How Marriage affects Your Children

Marriage is a topic that has unfortunately been under-rated and not respected as it should by many young adults today. Perhaps this is due to our social environment as well as our failure as parents to teach the importance of this union to our children. I realize that many readers have beliefs that may differ from this writer, but as I will respect your right to voice your opinion, I will also exercise my right to express my beliefs and hope they will meet with equal respect.

I believe that the health of a marriage is crucial in the lives of children. It is the foundation of what they know as security and trust. They want to believe in mom and dad as individuals and as a team. This is a foundation that they walk on although rarely vocalizing its importance. We don’t talk about air much, but how crucial is it? Kids are resilient and adaptable, but no alternative situation is more ideal for a child than living with a mom and dad where there is a healthy marriage.

As men, we like to feel and act like we are strong, sometimes more so than we actually are. We want to think that we can do everything for our kids. You can’t. You can’t be a mom. You can perform duties and roles, but there is an emotional and spiritual connection between mothers and children that you cannot fake. They need a mom. We need to recognize this and nurture this relationship. We need to cherish our wive’s role and strive to treat this relationship with respect.

Now, let me lay a heavy point on you dads. You are the example to your children of how a woman should be treated. This is true for your boys and girls. You set the example. They are watching you. Many dads, especially those that struggle in relationships don’t like the weight of this fact, but it is true. The responsibility lies within your words and actions. 

I realize that there are women out there that can be a nightmare to live with. This is why I stress to you, that if you are single, do not get married for the sake of marriage. Being with no one is better than the wrong one. You need to realize what it is that you are committing to and spend much time in prayer and consideration before diving off into a relationship that is designed to be life long.

Now to soothe the minds of my lady readers. Men, I believe that 80% of failed marriages are the fault of the husband. When you get married, you give your life to another. This means that you cannot live selfishly. You cannot live for #1 and be successful. To me, the perfect example of how a husband should be can be found in scripture. Now, those that are not religious may want to skip over this part. However, I challenge you to read the following and then examine women and marriage according to this standard if you adopt these principles.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

If we do nothing, but desire and strive to live this way, I cannot see the woman you love to not say, “I’m in”. “IF” we love this way. I believe that most ladies would respect and love this quality in us. The problem is that we think we can do this and maintain “I am man, hear me roar”. Do you want to be loved and respected? Then it starts with you, not with your wife. If you look at scripture we/men are given the command to love. So, not to burst your bubble, but if you are not feeling loved and respected, are you loving and living as the scripture definition above describes?

Our role as dads and husbands lie in our responsibility for our words and actions, NOT in the response of those around us. This is something that must be given effort and time. You can’t expect to live according to scripture definitions for a week and everything will be better. This is a commitment to your bride and to your children. We must be selfless, not selfish. We need to be the best husbands and dads possible.

Deacon 

Stepchild Issues

Divorce Sucks! If I had my own dictionary of terms, divorce would mean “when life sucks”. I went through it in the mid 90s. There was just no lower time in my life. The worst part was being separated from my boy. I mean…I had joint custody, but he primarily lived with his mother. Kids are programmed to have two parents. They have a need for both. When my boy learned of our divorce, he (5 years old) cried a cry that I will never get out of my head. It was the cry of hurt…a broken heart. I wanted to die. Being completely transparent, I made 1 attempt. Primarily I didn’t care if I lived or died. 

I say this to let you know that I was without my son “under my roof” for 5 years. For 5 years, I hated myself and only wanted to make it right. My 2nd (and still married to) wife had 3 girls from her first marriage. She also came into our relationship “not” having primary conservatorship over her kids. So when we got together, we were a broken family of 6. 

When my son was 10, he wanted to come and live with me. All I thought was “yay me”. He took it upon himself to approach his mother. Surprisingly enough, she did not fight the issue and supported his decision. Now I had my son coming to live with us. Did I mention that over 5 years, my new wife and I had 2 little ones? That is right. We were a financially struggling couple, with 2 little kids, my son moving in with us, and child support going out to my wife’s “x”.

My son wanted to be loved but kept distance between him and his stepmother. He was very smart, knew her buttons, and pushed them on occasion. He was not little Damien, but would blow her off, ignore her, or have little smart remarks. My wife, a corn fed country girl with some Irish roots had a temper. Both of us were immature, but at this time, I considered her childish. She was jealous. I had my boy, and she did not have her girls. This was not going to go well.

I got along with my stepdaughters I guess. We saw very little of them. Even with joint custody, there were many thimmes that they did not come over when they were supposed to. My wife would get calls from the girls requesting that they go do this or that with her “x” and or his family. They were not “choosing” her. My boy was choosing me. This made my wife resent what I had and was negative towards my boy. It was obvious to everyone…my parents, friends, pastor, etc. This caused a real strain in our relationship.

This went on for years. My boy became a teenager. That being said, he was now dealing with some issues with his own mother as well as his stepmom. He began to develop trust issues with women. It got to the point that I was begging my wife to “love my son”. I was desperate. It was not as if she was going out of her way to be mean, but she was cold and unfeeling to him. Our marriage started to swirl like a toilet flush. My younger 2 were seeing the strain and were fearful of their mom and dad separating. Something had to give.

To this day, I can’t tell you what happened. I knew that several people were praying for us. However, for their to be healing, one had to initiate it and the other had to receive it. One day, my wife was in the kitchen and she began to cry. Normally, I would have felt concern and wanted to fix the issue. By this point I was beginning to feel numb. My son walked in, and my wife turned to him and said, “I’m so sorry”. They came together in an emotional embrace. What just happened and who are these people? This was literally a rebound of the relation. It was not empty words, it was a pledge to a new beginning.

My boy and my wife get along fine these days. It is not an unrealistic celebration relationship, but they are good to each other. This completely changed how I felt about my wife. She may have sought to heal the relationship between them, but it healed me. All I can tell you is that there are 3 realities for me: 1. When we strive to be important or first, we come in last. 2. Blended families can have great obstacles to tackle, and it may take years to work it out. 3. Prayer works.

It is only with a lack of selfishness and greed that we can heal relationships. If you have a tough blended family situation, I can promise that sheer will won’t fix others or the situation. Humility is a must. Only when we acknowledge this and commit to putting others before ourselves can we succeed. It may take a long time. Don’t give up. Your family can rise above the situation. It can grow and become healthy. Be the best “parent” you can be.

Deacon 

A Strong Marriage Benefits your Children

Dads, there is a secret to starting off your dad career right. Be a good husband. This is before kids prep and after kids transition. The way you treat your wife will be the most important example for your boys on how to treat women. It also teaches girls the way they should be treated by other boys/men.

The love you have for your children and wife is obviously different. However, both forms of love are able to simultaneously exist, loving both and all with your 100%. This is confusing to young people. However, I’m sure that the moms and dads reading this can relate. For the younger readers, let me assure you that you will get it in time. In the meantime, thanks for being here and having a desire to learn.   

When I was teaching in the classroom, I spent a lot of time on relationships, especially the topic of marriage. The school was a private college prep academy. Many of the teachers including myself knew that there were real-life applications that these young people needed to be successful. It was obvious that so many kids in the public school system in our area were failing students. They were not graduating prepared. 

Before you, public educators take out some stones to throw, let me acknowledge the overwhelming task that many of you face. I also wanted to re-iterate that my colleagues and I were stressing on the public school in our area that had been ranked as unsatisfactory by the ISD. I mean, it was really bad.

I had a bit of knowledge that I wanted these teens to know. I wasn’t really an expert but had learned a lot from failure in my first relationship, my parents being marriage enrichment counselors (oops), and some redemption that I had experienced in round 2. First of all. My wife (#2) and I were probably the worst suited for each other. We both had failed marriages, children with our X’s, and not a lot of maturities. To be perfectly honest it was a recipe for disaster and almost was. Then we found out the secret that made things click. Therefore, I wanted my students to have the knowledge prior to their diving into a committed relationship.

The first secret or step to success was that I needed to deal with myself first, not try to fix a relationship or another person. I needed to work on my own character, strength, wisdom, etc, and I wanted to make myself what my wife needed. I turned to a passage of scripture to remind me of how I was supposed to be, how I was supposed to love, and how I was to focus on being the best husband possible, so I could strive to be the best Dad possible.

The scripture was 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. I wanted to follow this as closely as possible. In my class, I read this to the students. Then, I put it on the board. I said, “ladies if your husband had these qualities, could imagine ever leaving a man that treated you this way?” “What about as a dad to your children?” ALL of them were on board. “That guy would be perfect, but he doesn’t exist”, one girl said. “Okay”, I said. “What if your man was committed to doing his best to meet all these descriptives every day? He won’t be perfect, but this is his goal and drive”. They were all on board. 

Dads, your relationship with your wife is crucial. However, two imperfect people don’t make a match made in heaven. It must start with each of you getting your own act together and putting the other ahead of your own needs. This will plant a seed that will grow into a rich and healthy environment for your kids. This will make them feel safe, loved, and encouraged before you try to teach them anything.

My wife (#2) and I got off to a rough start. We had a lot of baggage. It took a lot of work to get to where we are today. It was not an issue of working for each other. It was an issue of both of us working on ourselves. This proved to be successful and served our children well. Start with yourself. Make yourself the man you should be. This will make you the husband you should be. When you are the husband you should be, it will have a huge effect on the lives of your kids. Be the best dad possible.

Deacon