Monday, August 11, 2008

Our Parent's Marriage...

While researching for Generation NeXt Marriage, I sent out a ton of questionnaires on different topics related to marriage...

Here is some of the feedback I received about our parent's marriages:

My mom was married several times (over 5), my dad and his second wife have been married over thirty years now and my husband's mom and dad have sustained successful second marriages as well. These situations have given me pause to consider that we are not our parents, but we can learn from their mistakes. neither of our parents wanted us to get married though, so being married for these 12 years so far has been a testament to God's hand on our lives.

Oh, now there's a book of it's own! lol
My parents divorced and my mom divorced again (and again). I had NO role model for marriage at all. Those first few years were rough for me because I thought my husband was just someone there to meet my needs. Needless to say, it got pretty rough sometimes. I didn't know how to handle conflict, I didn't know how to cook, clean or do anything but dress myself and get myself to school (college). I sure have grown a lot during the last 14 1/2 years! Wise Mentor moms and Christian lady friends have helped me figure out what a Godly marriage looks like.

Both of our parents' marriages felt like lead weights around our necks. We fought that burden for a long time and carried anger and unforgiveness toward them that threatened to destroy us before our marriage had a chance. The lessons we learned from watching our parents yell or avoid conflict made it harder to work through issues and forgive each other. But forgiving them and taking responsibility for our own actions has taken us a long way towards healing. Not only has it helped our marriage, but it's also paved the way for a healthier relationship with both sets of parents.

I knew what I DIDN’T want my marriage to be like! We both decided we didn’t want to be yellers. We also didn’t want to grow apart and have made sure we have common interests to keep us doing things together. We have regular dates whether for lunch or dinner. We are attending our second marriage conference this year at the beginning of May. We read books like “Sex Begins in the Kitchen” by Kevin Leman or “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman to learn more about how to have a better Godly marriage.

In the negative, I sometimes see my husband doing or saying things which remind me of my father. Those aren’t good times since I didn’t have the best relationship with Dad growing up. I have had to learn to relinquish the spiritual reins of the family and to be more submissive than my natural tendencies would be. I’m not a doormat like my mom was for years. It’s also had a huge impact on how we’ve raised our kids.

We make sure our kids see us hugging and snuggling with each other to show our love. We also let them see us have disagreements to show them positive conflict resolution. Something neither of us learned from our parents.

We both share our faith with our kids. They see us praying together and discussing spiritual issues. They see us as being part of our church and not only attenders on Sunday.

I'll post more tomorrow. What about you...what did you learn from your parents' marriage?


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