Children need adults, namely parents, who will lead them well. Parents, teachers, and adults, in an attempt to remain relatable, may often forget that the most important need for a child is a role model. Adults may allow certain behaviors to go unpunished or guidelines and boundaries to be crossed without consequence in order for the child to like them. There is nothing wrong with being liked by a child, but if we cannot lead them, we have lost.
Our children need our leadership. There is a constant tension between providing guidance to and being a friend to our children. The word “no” is not a bad thing. Children will hear it in their lifetime and will need to comply with it as they venture through life. To use the word “no” occasionally is a positive necessity. Leadership, guidelines, and boundaries enable our children to be safe and to receive the direction they need to live a successful and happy life.
What is a Marriage?
It is a covenant, which means that two people are committed to the relationship and to protecting each other and the sanctiy and privacy of the marriage. It is two people sharing their lives, but at the same time not becoming so enmeshed in each other that they lose all sense of their own individual identities. It is two people that plan together for now and for the future so that their paths intertwine and not separate. It is two people that endeavor to look out for the happiness and contentment of the other. It is two people who realize that they can ultimately make their own paths, but that also have the grace and flexibility to allow the Lord to shape them.
What Goes Wrong?
Few people realize that when entering a marriage relationship we bring not only our hopes and plans for the future but also the baggage from our past. Often we know that we have baggage, but we choose to ignore it before the wedding, hoping that it will disappear. We are like pioneers in a new land. The territory is unfamiliar but we are hopeful for the future.
Often we view people who never seem to have problems as successful; the successful family is so together that they hardly raise a voice at each other. We carry a “Brady Bunch” image in our minds of what an ideal family looks like. To that family, a difficult problem is Greg breaking an arm at football or Jan struggling with being a middle child. Mr. and Mrs. Brady breezed through blending their two families together without a care in the world.
Sharpening One Another
Despite these preconceived notions, the successful person is really the one that does not hold onto unrealistic expectations and perceptions, but rather realizes that difficult days will come and can be overcome. Difficult times will always come, and unfortunately we cannot know the future. On the other hand, we have to experience trials to gain victories. So as much as we bring hope into our marriages, we also bring difficulty. These two things constantly accompany us, and work hand in hand building our marriages, if we realize that problems are a normal part of life. Mark 2:17 says,
“When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
This scripture points out both that we are imperfect and also that Jesus expects us to be imperfect. We grate against one another with attitudes and opinions, creating intense feelings. The important thing is how we deal with and handle those feelings.
For myself, I had my own music business, cleaning business and then taught at a school. When we started our church I went back to teaching piano. Because I loved church, I was involved in so many areas.
Because Dean believed in me, he regularly announced that I could do anything!
I made mistakes as a mum. There were many angry days and my kids knew it. And so part of my leadership as a mum meant apologizing.
Failure though does not mean that we stop leading our children. We must make adjustments but still lead strong. We don’t let guilt dictate our parenting.
As a woman, I did stress easily. Dean travelled, I often had to work, we moved overseas, we raised children without extended family and we have faced chronic illness. Finances were basically absent in the early years of our marriage. My mind whirled with worry.
However I kept in mind the importance of my children. They are our legacy when life is done.
My vision for my children – loving God and therefore loving family, church and people. They were encouraged to embrace learning and change, to better themselves and therefore offer help to others.
The boys loved their upbringing but know that it was not perfect. None is and we laugh at our shortcomings. But deep and real chats with mum, and fun and entrepreneurial ventures with dad have created great memories. Despite busyness, they felt loved and important.
Sometimes we girls have opportunities to volunteer at church, or be involved in planning events at church, while our husbands are working full-time to support our families. The following blog entry was written by one of our incredible pastors at C3 Church, Jessica Lenox, to address how we wives we can handle these situations.
When we wives are able to be more involved at church, this can bring up quite a few feelings…
We are excited. They may not be.
We are passionate. They may seem not to care.
We are consumed by projects or events at church. They have other things on their minds.
We can come to resent their feelings, think that they are not on board & look down on them.
Communication is key, not just about stuff that happens around the church, but about what is happening in our husbands world & how important they are to us. Try to at least start and end conversations with “I love you!”
We all know that people need to be seen & heard and spend our days doing that for our church family. Often we forget to bring that philosophy home with our family. Everyone needs to be listened to.
Proverbs 31:10-12 – MSG version
“A good woman is hard to find and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.”
Men feel loved by our respect. When all of us girls get together it is important for our husbands to know that we have their back and are not babbling our stuff to everyone. And if we do need to talk with someone, we choose that someONE carefully.
Part of respect is praise. I need to speak highly of my husband to others and to his face. Like Proverbs 31:12 states, we do this generously. He needs to know that we are not going to complain about him to all of our girlfriends. Generosity goes over and above. It doesn’t always match the deed. God didn’t put me in my husbands life to change him or train him. He is not my child where I come up with consequences for his actions. God does that. Life does that.
Once I have done this, my husband’s ears are open to hear me. His heart is open to what God is saying through me. Then I find the way and the time that works best for us to talk. We are a team and so we both need to get the download of what is happening at church. We use all of our resources to communicate: texts, emails, phone calls, coffee breaks, lunch during the week. And then of course date nights to reconnect.
It can’t be all work and no play. At times we get upset because our husbands have not touched the house but then we have to ask ourselves when was the last time we allowed them to touch us? The 2 are not really related except that when my husband and I are open to each other and connected we are more aware of each other’s needs. Make your marriage a priority!