Letting Children Have a Vision of Marriage

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“The parent who loves his children and takes pleasure in training them in right conduct gives the best possible testimonial to marriage.

On the other hand, the parent who constantly complains about his physical, financial or emotional burdens breaks down his youngster’s vision of marriage as a worthy state in life.”

– Rev. George A. Kelly 

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I stumbled upon this passage above a month ago when reading, and it felt like getting hit with a two-by-four upside the head!  LOL  While I do strive to be the best mom I can be to our kids, enjoying teaching them and doing life with them, the overall quote felt convicting!  The worst thing I think in my journey as a mother would be to rob my children of the hope and joy they should have at this age – by making them fear growing up and feeling like they won’t be able to handle whatever burdens or trials they’re supposed to carry later on.

But I never linked breaking a youngster’s vision of marriage as a worthy state in life, with complaining – it makes so much sense!

And of course it’s true, a complaining mother is a drain on everyone in the family, she  sucks the joy and happiness out of life.  Sure, life may be hard, but I can see how crucial it is to choose our attitudesomething my husband taught me I think in our 2nd year of marriage from a book he had read in college.

Ironically, it was a book about work-ethic mentality, meant for people in the corporate world!  But it was a great book for how to live one’s life in general, echoing sound biblical advice of doing one’s work with a cheerful attitude, putting other’s above yourself in “making their day” (making them elated!), and finding fulfillment in enjoying your work.  It was interesting… to think one can change their whole experience of even their dire circumstances, by simply changing their attitude.

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How Does a Mom Exhibit a Worthy Vision of Marriage?

Make it a point to have fun, and have fun with your children and husband often!!!

This is something that should be a given, however, I think our natural default as humans is to fall into complaining.  Therefore we have to choose our attitude, no matter what is going on.  And to tell you the truth, even if everything is going well, our sin nature masked in the temptation to complain can come out even then unfortunately.

With how busy life gets, or bogged down with various day-to-day tasks, hardships or even trials families go through, I am seeing how setting aside time for making joyous and happy memories together is a necessary engagement.

This means even if we’ve had a long week, and we had something fun scheduled at the end of it, we make sure to still do it, in lieu of staying at home and calling it an early night.  We’ve found it’s so much more fun to go out together and experience our “fun” things, rather than just giving in the passivity of tiredness or even the kids’ moods.

Love your husband well… and openly… and at every opportunity!!!

It is sad to me that this still needs to be said, but nothing makes children happier and more at peace than seeing and knowing how in love their parents are, and how much fun they have together and with them.  

I think it is the secret recipe for a blissful family life overall.  Not that hard things don’t come, or heartbreaking tragedies, but even in the midst of these in our life together, we’ve found that the love and joy between us, carries us through those times much easier than it would be if we didn’t have that in our marriage.

Complaining or bad attitudes in general just makes everything harder, less fun, and definitely less loving.  This is true whether at work, school, in friendships, but probably especially within a marriage and around one’s children, who see them as they are all the time.

One of my favorite books of the Bible is Philippians, because it is the book on how to have joy in one’s life.  This passage comes to mind whenever I find myself tempted to complain:

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world as you hold forth the word of life, in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” 

Philippians 2:14-16

I want my children to have a good vision of what a worthy marriage looks like, however human we may be.

Stephanie

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Pregnancy, Pain, & Frustration

This past couple of weeks have gotten increasingly hard around our house.  I’ve made it to 37 1/2 weeks, but wow!!!  I’ll just say it’s been a brutal couple of weeks and feel like I have a ways to go still.  We only need to make it until next Friday (10 days), but handling two – just two!!! – active and loud kids has become embarrassingly hard now.  We know several families who have many more (4, 5, 6, even one family with 9!!!).  And yet here I am, struggling with only 2!  I have the hardest time walking in the afternoon/evening, and had made plans in my head a few weeks earlier that once Summer started, we were going to go out everyday and have fun at a water park we’re close to, but I soon realized that all that walking, being in the heat, and not even being able to really handle well our toddler’s tantrums when I’m out, would have made those plans nearly impossible.  That or they’d have possibly made the baby come early.  So home it’s been for the most part, and the baby is so low I feel like she could just fall out. :O

With all this going on, I’ve been really struggling with whining and complaining to my husband about any and everything.  I hate hearing myself complain, as I’m sure most people do.  It makes you feel like a failure and feel worse than before (at least for me).  But in these last stages where there’s so much pain at the end of the night, mostly where her head is putting “lots” (doctor’s own words!) of pressure on my cervix, I feel bad that he’s had to hear about all the pain and stress and frustration with our kids, after he’s just dealt with annoying people and criminals for several hours and is exhausted, too.

I’m working on trying to find peace and really asking God to help me better endure this short time left of the pain, and the difficulty of managing the other two kids with less of an attitude that I shouldn’t have it “so hard.”  This article was great for dealing with toddlers when they’re “driving you nuts!”  Getting help from my mom has been a God-send for me during this time ❤ and knowing my husband will be taking a month off after she’s born is so comforting.  And tactic #9 was used today, as both kids had high fever viruses and the little one had an ear infection.  Taking him in to the dr. while having contractions off and on was ridiculous, but my mom came with me and we got through it somehow.

We also had a false alarm yesterday, contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes and I forgot to wait it out to see if they’d go away, and instead drove to the hospital with the kids (while contracting… probably not the smartest idea).  My labor with our toddler came that way when it was his time to be born, and he was coming so fast the Dr. on call had to come in immediately to do the c-section.  This time though, the nurses and my Dr. said I was definitely having contractions, but by an hour or two later, they had gotten much less frequent and it wasn’t really labor.  We’re supposed to wait for a c-section in 10 days anyway, but our babies just tend to come on their schedule!

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So all this being said, I’m really trying to find some sort of spiritual blessing or something I can cling to that will help me get through with a better attitude until she arrives.  Some things I’ve thought about:

  • It’s hard right now physically (and emotionally) to be so pregnant and have a toddler, but that also means she’s so close to coming
  • Perseverance is a good thing… right?  LOL  Paul did say about our sufferings (not that this would really count to most people as a true suffering, maybe I’m a wimp but… ) that perseverance leads to character, and character leads to having hope.
  • Patient enduring of trials is good, even if it’s hard and not pleasant
  • Trials don’t seem to last forever, usually they come and go, and this particular one is so temporary, and there’s such a blessing at the end – a new baby! – to look forward to.

Complaining is Not a Virtue

Criticizing, complaining, and nagging are killers in a marriage.  Usually, it’s the wife who feels this is her role to fill (someone needs to be unhappy don’t they?), but I’ve seen men who do it too.  The effect on a marriage is the same as a serious disease: love dies.

Why would a wife or husband criticize and nag constantly?  I’m not really sure I know… when my husband and I were first married almost 7 years ago, I remember being upset that he wasn’t perfect – it was ridiculous, as if I myself was perfect!  Sometimes he’d forget things, and because we’d agreed on which things we’d take care of, I’d take it personal if he’d forget a choreI remember I tried the nagging – criticizing routine out, but it just didn’t work – it didn’t help my husband & it made me into a nasty person, so thankfully it didn’t last long.

I worked at a bookstore, so I had an endless supply of marriage books to read when on break or during a very slow time.  The number one thing that seems to get to men is their wives choosing to criticize instead of suggesting, to nag instead of reminding.  When I started to take a more mature approach of reminding (and allowing us both to be humans who sometimes need grace) instead of criticizing and nagging, an amazing thing happened – it worked!

When you commit to talking about things you want differently or facing the problems that come up in a mature, peaceful manner that gives respect to your partner, your marriage changes.  The problem with criticizing and nagging is that there is no respect in it!

Let me tell you a real life story that I saw play out.  There was a man I used to work with who is my husband’s age (29), he seemed like a good person, he worked, took care of his wife and young baby, they owned cars and a beautiful house, but he always seemed to be unhappy at work – “grumpy.”  The littlest thing would make him angry because he was always set at irritable.

I didn’t really like him at first because of his bad attitude, but then I found out that his wife was mean to him.  He was doing research on the side so that he could finish a Master’s degree, and his cubicle mate let me know that his wife routinely ridiculed his research.  It seems his wife was rarely happy, complaining and nagging him about everything and anything.  I was in the vicinity when I heard him call her a “bitch” to his friends at work.  He started to get close to one of the female coworkers in another area in our building, I would see him flirting with her, and being around her more and more.  They started joking in a sexual manner.  It was really hard to watch.

If a man can’t find peace in his own home, where he should be able to feel relaxed, accepted, loved, and content, he begins to not only hate coming home, but he begins to hate his life.  That sad reality is often the precipitator of stupid behaviors like drinking or taking drugs, Internet shenanigans, and inappropriate flirting or worse.” -Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands

When a man (or a woman) gets constantly criticized and nagged for things they can never seem to do right, they start at first to try harder, but when that doesn’t work, they eventually give up.  This giving up is like a defense mechanism for them, but it exasperates even more the wife or husband that’s criticizing.  Neither person ever wins this way.

Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.”  Bible, Philippians 2:14-15