Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Good Advice as Far as It Goes - Part III

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

In Part I and II of this three part series I quoted a blog posted by Mort Fertel which identified four areas of marriage that typically are the biggest stressors in marriage.  The four he identified are faith, money, parenting and in-laws.  In Parts I and II, I began to delve into the importance of faith as the foundation on which to deal with all of life’s issues including the ones cited by Fertel, i.e. money, children and in-laws.

 Children

Once again, assuming that the couples are Christians, they have a somewhat different attitude toward their children.  They accept that children are a gift from God.  Parents realize they only have a child for a relatively short season during which time they try to instill Christian values.  The parents do this in part by modeling what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, including having a God glorifying marriage.  In addition the parents treat life as a learning laboratory, i.e. explain how life’s challenges and opportunities fit into God’s plan.   These parents rely on personal experiences, other Godly couples, perhaps parents and the accessibility to Christian books on parenting to develop a plan that works for them.  Children need to know that they are loved and that there are boundaries.  These parents take responsibility for the spiritual development of their child and do not leave it up to the church.  By the way none of these approaches will ensure that a son or daughter will be a follower of Christ.   If they are believers they should be able to defend why they believe what they believe because they will be challenged when they enter the world.  

In-laws
 Scripture tells us that we are to honor our father and mother.  Scripture also tells a married couple they are to leave and cleave.  In a Christian marriage God is first, the husband /wife is next, then children, family, job, etc.  If there is an issue with in-laws the couple must present a unified front.  It is the responsibility of the child to deal with his or her own parents, standing up for their spouse as necessary.  It is destructive to take grievances about your spouse to your parents.  Some parents can be very manipulative; some can be very intrusive, etc.  Leave and cleave are two strong commandments.  As a couple you need to start your own traditions.  So while you attempt to honor your father and mother it is never at the expense of your marriage.

 

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