Friday, 23 March 2012

Adjusting to the New Baby

I’m reasonably certain that the following came from someone else’s blog, it is too well written to have come from me. Regardless of who the author is, I can’t emphasize how important this is to the future of your marriage.

In the best of situations husbands and wives will have to make huge adjustments in their relationship due to their new arrival. This will be particularly true if it is your first baby since you will not know what to expect.

One of the most important things you can do with and for one another is to talk. Talk openly about what you are experiencing. Who gets up? When do you let your baby cry – or do you? Etc. If the mom is breast-feeding she is going to be exhausted in the first few months after the baby is born

Any chance the new mom has to let someone else attend to the baby is worth taking. The new mom mustn’t think she’s the only one capable of being with that child. Dad should be quick to interact and bond with the child and give his wife some rest. Furthermore the baby will have a chance to interact with someone who smells, feels, and acts differently than his/her primary caregiver. In this way the father widens the world for that child, adding to the child’s emotional and physical development.

There may be many emotional needs bombarding the husband and wife at this time. The wife might suffer from post partum depression. The wife might pour all of her emotional and physical energies into their new-born. Sleep deprivation can make both the husband and the wife edgy and impatient. The husband may feel like an unnecessary third wheel.

If possible prior to the baby’s birth the husband and wife should talk openly and be intentional about how they plan to pay attention to their marriage. Date nights should be programmed into your schedule as soon as possible – at least two per month. Surely there is a parent, friend or delightful old couple from church who would watch your baby while you go for a walk together, grab an ice cream cone or sit and watch the sun set. The husband and wife were a couple before the baby was born and should be a couple when the “bird leaves the nest

They need to remind each other that their relationship comes before the child, and, to whatever extent possible, enjoy each other’s company. Sex may not happen until the new mom feels comfortable with it, but affection and interaction can happen—and should.”

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Your Junk May be Valuable

The following came from Family Life’s Moments for You. Proverbs 27:17 says as “iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” As couples in the body of Christ we can help those other couples who are struggling with something that we as a couple have been able to resolve to God’s glory.

What do you have that could be of benefit to others?

That's the question you may ask yourself every time you go exploring through your attic or garage. You realize how much you tend to keep and accumulate, even when your need for these items has long subsided. Often the stuff you find crammed deep into your closets isn't even worthy of charitable donation. It's just junk, better thrown out with the garbage.

But when it comes to the junk in your own personal life--the mistakes you've made, the poor judgment you've exercised, the hurt you've caused each other--God may have a purpose for it even still. Over the years, I've challenged many couples to step forward as mentors. But they have their own reservations and excuses. Many feel they just aren't qualified. They say they have nothing to share with younger adults. They don't think they know the Bible well enough.

Many of them are simply haunted by their own mistakes--their own junk. They don't realize that those mistakes may be among the most valuable tools they possess in teaching a younger couple about how to grow a marriage and family God's way.

Everyone struggles with marriage and family issues. Everyone. That's why the core curriculum for learning how to minister to other couples includes the textbook of true-life experience. Weakness and disappointment provide some of our best resources for sharing life messages with others. They provide both content and context to our instruction.

You see, it's not junk if somebody else can use it. The only way it becomes a waste is if we're afraid to admit we've still got it, if we're unwilling to let God use our garbage for His glory.

God does not waste pain and struggles. He always has a purpose for what we experience whether or not we are ever able to discern what His purposes were. Sometimes His purpose is to equip you to share with another what you have experienced, particularly if in the end He was glorified.

Monday, 19 March 2012

You Never Marry the Right Person

Stanley Hauerwas
The title of this blog is from Tim Keller’s newly released The Meaning of Marriage. He quotes Duke University ethics professor Stanley Hauerwas:
“Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become ‘whole’ and happy. The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person. This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage. It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person.

We never know whom we marry; we just think we do. Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change. For marriage, being means we are not the same person after we have entered it. The primary problem is … learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.

Keller goes on to say, “Over the years you will go through seasons in which you have to learn to love a person who you didn’t marry, who is something of a stranger. You will have to make changes that you don’t want to make, and so will your spouse. The journey may eventually take you into a strong, tender, joyful marriage. But it is not because you married the perfectly compatible person. That person doesn’t exist.

Gary Thomas was a little more blunt when writing Sacred Marriage. He relied on James 3:2 which says, “We all stumble in many ways.” Gary goes on to say, “If marriage is the union of one person who stumbles in many ways to another person who stumbles in many ways, occasionally having sex and making little people who stumble in many ways, why are so many people surprised when they discover how difficult marriage can be?

Perhaps the right question is not “Did I marry the right person?” but “Am I becoming the husband / wife that God would have me become?”