Monday, October 21, 2013
Day 21 - How 2Build a Strong Marriage for You and Your Kids
Marriage. I've often said that marriage isn't spelled the way you think, it's actually spelled w-o-r-k! I've been at this marriage thing almost 18 years. I can't say we know all there is to know, but we have come pretty far considering this was marriage #2 for both of us. I don't like to admit that to too many people, so consider yourself special!
I happen to ask my teenage son the other day how many kids he knew whose parents were divorced. He said, "I know lots of kids mom, more have divorced parents than not." Whoa! That just hit me like a ton of bricks. My children are floating around other kids who have a distorted view of marriage, to say the least. These children are toted back and forth, forced to choose holidays through a pick and choose relationship with their parents, if they are engaged at all, that had nothing to do with them. No wonder second marriages are on the decrease because many people are just choosing to just cohabit-ate rather than attempt another marriage.
The average divorce rate right now in the U.S. is between 40-50%, however for second marriages the rate jumps to 60-70% and for third marriages a whopping 70-73%. Did I ever tell you that I didn't like my statistics class one bit? How can we reverse this trend and see young men and women growing into healthy, spiritual beings with a desire to have long-lasting and healthy marriages?
I choose to believe that there is something that we all can do to build strong marriage. We can build long lasting, healthy, God-centered marriages that set a the example for our tweens and teens. It won't happen overnight, but consistency is key. Whether or not you are married or raising your kids as a single parent/co-parenting, whatever it looks like, YOU have the ability to help teach your children God's view of marriage.
God created marriage! I think He is the best source for teaching our children about it.
Five Tips to Building Strong Marriages
1. Make God the center of your life. Whether you are married or not, both of you in the relationship must be committed Christ-followers. I know what you're thinking, if you are in an unequally yoked marriage, you are still responsible for yourself and your spiritual walk and for still following God's rules for marriage. Working on yourself is the best way to ensure a healthy relationship. The better your vertical relationship with the Lord the better all of your other relationship will be.
2. Meet Daily Eyeball to Eyeball - In this world of running to and fro, practices and lessons, homework and dinner, and also work/ministry find time for both of you to do a daily download. The funny thing is I remember a time when my husband and I had to lock ourselves in the bathroom for 15 minutes just to give each other some uninterrupted attention. Do what works for you, but find that TIME to connect, eyeball to eyeball no matter what. Use this time to update each other on family specifics, give each other edifying words and find one thing to be thankful for.
3. Regular Date Time/Night/Day/Lunch - Whatever works in your life, just DO IT! Make time to spend with each other. Just as we must spend time with our Savior for leadership and guidance regularly in order for us to Hear His voice we must put that same effort behind our marriages. Make your spouse a priority, not THE ONLY priority. There is a fine line here people, anything we place above God is not doing anyone any good. But you must, you have too, you will thanks me years from now when you can look over at your spouse and your heart still beats a little faster when you catch each others glance! Oh how GOD desire HIS best for our marriages.
If you are struggling in this area to truly connect, start with a couples bible study. Start making out a list of fun things to do and start crossing off the list. I'm not talking extravagant or expensive either. Some of my favorite times are just spent together with a book, a blanket and the beach. We read to each other and talk about it.
4. Serve One Another - Christ came to serve, not to be served. So, if we want to be more Christ-like in our own lives this means to serve our spouse too! It may seem like an easy thing to do, but so many people get bogged down in this area. I fall in love with my husband all over again when he picks up the slack in the kitchen by putting the dishes away, once in a while. I don't expect him to do it, we both feel we are partners in this whole life thing and want to show each other how much we care. Also, say THANK YOU! Yes, even to your spouse. Ask nicely when you need their help! I know, I know it seems like a given right? But, let's set the example for our children on how to serve one another!
I remember when I was pregnant, my hubby wanted to make sure his boys saw how he treated me, for example, opening doors, carrying the groceries, making sure he was helpful in all areas, because he wanted to make sure that these young men would learn how to be Godly husbands for their own wives. Oh, how I love this man of mine!
5. Be Humble and Say Sorry - I put these together because they kinda go hand in hand. Be ready to humble yourself before your spouse and say these words, "I'm sorry!" Oooops! Did I really just say that? I have had to really work on this one. Early on in our marriage, our arguments were more about how we argued than what we argued about. I was always ready with my retaliation rocks to pummel him with but he was always ready with an apology. Sometimes, I admit I just wanted to be mad, to be mad!
It has only been by the Grace of God and my humble obedience to want to be changed that I have learned the true definition of submission. I am so much better at saying I'm sorry and we don't even argue any more. I now understand how to be my husbands helpmate, to lift him up, to support him and to love him from the depths of my heart.
I don't know where your marriage is today, I don't know if your's just ended, and now you're a single parent. What I do know is that I serve a God who is bigger than our circumstances. He wants us to live our best life and be the best parents we can be. This only comes from everyday obedience, sacrifices, and lots of hard work. But I'm willing to go the distance, and fight the good fight if it means that my children will see a Godly marriage, with a mom and dad who want to follow Christ with all their hearts. I want them to see a mom and dad who will pray for them, and point them to Jesus at all times. I want them to grow into amazing Godly men and women so that they can change the tide of marriages in our world. I want them to teach their children to have long-lasting, healthy, and Godly marriages! How about you??
I'm excited to share with you, unless you already know about a great program Focus on the Family is launching to help families. Find out more HERE.
Thanks for hanging out with me along this 31 Day Journey, even though it's been sporadic, I'm pushing on toward the goal! I'd love to hear how you invest in your marriage and how you make it work!