At a friend’s funeral, I was amazed to see her remarkable legacy of nine children and thirty-eight grandchildren, many of whom are being raised in the ministry. Each of her children and most of her grandchildren have put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and are living their lives for Him. Mary has been a wonderful testimony of a godly wife and mother.
I would have never guessed, however, that her marriage hadn’t always been wonderful. In their early marriage, the fights were almost constant and Mary wondered if she had made a terrible mistake. Still, Mary and her husband were unwilling to get a divorce, so they turned to God and began attending church.
God graciously rewarded their search for truth by leading them both to trust Him for salvation. Now that they were born-again, they began to seek Him for every decision. Through His Word, they discovered that as they drew closer to God, they drew closer to each other. It created a strong foundation for stable, happy children.
How can I raise happy children who love the Lord? Love my spouse!
Amazingly enough, the vast majority of 2nd Generation Christians I spoke to felt that their parents’ marriage was excellent. At least I thought it was amazing, because in many cases, I personally know their parents…and they don’t have the storybook romance! Not that they fight like two children over a candy bar, but that they have their differences for sure.
That tells me one thing: even if your marriage isn’t perfect, if you’re careful to keep your disputes private, the kids perceive the marriage as excellent. And a child’s perception is the child’s reality.
So how can we love our spouses, even through the differences?
1. Having a desire to please the Lord is probably one of the best things you can have that will strengthen your marriage. One young lady told me, “Both my parents had a tremendous desire to do whatever the Lord wanted, and often that seemed to settle the disputes.”
2. Present a unified front to the children. Successful-parent marriages always back each other up to the children, even if they disagree. They wait until later to talk over the decision privately.
3. Say positive things about your spouse, especially in front of the children. This may be a tough one for some folks, but I feel that it is possible to take the good of your spouse, however small, and show how thankful we are for it.
4. Never tear each other down in public, and especially not in front of the children. Successful parents know that to tear down their spouse is to tear down themselves.
5. Invest in your marriage. Take a little bit of time each day to flirt with or express love to your spouse. The returns on your investment will be tremendous! Take a look at my series on A Lasting Marriage for more ideas!
Let us learn from people like Mary and her husband. They didn’t always have an ideal marriage, but they sought the Lord and did their best to obey Him in their roles as husband and wife. They learned to communicate with each other without animosity, to present a unified front, and to speak positively about their spouse. They learned what the Bible says and began doing it. And because they did, there are now many young people across the globe living as a light for those around them. Oh, to have a legacy like theirs!
Question: Do you believe in the permanency of marriage? How does tearing down our spouses affect our children?
- Stay glued to the Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments!
- Keep your eyes out for the upcoming release of my new book on this topic, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, coming in September! In this book, there will be:
- Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
- Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
- Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
- Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
- And much, much more!
If you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know! All you have to do when you’re done reading it is to post about it on your blog! Leave a comment here or email me, and I’ll get in touch with you.
There are plenty of wonderful marriage blogs that are a real blessing. Here are a few of them:
Also, some good books I’ve read on this subject:
Created to Be His Helpmeet, by Debbie Pearl. Debbie has some very insightful principles in her book. The one thing that changed my life completely was her description of the three types of men. If you read nothing else of hers, this alone will help you.
Lovebusters, by Willard Harley. Dr. Harley tells about the things which tear down marriages, and if we’re able to prevent those things from happening, we can build up our marriages.
Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas. I love the premise of this book, “What if marriage was more to make you holy than happy?” It’s so true. God can use the ministry of marriage in our lives to change us to be more Christ-like…if we let it. Right now, Christian Book Distributors is selling it for only $5!!
For your information, I get nothing from recommending these resources. They are just great books that I’ve read and I think are very helpful.
Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum