Friday, May 3, 2013

Could your child be the other person?

Sunday I said that some people have too many people in their marriages.  I've heard from one friend who's already realized who the extra person in her marriage is.  One of the examples I gave was a son or daughter.  I've had a request to discuss that idea further, so here goes.

First, I don't know that I'm right about this.  So, I welcome feedback.  I've recently purchased Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend's Boundaries with Kids book.  If figuring out relationship connections versus boundaries is of interest to you, then I encourage you to check out one of their many books on boundaries in general, boundaries in marriage, boundaries in dating, boundaries with teenagers, and more.

Second, many of us struggle to balance our connection with our kids and our connection with our spouse.  On one hand, our kids are with us for such a short amount of time.  We want to love on them, teach them, and spend time with them while we can.  On the other hand, our kids will one day leave their father and mother and be united with their spouse, and the two will become one.   And we'll be left with our spouse, so we'd better keep that relationship healthy.

I think we run the risk of hurting both our marriages and our kids' marriages.  If our kids are too connected with us, then they will have difficulty connecting with their own spouses.  And, if we model marriage that includes more than two people, then we do our kids a disservice, setting them up with unhealthy expectations of marriage.

I think our spouses must know that they are our primary, number one, human relationships.  Even above our kids.  That builds trust, unity, and security.  That helps the parents be a united parenting team.  It helps the kids see the parents as a united parenting team.  If a son knows he's Mom's favorite person, then it lessens Dad's authority in his life and likely makes Dad feel like an outsider in his own family.

Again, this has limits.  If a parent is abusive, then the other parent has to put the kid first, above the marriage, and get the kid in a safe environment.  I can also imagine a scenario in which there is a crisis involving a child.  I could see parents agreeing to put the child first for a period of time.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I'm glad you liked it, ...

but....

there are limits to some of the teaching I did on marriage Sunday.

Yes, both people in a marriage are responsible for working through the problems.  But there is a limit to how far that goes.  Addiction is the first example that comes to mind.  If he’s an addict, then I do believe both spouses have responsibility to work on that.  She needs to support him in getting or maintaining help and not putting stumbling blocks in his path.  She needs to get support for herself with counseling or an Al-Anon group.  But he has to work on his addiction.  I did not mean to advocate co-dependency.

I didn’t mean to throw my husband under the bus.

In a part of Sunday’s message when I talked about the struggles in my marriage, I came across as too harsh on my husband.  Between the filming of the sermon for Westchester and the live preaching event at Powhatan, I realized some of my language was too pointed, and I made adjustments.  Only the Powhatan campus heard those adjustments; the Westchester audience heard a less funny, harsher take on the hard work versus fun and relaxation tension in my marriage.  

But even then, I could have balanced the discussion more.  If I could go back, then I would emphasize more how my being uptight hurts my marriage and how Sammy’s inclination toward fun and relaxation helps my marriage.  

I was attempting to show that we have problems, too.  My intention was not to talk badly about my husband from the pulpit.  I’m a big fan of his, and I'm fortunate to call him "husband."

We are still becoming one.  We still have a lot of work to do.  We still have work to do on the hard work vs. fun and relaxation value difference I spoke of Sunday.  There's no one I would rather do that hard work with than Sammy Frame.