Category Archives: Parenting

The Only 2 Things

As many of you know over the past year and a half Sally and I have had a complete change of direction at the Hand of the Lord.  Some things that we thought were permanent in our life were abruptly removed.  The problem was that we didn’t want to let go.  Have you been there?

We eventually let go and have been praying, seeking and wondering ever since. Wondering and wandering through a series of options, thoughts and a sea of potential.  We have a glimmer of at least part of where God is leading us, but we don’t have the whole picture.  We are becoming ok with that.  Slowly.  This post is not focused on change…it is focused on The Only 2 Things.

We have seen people make declarations and commitments that something is “for life”. A statement that either it will never change or they will never stop doing it.  I have to say that’s not me, at least not anymore.  For me there are Only Two Things that will be consistently and daily part of my life.  Only two.

  1. My relationship with God.
  2. My relationship with my wife.

Everything else is variable. At this point I hear the thoughts of those of you who are parents (as are we).  “But what about your children?  Why aren’t they included?”  I love our boys and I am proud to be their father.  I treasure any time I have with them.  But they are adults and have begun charting their own paths.  I’ll never stop being their dad and will always love them, but the day will come when we won’t talk as often as we do now.  Where we and they live, life changes, and most importantly the call of God may modify when and how often we communicate.  They will have their own families and responsibilities. We will become smaller players in their daily lives and that is perfectly normal.

But the two things, God and my wife, will both be there as long as we live. In life be prepared for things to change, sometimes by your own decision and at other times in ways that are outside your control.  Let me make a statement that you may already understand or will one day become clear to you.

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At some point God will shake up your world. It may be through a job change, a loved one moving or passing away, a need to move to a new city, a call to a different church or one of many other possibilities.  But make no mistake, the life you have now is not permanent.

You can’t control everything, but you CAN control the strength of your relationship with God. Have daily time in the Bible and prayer.  Make God the priority above all else and you will be living in the power of His peace.  You can also control how much love and care you pour into the relationship you have with your spouse.  You can’t control her or his reaction, but God’s Word has taught me that as you put more love in to your marriage then you will see wonderful results.

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I’m not saying to neglect other family and friends. A support system is of great value to you AND you should be a support to others who are following after you.  But over time both of those groups will change, perhaps several times.

When it comes down to it there are only two things that are going to be a part of your daily experience for a lifetime. God and your spouse.  Make sure each gets the attention appropriate to the relationship and changes in your life will be less about loss and more about adventure!

Love you all!

-Troy

 

The Most Common Mistake Many Couples Make

I love our boys.  They are out of the house now (well, the one in college comes home for the occasional weekend :-)) and it’s just me and the pretty girl.  Empty nesters.  I’m ok with that…and so is she.  Don’t get me wrong, we miss them, and it was sudden as they both literally left within two months of each other.  But we don’t mind the quiet.  I hear stories of parents who are devastated when their last (or only) child leaves the house.

What is the difference between us and them?

We never centered our marriage around our children.

Wow!  How cruel is THAT??  For many the prevailing wisdom is that the purpose of marriage IS children.  It’s not.  Ah, but didn’t God say that was the reason for marriage? Let’s look at a couple of scriptures.

What is the purpose of marriage?

In Genesis 1:28 we find the following, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 

That seems like a command to have children. Or at least a command to raise children (a nod to all of my amazing friends who have adopted a child :-)).  But it does NOT say the purpose of marriage is children.

How about this one, ““Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6

Did you catch it?  The purpose of marriage?  

In the passage Jesus says, “”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.”  What is “this reason”?  Because the Creator made them male and female.  God’s purpose in marriage is simply to allow two people, male and female, to share in a unique bond of body, mind, soul and spirit.  Marriage is a shadow of the bond between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It also is a picture of Christ and the church.

This means children, although dearly loved, are secondary to the marriage relationship.  If everything in your home is centered around the children then what will you do when they are gone?  You might want to develop some shared interests.  Focusing FIRST on your marriage will benefit you as a couple and your children in the knowledge that they are safe from the pain of divorce.

Here is a rule of thumb I learned from an odd source (ask me if you care).  “The children knew from a very young age that some outings were for everyone in the family and some were for mom and dad alone.”

Leave your children every once in a while with someone you trust and get away.  For a date or an evening, a weekend, but go take a vacation…just the two of you!  You need this time alone together.

Love your children, nurture and care for them, but don’t center your marriage around them.  It’s not healthy for anyone in the home.

Now get out of here and go somewhere with your amazing wife!

-Troy