Thursday, October 31, 2013

Remember Your Second Love - Parenting Through the Little Years (Part Three)

This is Part Three of "Three in Diapers: Parenting Through the Little Years." If you are just tuning in now, please check out the Introduction, Part One, and Part Two for context and disclaimers.

3. Remember your second love -- You know that birthing class I referenced before? As I remember it, David and I were the worst students there. We were young (but far from the youngest in the class), in love, and eager to goof off and have fun before our little one made an appearance and changed our lives forever. We joked around with each other and often cracked up at completely inappropriate times.

In particular, I remember the doula scowling at me as she suggested we come up with a calming mantra to help get us through contractions. I quickly looked at David and started chanting, "It's all your fault. It's all your fault."

I was joking, and David took it in that light, but I've discovered that in this journey of parenting that often, it is easy for us as wives to look at our husbands and think that they are the enemy.

We don't start off thinking that way, but it can come out as our emotions progress. We're tired after several nights of interrupted sleep. We've gotten through a day of caffeine-fed survival techniques. We're hungry and trying to pull together a meal. One part of the meal is burning and the other part is refusing to cook in a timely fashion. Our house is in disorder and our kids are taking turns coming to us, asking us what we are making for dinner, and then telling us what a horrible choice we made. And our husbands? They are "hiding" in the bathroom. Again.

All of a sudden our frustrations and irritations, fueled by our fatigue and hunger (a bad combination for sure) start to boil over. And the source of all our worldly problems? This man that God gave us. And it is our God-given duty to enlighten him about all the ways that he is currently failing!!

But before we fly off the handle, this is a really good time to take a step back and get our thoughts and emotions in control. Eat something. Even if it'll ruin your appetite for the dinner that still isn't ready to be put on the table. Go hide in the other bathroom for a minute. Take your thoughts captive and remember your first love. And then remember your second love.

God gave you an ally in this battle. He's your husband. You love him. God gave you exactly the right person to help stretch you and grow you and encourage you. He's here for you and you're here for him. You've got each other's backs.

But he's not perfect. He's not going to always know intuitively what you need. Sometimes you are going to need to ask. And sometimes he's going to think that you've got it wrong. Sometimes he'll be right and sometimes he won't be. But he's not the enemy. He's on your side. He loves God, he loves you, and he loves your kids. He wants what is very best for your family. Just like you. And what's even better, both of you have an Advocate who goes before the Father on your behalf.

You both are growing and learning together. Sometimes those growth patterns are painful, but they are also beautiful.

So when you start to aim the fiery darts at your husband, stop yourself and remind yourself who he is. And replace your thoughts and emotions with truth.

Feed your relationship with your husband -- it's not only what you will have once your kids are long grown, it's also what will help you in the process of growing your kids.

Enjoy your husband -- he's a blessing from God. Be thankful for him. God is good and He gives good gifts.

Communicate with your husband -- share your burdens with him and ask him for help. Humble yourself and admit your weaknesses and struggles with him. Ask him to pray for you. Pray with him. Let him be a means of grace that you see evidenced in your life.

Love your husband well -- your relationship with your husband is a picture of Christianity that God has given this world so they can better see God. Remember to pray for your husband and to encourage him and to care for him. You might start to look at him and think: "He's grown up! Can't he take care of himself? My kids need me -- he doesn't."

But one of the very best ways you can love your children is by loving your husband well. Again, the relationship between your husband and you is a picture of Christ and His love for His people. We want our children to see that in all of the beauty it entails. You can't do this perfectly, but you can pray that God will enable you to do this well. And He is faithful and generous to answer such prayers.


As I'm writing this series, I can see how God has taught me so much in this process of parenting, but also how very much I have to grow. I'm thankful for God's promise to me that He will complete the good work that He's started. Let's be praying for each other, sisters, that God will continue His good work and that we will quickly and eagerly submit to His good plans for us. And come back soon for Part Four!

1 comment:

Sharon said...

This "we" you talk about, I think I might know of whom you speak :-)