Family Frameworks

Guiding our Adult Children- In their marriages

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Apr 2014

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283904_2116573187517_7079675_nIt’s Wedding time.  The most weddings occur during the months of June, October and December.  So I am hearing of lots of couples tying the knot this year, which is very exciting.  It’s exciting in that marriage is still alive, because there is such a strong trend to “just live together”.  There are many things that must be considered in getting ready, such as the actual wedding and the challenges that it can bring.  can bring.  I have talked with Elizabeth Doherty Thomas several times.   The philosophy she and her dad have brought to the Marriage Movement, is, “The Wedding” and premarital counseling.  They have gotten very creative and found that counseling can be very effective using the up-to-date activities of the wedding.  There are many dynamics that happen in the wedding planning that can reveal the challenges of the marriage. I think about the movie “Bridzilla” and I think there have been some reality shows about weddings that go bad.  Their website is a must for all brides or grooms getting married.  Elizabeth Doherty Thomas & her dad Bill Doherty have a great site to help manage the stresses of planning and actually going through the wedding.  This is a great resource for ALL couples getting ready for marriage.

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But, I really wanted to talk to the parents of the bride or groom.  My husband and I have five children between us.  All have married and all have given us a few challenges going through the process of getting married as well as the dating process.  We as parents forget how important our role is in guiding our children to have a GREAT life.  It’s a common belief that when our children turn 18 or 21 they are adults and they are on their own.  I am not quite of that belief.  We are their parents forever and we have been given that privilege or duty as long as they live.  Fortunately God did not follow the Mork and Mindy model by giving children babies to raise them (although sometimes I think I see that).  He gave parents that have had a bit of life experience to raise the children.   With this experience and love for our children we see things that our children might not see.  My friend John Van Epp in his book and course called “How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk” spends a whole chapter on listening to your parents and your family about who you are marrying.  But many parents are afraid to say anything to their children when it comes to who they date, their dating practices and who they choose to marry.  But I believe this is part of our jobs as parents.

PICK-LOGOIn his book John mentions that marriages have just recently come around to the couple choosing to marry compared to parents choosing a partner.  I look at this in biblical times and see many times where this worked quite well.  In fact I have seen some modern day marriages where this was the practice of the culture and their marriage is working quite well.  When I tell the high school kids about this they give me the statements of “yuch, my parents would choose a real dork!”  But I have to remind them, “Who knows you better than anyone else and who cares about you more than anyone else?”   Parents advice is very  important.

I remember when I was dating my first husband my parents warned me that it was not a match they would encourage.  They talked to me several times, but I could not see what they were saying, because I was “In LOVE”!  But when I looked back I realized they saw things I could not see because I was infatuated with this man and wanted to be married.

While at a wedding shower a friend of mine gave advice to the bride that I have contemplated many times.  I think it’s appropriate for the

Rose Colored Glasses

couple and for the parents.  It was kind of like this, “When you are dating and preparing for marriage put your magnifying glass on, but after you have married, keep the rose colored glasses on.”  Some might say that if we do that it would lead to an abusive relationship.  But if you do what it says about the magnifying glass and scrutinize the situation, the person and the relationship before hand you have a greater chance of making it with a strong healthy relationship.

We as parents must do the same.   When our children are dating and you see character flaws, don’t be afraid to point these out to them.  Point it our respectfully and in love.  They may not appreciate it then, but will appreciate it later.  Not too long ago I read a devotion by Barbara Rainey of Family Life.   In it she told the story of how she had tearfully approached her daughter about a relationship she was having.  She stated that it was hard, but it was so worth it.  We HAVE to do the hard things sometimes if we are the parents.  And being a parent doesn’t always means it stops at 18 or 21.  It’s a lifetime commitment.

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