One of the best things for your kids

If you love your children, one of the MOST important things you can do for them is to keep your marriage healthy and intact!  Not to scare you, but the research regarding children from divorced families is alarming.  Perhaps this is one reason the Bible says in Malachi 2:16, “For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce”.  God knows the devastating impact of divorce on children’s lives.

Research by Focus on the Family has found that teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families.  Also, kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.  Plus, research from the Heritage Foundation found that children of divorced parents perform more poorly at school and have higher drop-out rates.

Yes, God can heal a child’s heart following a divorce, but the scars will remain.  So, work hard to keep your marriage healthy and strong.  Pray every day for your husband and pray daily for marriage guidance from the Lord.  See a counselor if you guys are fighting a lot or if you are growing increasingly resentful.  Don’t let your heart grow hard.  Fight for your marriage.  Your kids will thank you!

Shaping a powerful legacy

Watching the news each night on television makes me shudder.  We learn of more people dying from covid-19.  We hear of horrific murders.  We watch towns leveled and lives taken by earthquakes and hurricanes.  Life on this earth is so short and we never know when we will be living our last day in these bodies.  It causes me to reflect on the legacy I would leave if I were to be called home to be with Jesus today.  It is something for you to ponder too.  In what condition would you have left your marriage?  What legacy would you have left in that regard?  Would your children say they had an excellent role model for what a godly wife is supposed to look like?  Or would they say mom was cold and bitter toward dad and seemed to always point out something he had done wrong?

The Bible wisely instructs us “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”  (Ephesians 4:26).   So, perhaps today is a good day to take inventory on your relationships.  Have you let anger and bitterness creep into the relationship with your husband, or your children, or other loved ones?  Do what you can to respectfully address the issues that have prompted bitterness or anger.  The Bible says in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  So, do what you can today to make peace. Don’t wait until tomorrow.  I don’t mean to be theatrical, but truly, none of us has an ironclad guarantee of another sunrise.  Let’s leave a godly legacy.

If you’re thinking about divorce….

Having a rough time in your marriage?  Do you wish you’d never married your husband?  Our society makes it very easy to throw in the towel and divorce.  Divorce might seem very tempting, but let me tell you from personal experience; it’s really hard on your children.  Actually, it’s devastating for them.  Yes, God can heal them over time, but your children will always carry a deep emotional scar.  Whoever started the rumor that kids can bounce back from divorce was lying!

I’m not saying that a woman should never divorce her husband.  The Bible certainly gives a clear allowance for divorce in Matthew 19:9 where Jesus says “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”  Jesus clearly states that when a spouse has cheated on you sexually, divorce is permissible.  After many years of studying the Bible, I also believe God permits a woman to divorce her husband when he grossly sins against his wife through continuing physical or emotional abuse.  After all, God instructs us in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life“.  After years of severe emotional or physical abuse, a woman can become a mere shell of a human being.  I don’t believe that is God’s will for anyone.  Throughout the Bible, we see that God is more concerned with mercy than merely following rules.

All this being said, please do everything you can to fight for your marriage.  Don’t give up easily.  Don’t let bitterness grow.  Work to resolve issues before your heart grows so cold that you don’t feel like working to save your marriage. You may possibly need to separate from your husband in order to bring his attention to the seriousness of the problem, but your goal should be reconciliation and restoration of your marriage. Find a good counselor.  Get a mentor couple.  Read the Bible.  Pray continually.  Don’t give up on your marriage too easily.  If for no other reason, fight for your marriage on behalf of your children.

Don’t fall into this subtle trap!

I’m rather slow to learn some lessons in life and as a wife.  One of the things I wish I had realized earlier is that it is entirely too easy for a mom to get so focused on nurturing her children that she subconsciously pushes her husband aside.  In fact, in my first marriage, I remember thinking to myself…”My husband is an adult so he can take care of himself.  It’s my kids who really need my attention.”  Not good thinking!

Of course, moms need to take care of their children’s needs and we do need to spend time nurturing and disciplining them.  However, our children can become idols in our life. When our world revolves around our kids’ successes and failures…and on their activities and their schedule…well then we’ve made our children into idols.  When anyone or anything besides God becomes our focus in life, then it has become our idol and our god.  One of the big 10 commandments addresses this!  Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

 One of the casualties of this idolizing of our kids is our husbands.  The bizarre thing is that the very children we were determined to protect end up severely wounded as mom and dad become distant, begin to argue, and often end up divorcing each other.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Be intentional about spending quality time with both your husband and your children.  Even more important than that, spend quality time with God.  He must truly be your number one focus in life!

Motivation to persevere in a challenging marriage

Are you in a season within your marriage where you’re feeling battle-weary?  Do you feel like you’ve done everything you can, you’ve prayed with everything you’ve got…and still, your husband is making choices that are extremely disappointing?  First, I want to say my heart goes out to you.  You are definitely in a desert place.  But I want to encourage you to take a different perspective.

You see, my husband and I were talking recently about the ripple effect of our lives.  We may work and work to make a difference with a specific person (such as your husband), and feel greatly discouraged if we see no change.  But here’s the thing, OTHER people are watching how you’re handling this challenge in your marriage.  Perhaps you have children, and they are watching.  Maybe your mother-in-law is watching.  It could be that one of your friends is being affected by how you are dealing with this situation.  As you strive to reflect Jesus in your marriage, others are drawn to Christ.  This is the essence of Matthew 5:16 which says “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I know it’s tempting to feel defeated, but please realize that you ARE making a difference in the lives around you.  If you are respectfully, but firmly, drawing a line on immoral behavior in your marriage, you are blessing your children by providing a great role model for how a wife should act.  If your mother-in-law is an unbeliever, she may be attracted to the “Jesus” she sees in you.  Your efforts to be a shining light for Jesus do have a ripple effect….and that’s worth it!

Avoiding landmines in step-parenting!

Pretty much anyone who has entered the arena of blended families and step-parenting knows that it is like trying to walk across a field of landmines.  Typically, the biggest problem is that the step-parent thinks the step-child should love and respect them just like they would their biological parent.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way.

Here’s the best piece of advice I ever heard on this subject.  As the step-parent, take the time (perhaps years!) to sow nothing but love into the relationship with your new stepchild.  Resist the desire to step in as disciplinarian and let the biological parent handle that.  As a couple, talk with your spouse behind closed doors about how “situations” and discipline should be handled, but then let the biological parent actually carry it out.

The idea of sowing love into a person before expecting that person to love you in return is actually demonstrated by Jesus.  The Bible says “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).  We need to model this as step-parents.  Your step-child needs to see you demonstrate love for a sustained period of time before believing you actually have their best interests at heart.  This may truly take years, especially if the child is over the age of about 5 when you first enter the new marriage.  Be patient.