"Marriage was designed by God to honor Him. Our union and our loving one
another, is a statement to the next generation of what love looks like and
what two people who keep their promise to one another looks like. We have
a generation of young people today who desperately need to look into the
eyes of their mom and dad and see them loving one another, committed to
one another, and honoring God in their relationship. And you do that one
step at a time, one day at a time over a lifetime. That's what covenant-
keeping love looks like in a marriage relationship." - Dennis Rainey
This is the picture God wants every Christian couple to model for their
children. And, while we all start out with the "best of intentions" to
have our marriages reflect that picture of a God-centered relationship to
our children, things can and will "happen" that can distort or ruin that picture.
This week we're going to share some comments from author and marriage
counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman, as he talks about a common problem in
marriage that all of us who are parents (especially of very young
children) need to be aware of because if you follow his advice and counsel
it could save your marriage. (While we don't know the origination of the
source, we do know it comes from Dr. Chapman.) He writes:
"For over 30 years, I have been sitting in the counseling office listening
to couples pour out their pain. For me, nothing has been sadder than those
couples that haven't focused on parenting their children while neglecting
their marriages. They were deluded into thinking that the best thing they
could do was to seek to meet the children's needs. Yet, they failed to
recognize that when they didn't meet each other's needs, they were setting
the worst examples for their children.
"My wife and I learned early on that we had to focus on each other if we
were to become good parents. We had serious struggles in the early years
of our marriage, before the children came. When they arrived, we knew that
we couldn't let them come between us. We love our children devotedly, but
more than anything, we wanted to have the kind of marriage that would
serve as an example for them. I remember how hard we worked to get the
children to bed early so we could have time together.
"Karolyn chose to be a 'stay-at-home-mom,' and we agreed to live on less
so we could have time for marriage and parenting. I'm not suggesting it
was easy. I am saying that we have no regrets. The children are now gone,
and we are still together - loving, learning, and growing.
"I'm convinced that one of the best things any of us can do for our
children is to provide them a strong marital model. Children need to know
that their parents love not only them, but also each other. The child's
sense of security grows as he/she sees parents loving each other. To put
your marriage on hold for 18 or more years while you raise the children is
not only detrimental to the marriage, it is devastating to the children.
"We must learn to 'childproof' our marriages during those parenting years,
or we will soon learn that the marriage withers and dies. When the
parental team breaks down and begins to disintegrate, the children become
the biggest losers. They lose their family unit, which is where they build
their sense of security. When children don't feel secure, their whole
world seems to unravel. No amount of baseball, piano lessons, or toys can
make up for that kind of loss.
"As a matter of fact, recent research has shown that when the family unit
falls apart, so do the children. Children from broken homes show a higher
-- Academic problems
-- Dropping out of school
-- Teen pregnancy
-- Alcohol and drug use/abuse
-- Running away
-- Emotional and behavioral problems
-- Poverty as an adult
"And that's just to name a few. So, if you're thinking that you're doing
the best for your child when you put your spouse behind them in priority
and your children as number one, you're sorely mistaken. Although children
obviously require our time and attention (and money, too), they do not
require ALL our time or attention (or money).
"If we hope to influence the next generation, we must experience a change
of focus. Of course we're interested in protecting our children from all
those things I just listed, and the best way to do that is to help
marriages stay together."
Are you modeling a good marriage for your children to observe and emulate?
While you can't control your spouse's actions, you do control yours. Is
the way in which you are relating to your spouse distracting your children
and others from seeing Christ? Are you revealing and reflecting the love
of Christ in the way you talk and through your actions?
Please know that, "the marriage relationship is one man and one woman in a
unique lifetime covenant commitment where they glorify God, enjoy the
companionship that is provided by marriage, and raise godly offspring -
that's God's intent and purpose for marriage. I want to emphasize that
your children first see how to love by watching you and your spouse relate
to one another - that's part of your legacy." (Dennis Rainey)
That's something to think and pray about this week. Are you modeling a
good marriage for your children to observe and emulate?
God Bless! Cindy and Steve Wright