I am back with more insight from the current book that I am reading which is called For Better or For Kids by Patrick and Ruth Schwenk. The previous post Marriage with Kids Part I had me get up to Chapter 6. Click on that if you want to catch up before reading this. So today’s post has me covering from Chapter 6 to Chapter 9. Still more to go!
Chapter 6 is basically about having grace in less than stellar moments. It was mentioned that one pound of pressure is basically life or death. Marriages do soar better when there is grace where we see our spouses as a ally not an enemy, especially in the not so perfect times. It is suggested that we are to provide our spouses with love, protection and strength when they are in the times of feeling weak and vulnerable. The missing vow in marriage is to love one another with grace when you have kids.
Grace is defined as a gift from God. It is an action from God. God is saving us through faith. So we are to save one another too in marriage and family life. We are called to have a Christ-like marriage and that means moving towards each other in grace in both good and bad times. Grace provides life and is an anchor in difficult times. It is stressed that we are to recognize each other’s needs and respond in love (100). Marriage is allowed to be messy because it has faults. We will fail but we can get up again and again. We are reminded in God’s word specifically from Ephesians 4:2 that in marriage, we are to be humble, gentle, patient and allow for faults because of love. Humility, not pride matures your marriage. We are called to see and tend to others first with care and concern (103). Biblically, it’s important to be quick to listen and slow to speak. Grace gives the protection of the small stuff from getting bigger. It’s seeing others through the gospel in kindness and gentleness. It gives us room to grow and mature. The wisdom we gain in the Word of God is that we are to overlook an offense with patience, love and grace (106). We are to remind ourselves that Jesus loved us with patience, mercy and humility so we are to do the same for our spouse. It’s biblically said that we are to live at peace with everyone (108). Grace is simply a choice to love, serve, bless and give (110).
Chapter 7 is basically about time, rest and rhythm. Life is short. Make your days count. We are to create boundaries to keep our busy life in balance and love alive. Patrick and Ruth remind us that we are to view time as God sees it and use that in marriage and family life. It’s stressed greatly that we are to pay attention in what we are and aren’t doing with our time. Time isn’t ours. It actually belongs to God. Life belongs to God. We were made by Him. God only knows when we go home to Him. So we have to cherish life as if there is no tomorrow. It’s suggested that we create space to slow and have boundaries which is a blessing for life. Freedom defined by God is rest which is expressed further with balance, boundaries and guarding time. It’s both a blessing and a gift. Patrick and Ruth remind us that we are to accept rest and enjoy. We need to rest with each other so that it will anchor our marriage and family life (123). Date nights! Do them! They really help you recharge not only as parents but also as a married couple. We try to aim for them once/twice a month. We are lucky to have our grandparents who want to spend a weekend with our kids and we do have other people who can act as babysitters for a couple hours if we want to go to dinner/see a movie or spend time with other couples. Couple vacations are essential but not everyone can afford them every year. Small ones are doable even day trips are awesome. So thankful that even in our 10 years married, we’ve done three big ones… honeymoon in the DR, Jamaica in 2014, and Mexico this past May (2015). We did do a long weekend in Florida in January for a wedding as well and overnight in Buffalo in 2013 for a wedding. We’ve done small day trips in the past (pre-married and married) to Toronto and Niagara Falls. We aim to spend time together when we can in the evenings when my husband is home. Whether it’s just relaxing in bed and watching tv/movies or having game nights with friends.
Chapter 8 is basically dealing with busyness. Patrick and Ruth remind us that saying no to unnecessary or unhealthy activities allow us to say yes to marriage and family life. Busyness is always an inevitable season in marriage and family life. They remind us not to be busy for the wrong reasons. Always make time for each other and protect your love. Take advantage of the time you have to be together and it really does matter (133). We can choose what is best for our kids and marriage when it comes to sports and activities. It’s important not to be overcommitted. We are to also have time for church, friends and neighbors too. Always pursue Jesus too! For my own family, we’ve chosen two sport/activity a year. So soccer in the spring/summer and swimming lessons in the fall/winter. This way, we still have time to commit to important school things and church and family gatherings, date nights and friends.
My mom has confessed that she loves that I engage in all the simple but important childhood rituals and celebrate puddles, riding a bicycle, apple picking, afternoons at the playground and attending school functions. She reminded me again that kids love family time the most. It’s in my mommy hood ministry that I try to be a Christ-like example in giving my kids wholesome and heart-filled attention. It’s not always easy. It’s messy sometimes. But I still give it and they crave it. This is called serving.
I remember growing up that it was always busy at home, but my parents always managed to at least have Sunday night dinners where everyone was actually together and eat together. And that even continued when I was dating my husband in the early years. My kids are still little. The kids still eat together. I’m always with them. My husband works shift hours so at least two weeks out of the month from Mon to Fri, he’s not home for dinner (night shift) but we still are all together on the weekends absolutely.
Stay tuned for more….