and start thinking about us.


    Maybe put some extra energy into making sure you respond in a positive way when she makes bids for connection. I think to avoid getting stuck and feeling hopeless or frustrated in relationship challenges, it's really important to focus on what you can change about how you respond, rather than what you’d like her to change.

    For what it's worth, my partner and I both are permies and have a shared vision we've developed over time. Yet we still have our challenges. Building a life that bears little resemblance to what most of us have seen and had modeled is hard sometimes! We've had to do a lot of work learning to communicate well. Arthur's suggestion of the Five Love Languages is an excellent one. Those ideas have certainly helped us. It's really easy for people to get caught in patterns of doing things that feel like loving gestures to them and feeling frustrated when it isn't received and appreciated by their partner. One can get so caught in that frustration, that they fail to see that it may not feel like love to the other person at all, sometimes even quite the opposite.

    Brody Ekberg wrote:Am I crazy to give up a “good job” and the perfect house to help make my wife happier by living close to family?

    I don't think you're crazy at all. More like going sane in a crazy world. It doesn't sound like a very good job for you emotionally, mentally or goal wise. As for the house, if your wife's need to be close to family can't be met there, it doesn't seem like a great fit either. Both of you deserve to have your needs met and it may well be possible. It just might take a lot of work. But I think if you’re both committed, you can do it!

    I love, love, love what Rachel said. That your relationship with your wife could actually be a path to deepening your permaculture practice is a wonderful way to look at what seems like a problem.

    *Just in case it's not clear, when he says chemicals, he's referrring to neurotransmitters, hormones, etc. The whole piece, titled "Address to the National Institute of Arts and Letters" is excellent and can be found in his book Wampeters, Foma and Granfaloons.




    That picture is quite the piece of art! Definitely captures what has been going on in our relationship!

    Youre spot on with most of what you said. I definitely need her to be on board with this lifestyle, and she definitely needs more attention from me. The way you describe her not being willing to open up to permaculture due to her needs not being met by my obsession with permaculture is exactly how she described it, and I totally understand. I also wonder if her feelings are contributing to her lack of sleep. Its either that, the bed/pillows (which I personally doubt due to her having 100 different pillows and sleeping bad on multiple surfaces) or mold in our bedroom wall. Or a combination of it all. Either way, working on our relationship will narrow down the possibilities.

    You are also correct that my job makes me feel out of alignment with my true priorities. All I get out of it is money and benefits at the expense of my conscience, happiness and time. Personally, I’d rather be less financially stable but have more time and happiness than have money and a steady job by sacrificing my soul. She sees that, understands, and encourages me to find a different job. But she also likes to shop, travel and her hobbies aren’t free like many of mine. So it will be a compromise like everything.

    You also nailed it with her shedding light on aspects of permaculture that I have been neglecting, even though she didn’t realize that’s what she was doing. Shes great at teaching me things accidentally when I’m not looking for a lesson! I thought i was caring for her and for others by focusing on the environment and physical needs of people, while I was totally detached from and ambivalent town feelings and emotions as they seemed to get in the way of progress.

    One thing I do struggle with is that, when it comes to plants and animals, I do not make the schedule. Feelings and emotions dont matter when the garden’s drying up under 95 degree sun and the chickens need tending to. Its one thing if I have to say no to starting a new project in order to give my wife/our relationship attention. But its an entirely different thing (to me at least) to sacrifice the life of plants and animals because I or someone else feels a certain way. So its quite a balancing act to include living things like chickens, gardens, trees, sourdough and kombucha that have their own schedules along with work and emotions/feeling safe. I guess thats why small slow steps are advised instead of balls to the wall strides for years!
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Carla Burke wrote:Personally, I often *feel* like I'm dragging John through my permie dreams, kicking and screaming. Then, I stop and assess our actual situation. John and I are at different levels, and sometimes, that creates a ton of tension, but at the same time, when I stop and think about it, I started - mentally, emotionally, and physically - down this path, as a kid. A little kid. John started on this path - mentally - about 7 years ago, but in his head, it was all a silly, romantic notion, and he was only barely entertaining the idea of someday having a few chickens and some quail. The tiny seeds of physical education and commitment were planted a little over three years ago, when we bought this place, and 6mos later, when we got some baby chicks, and a henhouse/run for them to move into (after they were old enough to grow out of their little pool, in the living room!).

    He's a "city-boy" (there is no offense meant in that phrase - only that he was born and raised in the city, and he refers to himself that way) who is learning, very quickly,  I think, how to homestead. It's incredibly hard on him, sometimes. He's not always happy about the way things go, and there's the simple fact that because of my history and experience, I sometimes forget how new it is, to him, and come across more callously than I mean to. Sometimes, he gets frustrated and tired of it, and wants to throw in the towel, and go back to the city. What I've learned is to just give him whatever space and time he needs. What he's learned, is that I'm fine *doing it*, whether he helps me, or not, and that doing it really is his choice, as far as I'm concerned. So, we stay. I keep plodding along, and I celebrate each step he takes in the permie direction, and breathe through each step he takes back. I watch his progress, so that I can celebrate it, and so that the bigger picture is obvious to me, when he balks, or needs to take a step back.

    It's not always easy. I have to breathe, give us both a break, and remember what's most important, to me, and where my priorities are - and he has to do those things, too. We made some promises to each other, including keeping our relationship first. We all have to find that balance, ourselves.




    This is a bit similar to our situation as well, only reversed. I mean we grew up in the same small town (4,000 people or so, far from a city)and went to school together. But most of her time was spent socializing with friends and family and playing sports. Most of my time was spent alone, with my dog in the woods, hunting or fishing. I have always felt extremely connected to the environment and animals (more so than people even) where she was always more of a “people person”. So I do forget that I kind of started down this path as a child many years before I ever heard the words permaculture or sustainable. Most of this is pretty new to her.

    One thing that is not similar is that we did not prioritize our relationship. At least not consciously together. I prioritized her until I met permaculture. She prioritized fun until we moved away. Now we need to take an honest look at our priorities and goals for life, find some common ground, make that a shared priority and not forget it!
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Christa Lynn wrote:

    Do you all feel this sense of urgency, or is this probably because of my disdain for my job and current world events?
    I have no sense of urgency anymore.  Instead,  I have a sense of regret... The urgency seems to have disappeared in the last 3 years or so, as I've graduated a kid, and have only the youngest still homeschooling 6 more months.   I always wanted more time and needed more energy for all the things I wanted to do, and wanted us to do together... I regret not spending more time doing kid things with the kids, instead of trying to get so much done around the homestead in the shortest time possible.  Relationships are far more important than a lot of the chores and projects that ONLY I wanted done.  I should have let the kids help in the kitchen more instead of chasing them outside, just because it was going to take longer and be messier if they helped.  I should have played more of the games they wanted me to play (even though they weren't games I found enjoyable in themselves), kind of like going shopping with your wife - the activity isn't one you would ever choose to do by yourself, but the point of it is building the relationship, not in completing the activity as efficiently as possible.
    Anyway, I still have a lot of goals, but I've also had 2 back surgeries and I have bursitis and arthritis in my right shoulder - some things just take a lot longer, or require me to wait for someone to help.  If it gets done, yea!  If it doesn't get done today, there is tomorrow if I'm still alive then.  Part of the attitude change (I used to be very, very driven and goal-oriented, and unhappy if I wasn't working on something and making progress on those goals)... is that I'm more aware that someday the sun is going to fry the planet, and I cannot stop that.  I know this sounds weird, but I don't find that hopeless.  I find that it takes the hopelessness and anger AWAY  - instead I feel that if I do what I can, I can be satisfied with that.  I am only responsible for me and my own actions, I don't need to put my limited emotional energy into things I cannot control, only into the things I can.  I don't know if your feelings relate to your job... I don't have a job off this homestead.  I am concerned about world events, but not in a disdainful way... the actions people take are based on the choices they think they have, with the tradeoffs they recognize.  I love Marcus Aurelius' Meditations... and I paraphrase him this way, "You are going to meet a lot of jerks today.  They act like jerks out of ignorance, because they don't know any better.  You don't have that excuse, so don't act like a jerk."  It's harder to be angry at people behaving like jerks when you know they are doing it out of ignorance.


    I hope my rambles answered the questions you asked.  And I think the effort you are putting into thinking about your life and what you want out of it will serve you well.   The only piece of advice I can give you is to put less energy and emotion into all the things that are not in your control... and the only thing that is actually in your control is how you respond to everything and everyone.  it's hard to keep that in mind, but I have found it immensely helpful.  I hope it is to you as well.  And thank YOU for making me think about these things... it will help me to improve my life, as well.



    Thank you for the heartfelt response! I definitely relate to some of your situation. Actually, a large part of the urgency I feel is because we’re almost 30 and want to have a child or two soon. I never wanted kids at all until I discovered permaculture and realized I actually had some hope and a decent life I could offer to a child. Before that, I felt hopeless and that having children would be borderline rude! As soon as I committed to wanting children, I also committed to wanting to get a bunch of stuff established before hand. My thoughts were that I’d rather be picking berries and fruits with a baby on my back than planting brambles and trees with a baby on my back. I wanted to get trees planted, a garden built and some berry beds established before doing the kid thing. So I busted ass and did actually accomplish almost all of that, but my wife is so distraught with our relationship that she doesn’t want kids at the moment, go figure! I do think that will change as my behavior changes though.

    You’re 100% right in saying that the only thing we have control over is how we respond to things, and that’s something I need to work on.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Lorinne Anderson wrote:

    I think each of you may need to throw "investment" off the table and stop seeing change as loss (of investment) and rather focus on growth, truth, and honesty.  Perhaps it is time to truly reassess what you both desire out of life; lifestyle, family,  friends,  hobbies,  recreation,  finances, etc.   I fear your original plan, from WAY back when, stopped serving you a long time ago and a new plan was never formulated OR everyone is so busy compromising that no one is getting what they want or need to feel fulfilled and happy.

    You could, each individually, create lists to outlining your personal goals, dreams and expectations.  Then share, discuss and then jointly create a master plan that suits you both.  BUT be prepared that this sort of honesty does not necessarily mean your marriage, lifestyle or current plans will survive.  In my opinion, compromising only works when each party feels THEY have lucked out and both parrties feel content and happy.  Compromising the wrong way breeds resentment, misery and hate; everyone eventually feels ripped off, cheated, and filled with with regret.
    It's very possible that your dreams and hers are no longer compatible  -  that you have both grown,  but in such different directions the core values are no longer shared.  

    Change is not failure.  

    Change comes from learning, experiencing and maturing.  Consider releasing the concept of investment and instead replace it with one of education  -  life is "schooling" you both.  It is entirely possible that the "degrees" you signed up for are not the ones you received, but incredibly, are the ones you need.

    At the end of the day, or ones life, it's not ones investments but the harvests that count.  Knowing when to walk away when a situation, job or relationship no longer works or serves its its purpose are the hardest of life's lessons.   The only thing that is harder is having the self awareness to be honest with ourselves, those we love, and those who love us.

    ALL your investments will end, at some point.  Some will "pay off" others may feel like a loss,  but they are ALL a part of  learning life, and all it has to teach you,  if you choose to "hear the lesson".

    In my opinion,  it is time for you and your wife to take stock of your individual wants,  needs and desires; then, simply take the path that best suits your combined dreams.    Remember,  investments are just that, investments; do not define your future based on fear of loss, but rather on your pursuit of happiness, fulfillment, and contentment. Good luck!

    P.S. for some a counselor, therapist,  or other third party may be incredibly helpful in sorting this stuff out, especially when couples find themselves with what often appears to be different definitions of "happiness".



    I agree with you. We need to figure out our top priorities, or goals in life and see if there is overlap. I’m pretty sure there will be significant overlap but that our tendencies will lead us on different ways to get there. That may be ok so long as we stay committed to the relationship and support eachother. Based off of our conversations these last few days, I think we’re in good shape. It will just take teamwork and awareness from here on out. Neither of us were aware of our unconscious coping mechanisms until recently. Hell, I didn’t even think feelings and emotions were relevant until a few days ago! I’ve been looking at them like a speedbump or distraction for years now. And she relies heavily on feelings and is a very emotional person, which only drove me outside. Now that we both understand what we were doing and why, perspectives are changing.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Abraham Palma wrote:Hey, are you me one year ago? I had the exact same troubles, including insomnia.

    We were on the verge of divorce, but I didn't want to give it all up for a dream. So we scheduled priorities. It seems to be working for now.
    What we agreed was the following:
    1. Once per week, a romantic activity, a family activity. and a social activity. Sometimes the same activity can be shared, if it is long enough. This way, we don't forget about our duties towards the family and the couple.
    2. Limit hobbies outside home to just twice per week, on sessions that are less than three hours long. That's gardening for me, Pilates gym for her.
    3. Once per month, there's one day when rules don't apply.

    This is not perfect. Sometimes we have holidays, or events that meddles with our schedule, but we are trying. Sometimes it's covid ruining our plans.
    We both have had personal crisis. Mindfulness for her and spiritual practices in my case seem to be helping too.

    Limiting my time in the garden to just 4-5 hours per week is a challenge and I wish I could do more, but I know that all would be lost if I had to deal with a divorce. Life is a balancing act for which you need at least three legs. If you don't focus enough on one of them, it falls.
    Anyways, having so little time for my passion has a bright side. I am heavily prioritizing tasks that have long lasting effects, and I don't waste gardening time thinking what to do next, since I've alredy done the schoolwork at home.

    She still doesn't understand me. I'm learning to bake bread with just wild sourdough. My results are so-so, and she wants me to let it down and just buy bread from the bakery. She doesn't get that I want to learn this skill, as much as I want a tasty and healthier bread, and that all my failures are just the learning process. But at least she tolerates my hobbies, given that I'm not forgetting my familiy duties.
    She has her own demons to deal with.

    You have to come to your own agreement, since every land needs a customized approach.



    I think some sort of scheduled activities would definitely help. I hate schedule, numbers rules like that. My idealistic mind says we should just be able to base our actions off of feelings instead of schedules, but then im the one who thought emotions were distractions and that I needed to get things established according to a plan for the future. I am definitely a hypocrite!

    On the flip side though, as others have pointed out, she was inadvertently reminding me of principles of permaculture that I was overlooking. She just thought she was trying to tell me how she felt. We do have a way of teaching eachother accidentally like that though.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    elle sagenev wrote:I have been with my husband for 18 years now. To put that in perspective, I was 18 when we got married. It's always been work. Sometimes that work is harder than others, but you have to be present. You have to be a part of the relationship for it to be a relationship.

    We have 3 kids. They've helped me spread seed. They've helped me plant trees. They've had to be banned from the greenhouse so they didn't eat all the tomatoes. I don't just do permaculture for them, I do it with them. I teach them about it. I explain what things are. I have conversations about earth worms and bees and why I desire my son to pee on a particular tree. lol They circle plant varieties they want in magazines and we start seeds together.

    Sometimes I also have to stop pruning or mulching or digging and go jump on the trampoline with them. I'm growing people. I'm not just growing plants. You need to stop growing plants because your person is standing on scorched earth and you need to heal it. My husband didn't want permaculture or homesteading but he's helped me along the way. He's been a part of it. I've asked him to help. I've asked him to be a part of it. I've also been a part of what he desires. We are partners in all things. Even things we don't desire or understand. Believe you me he does not want to be outside shoveling things for the pigs or for trees but he's there and he does because he adores me, and what is important to me is important to him.



    I honestly thought that me busting my ass to build my dream WAS being present for the relationship, although in an indirect way. I thought I was being responsible, disciplined, focused and dedicated to a life that all of us can enjoy together. But thats not what my wife interpreted, and not how she wants things to go. She needs more from me emotionally and physically, and I understand that. I like challenges and was detached from feelings and so even though I thought taking a break, stretching more, hanging out with my wife more would be nice, it didn’t matter. I literally said “I dont care what I want or what other people want. I care about my needs and other peoples needs”. In my mind I’m thinking air, food, water, shelter and sleep. In her mind she’s thinking attention, love, respect… and even though she told me that, I just thought she was too wrapped up in her feelings and neglecting the physical world around her. I guess both were true really. Feelings should guide us, not be looked at as distractions. And the physical world is important because if you dont meet your physical needs, you wont be feeling anything for long!

    Another thing I struggle with is asking for help. I tend to chug along by myself before asking for help. I want people to want to be involved, not feel obligated to help. To me, if you aren’t interested in the physical aspects of permaculture, you aren’t interested in life. I dont get it. But I may need to ask for help from her occasionally and in doing so, she may come to love some of it. She’s already mentioned that she will “come around” eventually. But she’s a procrastinator and I certainly am not! She’s always late and I feel urgency. I told her that I can slow down, wait for her, help her along the way so long as she’s committed to this path. But if she isn’t interested in this path, I wont be waiting for nothing. Its boiled down to picking life goals/priorities and helping eachother through our unconscious behaviors now.

    Hell of a time to be seriously considering quitting my career too!
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Heather Sharpe wrote:Here's a link to the eco scale for you. https://permies.com/t/scale

    I also just wanted to add that I think it's really courageous of you to ask for help with this and put so much of your process out there. Not only will it hopefully help you and your wife, but I think it has the potential to help others through similar things or at least not feel alone in their challenges. I imagine this might be a more common challenge to people embracing permaculture than we know. And a super important one to address.



    Thanks, I’ll check the scale out!

    Honestly, my wife’s therapy is expensive enough to make me not want to go to therapy for my own issues. But I just needed some guidance and I knew you people would be a fantastic resource, you always are! And I really dont have people in my life to talk to about “deep” stuff. I never have. I was a loner as a kid, spending a lot of time in the woods with my dog. Whenever I did try to talk to people they couldn’t relate much and so I quit trying. I LOVE how relatable so many of you are, and especially the diversity. Its so nice to be able to get a wide variety of perspectives and opinions as opposed to just one other person’s. I think that diversity is one of the things that makes this such a beneficial community. And I also hope that others can benefit from reading some of this. I know I was very relieved to hear that so many others know exactly what we’re going through. And so many people have great advice and a lot of optimism.

    Thank you all!
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Debbie Ann wrote:About a million years ago when I was just a little kid, I asked my grandmother why people got married. This was her answer,, as best as I can recall....

    People get married when they find someone that they truly love. A person that they love just as much as they love themselves or sometimes more than they love themselves. And the TWO become ONE. They want to spend the rest of their lives not just making themselves happy but also making this other person, their other half, happy. Always giving and receiving so much love is the most important thing and gives them both great joy no matter how much life changes. What a wonderful life to live!

    That's what she said.



    That is a great way of looking at it. Those are the reasons I married her and once my mind took over with this ideology, I forgot about that commitment. I justified it based off of creating a future. Realizing a dream. But in doing so, I neglected her and now I see that.
     
    Christa Lynn
    Posts: 9
    Location: Zone 5b Michigan
    5
    • Likes 1
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Actually, a large part of the urgency I feel is because we’re almost 30 and want to have a child or two soon. I never wanted kids at all until I discovered permaculture and realized I actually had some hope and a decent life I could offer to a child. Before that, I felt hopeless and that having children would be borderline rude! As soon as I committed to wanting children, I also committed to wanting to get a bunch of stuff established before hand. My thoughts were that I’d rather be picking berries and fruits with a baby on my back than planting brambles and trees with a baby on my back. I wanted to get trees planted, a garden built and some berry beds established before doing the kid thing. So I busted ass and did actually accomplish almost all of that, but my wife is so distraught with our relationship that she doesn’t want kids at the moment, go figure! I do think that will change as my behavior changes though.




    Oh my, yes - neither of us wanted kids at first.  And then when we DID want kids... it didn't happen for years.  We were into our 30s before we had the first one.  At first we didn't want any because we didn't feel we could afford them.   Then we didn't want them because "Look at the world!"  Then... we wanted them because, "Look at the world!" - the same action but with a complete shift of perspective.  We wanted them because we could live our lives differently from the way we grew up - and maybe that would make the world a better place.

    I'm laughing at your comment about fishing, too - I "love to fish" if by that you mean stand barefoot in the river pretending the trout haven't stolen my fly.  I don't care if I actually catch anything, I just want an excuse to stand in the river for hours.  My husband really wants to catch the fish.  At least we enjoy the same activity, if for completely different reasons.  maybe you and your wife and find things like that too - if she wants to do some flower gardening, even just a cutting garden to have bouquets... that's still gardening, and you can do it together and enjoy it.

    Oh, and I wanted to be another vote for reading the Five Love Languages book - that book actually helped my husband and me about 20 years back when it first came out, because we definitely don't naturally speak the same love language.  He feels loved (and is motivated by), me telling him out loud the things I appreciate about him... it's not something I do naturally - my way of showing people I love them is to take care of them - make favorite dishes, give back rubs, clean up (their) mess so the house is relaxing to come home to.  But he didn't recognize those things as me telling him I  loved him.  And I don't feel particularly loved by being told "I love you" aloud.  I actually tend to disbelieve what I hear, unfortunately.  This led to a lot of misunderstand early in our marriage, go both of us feeling unappreciated and unloved.  Actually knowing what "language" each of us used to show love, and which each of us needed in order to feel loved... helped our relationship a lot.  I hope it will do the same for you!
     
    Abraham Palma
    pollinator
    Posts: 359
    Location: Málaga, Spain
    104
    home care personal care forest garden urban food preservation cooking
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    My idealistic mind says we should just be able to base our actions off of feelings instead of schedules,


    If this were true, we wouldn't need an alarm clock (or a rooster) for waking up and going to work. If you are like me and focus too much on a passion, forgetting all the other things you want to do in life, then you need a reminder for addressing the other activities you want to do but keep forgetting.

    Try broadening your concept of ecosystem. Your ecosystem starts in your family, then it extends towards your garden and reaches every single living creature, including polar bears and us readers of your posts. We are all parts of this huge organism (or holobiont) science calls Gaia. Humanity is like an organ of this organism that is malfunctioning, where families are like muscles in the organ. If we want to repair this organ so it works in balance with the rest of the body, we have to make it all together. Families and societies are our safety networks, we become too frail without them, so care and attention must be taken. Since they are part of your ecosystem, you can apply permaculture principles to them too.
    Think it this way: if you achieve a glorious garden but you end up destroying your family and having no friends, who do you think you are going to convince to follow your steps? I am not saying your current family is the perfect one for you, although upon your words it looks fine enough. You probably will be happier with a happy family that is loving and thriving. You can't choose who you love, but you can choose who loves or hates you, just changing the way you behave.

    Also, as others have already said, don't feel guilty for not doing so much work. In permaculture, 80% of the work is observation. Part of it is taking your time maturing what you observed. It's kind of what happens when you face an unsolvable problem, you go to sleep, then next morning you see a solution.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Christa Lynn wrote:

    Actually, a large part of the urgency I feel is because we’re almost 30 and want to have a child or two soon. I never wanted kids at all until I discovered permaculture and realized I actually had some hope and a decent life I could offer to a child. Before that, I felt hopeless and that having children would be borderline rude! As soon as I committed to wanting children, I also committed to wanting to get a bunch of stuff established before hand. My thoughts were that I’d rather be picking berries and fruits with a baby on my back than planting brambles and trees with a baby on my back. I wanted to get trees planted, a garden built and some berry beds established before doing the kid thing. So I busted ass and did actually accomplish almost all of that, but my wife is so distraught with our relationship that she doesn’t want kids at the moment, go figure! I do think that will change as my behavior changes though.




    Oh my, yes - neither of us wanted kids at first.  And then when we DID want kids... it didn't happen for years.  We were into our 30s before we had the first one.  At first we didn't want any because we didn't feel we could afford them.   Then we didn't want them because "Look at the world!"  Then... we wanted them because, "Look at the world!" - the same action but with a complete shift of perspective.  We wanted them because we could live our lives differently from the way we grew up - and maybe that would make the world a better place.

    I'm laughing at your comment about fishing, too - I "love to fish" if by that you mean stand barefoot in the river pretending the trout haven't stolen my fly.  I don't care if I actually catch anything, I just want an excuse to stand in the river for hours.  My husband really wants to catch the fish.  At least we enjoy the same activity, if for completely different reasons.  maybe you and your wife and find things like that too - if she wants to do some flower gardening, even just a cutting garden to have bouquets... that's still gardening, and you can do it together and enjoy it.

    Oh, and I wanted to be another vote for reading the Five Love Languages book - that book actually helped my husband and me about 20 years back when it first came out, because we definitely don't naturally speak the same love language.  He feels loved (and is motivated by), me telling him out loud the things I appreciate about him... it's not something I do naturally - my way of showing people I love them is to take care of them - make favorite dishes, give back rubs, clean up (their) mess so the house is relaxing to come home to.  But he didn't recognize those things as me telling him I  loved him.  And I don't feel particularly loved by being told "I love you" aloud.  I actually tend to disbelieve what I hear, unfortunately.  This led to a lot of misunderstand early in our marriage, go both of us feeling unappreciated and unloved.  Actually knowing what "language" each of us used to show love, and which each of us needed in order to feel loved... helped our relationship a lot.  I hope it will do the same for you!



    We do both like some activities that we used to do together before i felt like i had a purpose in life. We used to fish more and go camping more. The last 3 years though, since buying our house and deciding we want kids in the near future, ive been “too busy”. Ive been trying to recreate Eden for our children to grow up in and haven’t been making any time for activities that don’t further that process. Even though we both wanted to fish and camp more, I didn’t prioritize our wants, I prioritized creating this dream.

    My wife and I most certainly do not speak the same love language, and I can say that confidently even though we haven’t read the book. Its just obvious. But we do have the book and Ill try to get her to read it with me. She wants us to read The Four Agreements together first.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Abraham Palma wrote:

    My idealistic mind says we should just be able to base our actions off of feelings instead of schedules,


    If this were true, we wouldn't need an alarm clock (or a rooster) for waking up and going to work. If you are like me and focus too much on a passion, forgetting all the other things you want to do in life, then you need a reminder for addressing the other activities you want to do but keep forgetting.

    Try broadening your concept of ecosystem. Your ecosystem starts in your family, then it extends towards your garden and reaches every single living creature, including polar bears and us readers of your posts. We are all parts of this huge organism (or holobiont) science calls Gaia. Humanity is like an organ of this organism that is malfunctioning, where families are like muscles in the organ. If we want to repair this organ so it works in balance with the rest of the body, we have to make it all together. Families and societies are our safety networks, we become too frail without them, so care and attention must be taken. Since they are part of your ecosystem, you can apply permaculture principles to them too.
    Think it this way: if you achieve a glorious garden but you end up destroying your family and having no friends, who do you think you are going to convince to follow your steps? I am not saying your current family is the perfect one for you, although upon your words it looks fine enough. You probably will be happier with a happy family that is loving and thriving. You can't choose who you love, but you can choose who loves or hates you, just changing the way you behave.

    Also, as others have already said, don't feel guilty for not doing so much work. In permaculture, 80% of the work is observation. Part of it is taking your time maturing what you observed. It's kind of what happens when you face an unsolvable problem, you go to sleep, then next morning you see a solution.



    You’re absolutely right. I guess I just do fine with sacrifice and hard work. So even though I wanted to slow down and enjoy things more, and I knew my wife wanted the same, I was able to justify my behavior because I was working towards something we both wanted. And I knew that once we had children my “progress” would come to a screeching halt and I would be forced to enjoy the little things for years. It all made sense to my rational mind. But my wife does not do fine with safe if and hard work. She likes comfort, attention and an emotional connection and was not willing to sacrifice that for years in order to realize a dream. Seems to me that when I follow my head instead of my heart, I get myself into messy situations!
     
    Arthur Angaran
    Posts: 264
    Location: Tip of the Mitt, Michigan
    38
    monies cooking building
    • Likes 5
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hi,  There is a lot of very good advise from everyone.  We all come to it with our own perspectives.  Some of us are youngish and some older.  I also applaud the both of you for wanting to keep working towards  life and not take the path of marital death.

    You seem to have some understanding of each others needs. The books will help open the ideas and sketch out the painting, but you will need to put the hard work of actually applying paint to canvas. It is doable, and not daunting like making a cabin with only a chisel and no hammer.    Something I did notice, you said

    She has gone hunting with me for the sole purpose of spending time with me. I don't think she’s ever said she likes hunting though. She gets cold and bored.

     Maybe you are a doer who likes to show love by doing things, and she just wants attention which gives her love tank a refilling. If so, to be blunt, put the tools down and be with her. Be with doesn't mean just be in the room. ( I also love by doing, and sorry I just yelled at myself for leaving my wife alone today.)  It is good to be reminded of things.

    You also wrote

    And yes, if we moved closer to our friends and family, and found at least a couple acres of halfway decent land Im sure i would adapt quickly. I always adapt quickly. My fears are leaving behind what seems to be so perfect, admitting that my beautiful plan for the future isnt going to work out, worrying how different people woild treat our property, and worrying that being closer to friends and family would only serve to distract her further from permaculture. But I do believe we need to face our fears, that we cant control outcomes, that change is inevitable and that she really does know whats best for her. I told myself when we bought our house that it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done to try not to become attached to it. Seems I forgot that I knew that right at the start! I lost track of that amongst all the busyness.  



    I'd like to tell you a story.  There was a very young man who visited old people in what was then called nursing homes. Today it's called Hospice. This young man spent many of hours with people, making and loosing friends. One year alone he went to 27 funerals. He learned the value of doing things right away, impulsively.  But, by making friends with so many people on their death beds he found many things they all had in common, even though they were all different types of people. They all had regrets.  The most common was the regret of not spending more time with the ones they loved. The weeds of life got in the way and they didn't see it until it was too late. Many regretted spending so much time at work making money. Yet now that they were dying, they were looking forward to being reunited again with the ones they loved.  

    I look through out the year deep into myself and try to see if I'm heading off regret or living in the weeds of regret.   So I think if you actually stop what isn't necessary for survival, and spend time by asking yourself, If I am on my death bed what regrets do I have today and am I working to create them tomorrow?   Will moving be a regret? Will divorce be one? Will children etc... I think you already started this, but look deeper and find your true self. If you don't like what you see, you can change. If you don;t like what you are doing because it is not you, that can change.   But also include your other half in this exercise. And don't forget it can be a full scale wrap your head in duct tape in case it explodes.
     
    Brody Ekberg
    pollinator
    Posts: 619
    Location: Iron River MI zone 3b
    66
    hugelkultur fungi foraging chicken cooking medical herbs
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Arthur Angaran wrote: Maybe you are a doer who likes to show love by doing things, and she just wants attention which gives her love tank a refilling. If so, to be blunt, put the tools down and be with her. Be with doesn't mean just be in the room. ( I also love by doing, and sorry I just yelled at myself for leaving my wife alone today.)  It is good to be reminded of things.

     The most common was the regret of not spending more time with the ones they loved. The weeds of life got in the way and they didn't see it until it was too late. Many regretted spending so much time at work making money. Yet now that they were dying, they were looking forward to being reunited again with the ones they loved.  

    I look through out the year deep into myself and try to see if I'm heading off regret or living in the weeds of regret.   So I think if you actually stop what isn't necessary for survival, and spend time by asking yourself, If I am on my death bed what regrets do I have today and am I working to create them tomorrow?   Will moving be a regret? Will divorce be one? Will children etc... I think you already started this, but look deeper and find your true self. If you don't like what you see, you can change. If you don;t like what you are doing because it is not you, that can change.   But also include your other half in this exercise. And don't forget it can be a full scale wrap your head in duct tape in case it explodes.



    You are 100% accurate in calling me a “doer”. I was a “thinker” for most of my childhood and I thought myself into a mental breakdown/spiritual revelation experience. Out of that, I discovered permaculture and after doing a little reading I literally told myself and my wife “i have thought enough and learned enough (felt like my head was about to explode with information) and now its time to put this information into action.” I became a doer in that instant. What good is knowledge in a head? It should be utilized for the betterment of life. I still agree with this, but there needs to be balance and moderation in order to keep relationships alive. If I was single, then sure, grind away. But I’m not single and dont want to be single, and so my life needs more balance than I’ve been giving it.

    You’re also correct in saying that my wife wants attention and that she needs her “love tank refilled”. I can do that, to an extent. But I worry that she’s too reliant on others for her happiness. I always feel that the love tank primarily needs to be filled by yourself, maybe just topped off by others. But that’s coming from my loner, self reliant, emotionally detached state of mind, so probably biased.

    As far as regrets go: I dont know how one is supposed to be able to figure out what they may or may not regret in the future. As you said, many people who were busy in life regret not spending more time with people. I wonder how many social butterflies regret not accomplishing more or getting more involved with the physical process of life. You know, the grass is always greener sort of thing…

    I think i would be a lot more open to spending more time with people if people did different things. But in my past, people just wanted distractions. Most of my time spent with people was watching tv/movies, gossiping, drinking in excess, or trying to escape the responsibilities of life. As a teenager, I realized how much of my, and others, activities were simply trying to escape the life we were living. I think that’s still what a lot of people spend their time doing. I’m not interested. I would rather put that time and effort into creating the life I DO want to live in than trying to escape the one I dont want to live in. So, I guess I would be happy to (and actually dream of) be more social and spend more time with friends and family. But not in front of a tv or distracting ourselves from reality. Honestly, my ultimate dream is to be able to stay home at our paradise and just teach children and their parents about permaculture. I see myself being an educator, influencer and motivator, which are all very people oriented things. Maybe I can start with family and friends though…
     
    elle sagenev
    pollinator
    Posts: 2701
    Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
    458
    kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
    • Likes 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator

    Brody Ekberg wrote:

    elle sagenev wrote:I have been with my husband for 18 years now. To put that in perspective, I was 18 when we got married. It's always been work. Sometimes that work is harder than others, but you have to be present. You have to be a part of the relationship for it to be a relationship.

    We have 3 kids. They've helped me spread seed. They've helped me plant trees. They've had to be banned from the greenhouse so they didn't eat all the tomatoes. I don't just do permaculture for them, I do it with them. I teach them about it. I explain what things are. I have conversations about earth worms and bees and why I desire my son to pee on a particular tree. lol They circle plant varieties they want in magazines and we start seeds together.

    Sometimes I also have to stop pruning or mulching or digging and go jump on the trampoline with them. I'm growing people. I'm not just growing plants. You need to stop growing plants because your person is standing on scorched earth and you need to heal it. My husband didn't want permaculture or homesteading but he's helped me along the way. He's been a part of it. I've asked him to help. I've asked him to be a part of it. I've also been a part of what he desires. We are partners in all things. Even things we don't desire or understand. Believe you me he does not want to be outside shoveling things for the pigs or for trees but he's there and he does because he adores me, and what is important to me is important to him.



    I honestly thought that me busting my ass to build my dream WAS being present for the relationship, although in an indirect way. I thought I was being responsible, disciplined, focused and dedicated to a life that all of us can enjoy together. But thats not what my wife interpreted, and not how she wants things to go. She needs more from me emotionally and physically, and I understand that. I like challenges and was detached from feelings and so even though I thought taking a break, stretching more, hanging out with my wife more would be nice, it didn’t matter. I literally said “I dont care what I want or what other people want. I care about my needs and other peoples needs”. In my mind I’m thinking air, food, water, shelter and sleep. In her mind she’s thinking attention, love, respect… and even though she told me that, I just thought she was too wrapped up in her feelings and neglecting the physical world around her. I guess both were true really. Feelings should guide us, not be looked at as distractions. And the physical world is important because if you dont meet your physical needs, you wont be feeling anything for long!

    Another thing I struggle with is asking for help. I tend to chug along by myself before asking for help. I want people to want to be involved, not feel obligated to help. To me, if you aren’t interested in the physical aspects of permaculture, you aren’t interested in life. I dont get it. But I may need to ask for help from her occasionally and in doing so, she may come to love some of it. She’s already mentioned that she will “come around” eventually. But she’s a procrastinator and I certainly am not! She’s always late and I feel urgency. I told her that I can slow down, wait for her, help her along the way so long as she’s committed to this path. But if she isn’t interested in this path, I wont be waiting for nothing. Its boiled down to picking life goals/priorities and helping eachother through our unconscious behaviors now.

    Hell of a time to be seriously considering quitting my career too!



    I get ya. I don't ask for help from him unless I really need to. Though at this point he comes to help because he wants to hang out. We've also done things together. We created a winding path and obstacle course and walking that path daily during warm times connects us to our property, plants and each other. It's great time spent together. He even suggested buying different trees to plant all around the path and helped me mark where they should go then helped dig the holes to plant them. He sees my field doing well and discusses spreading it. I have connected him to this whole thing just through my enthusiasm and desire to share that with him. It's silly but he gets the first fruit from any of the plants. I bring it in like an excited child. Try this tomato, try this berry, try this and that. That is largely my personality though as I'm a huge extroverted sharer.

    However there are things I used to do that I absolutely do not do anymore out of respect for him. We don't raise any poultry for meat anymore because he asked me to stop doing that. He hated the peacocks so I did get rid of them. He likes the pigs well enough and doesn't mind having them or possibly getting more. Since it's his property too I am as respectful to his requests as I can be.

    But yeah. I think what you are building is great but if you build it too perfection and are standing amidst it alone it won't have the same meaning as sitting in something you've done with someone you love.
     
    Posts: 2
    Location: Anchorage
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
      Number of slices to send:
      Optional 'thank-you' note:
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Dear Brody,
    Everyone above has tips for you. If I were you, I would spend time with my wife, understand what she wants.
    Perhaps you spent too much time on the house you never wanted to sell and your work. If you are confident enough, do you dare to change? dare to redo everything for his wife?
     
    What are you saying? I thought you said that Santa gave you that. And this tiny ad:
    Permaculture Voices 1, 2 and 3 - all 117 hours of video!
    https://permies.com/t/voices123
    reply
      Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic