Monday, 16 July 2012

Intentionality - Part I

Jesus' friend, Martha, found herself in a similar state. The enormity of the task of preparing an unexpected dinner for Jesus and his disciples left Martha distracted. Jesus admonished her that her anxious attention to the preparations had deprived her of an important choice - to sit and listen to Him, as her sister Mary was doing. Choosing to focus on the future needs instead of the immediate opportunity left Martha worried and upset. (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)

Most of the couples who come to see me , their marriage in some form of disrepair, have a number of things in common.  One of the things they have in common is kids.  Granted children are one of God’s greatest gifts they can also be one of Satan’s greatest tools. 

Many, if not most, couples pour an inordinate amount of time, energy and resources into their children at the neglect of their marriage.  Often children are the basis of conflict between the husband and wife whether it revolves around discipline, i.e. too much, not enough or the wrong kind; bedtime hours; curfew; having access to the car; and/or figuring out how to attend two athletic events that are occurring at the same time.

Two things to remember about children:

First, they are on loan to you from God for a season.  Your home is to be a learning laboratory where opportunities for discipline are treated as teachable moments in preparation for adulthood; where a God glorifying marriage is on display to provide a model for your children’s future marriage; and where they learn how to apply Christian principles to daily living.  Ideally the parents take the lead in teaching them about God and Jesus so that when the kids eventually leave home  (and before they return) they will truly understand why they believe what they believe so that peers and professors won’t shake their faith.

Second, your children  are number three on the food chain.  In a home where God is at the center the pecking order is God, spouse, kids, family, job, etc., in that order.  You must be intentional when it comes to your marriage, otherwise when the children leave home you and your partner will be virtual strangers.   Set aside time every week just to have a conversation about things not related to running the house.  Have regularly scheduled “date nights” even if you only go for a walk.  A great way for younger couples who can’t afford a gazillion dollars for a baby sitter is to ask another couple who has kids to take yours for a night and you will take theirs.   Obviously some grandparents are more than willing and able to help out.

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