This is the final wrap up post for the current book that I’ve been reading which is For Better or For Kids by Patrick and Ruth Schwenk. If you want to catch up with previous posts on this book before reading further down, here are the links: Marriage with Kids Part I and Marriage with Kids Part II and Marriage with Kids Part III. I am now giving the following insights on the final chapters from Chapter 11 to Chapter 13.
Chapter 11 talks about dealing with finances while married and raising kids. It’s obvious that both kids and money bring stress. It’s very common to see married couples fight about finances. It’s true. We are one of them. This has been one of our top reasons of fighting, from the beginning of our relationship, off and on. My husband had credit card debt. He didn’t want to live with me before we were married. They said that a spender and a saver and conflict equals disaster (182). It’s very true. We are one of them. We both like to spend but I’m more watchful than my husband is. Since our kids have been in the picture, we spend more on them than we do on ourselves or the house. We try to be really careful and not go beyond our means, especially that we live on one income (I’m a stay home wife and mom) but it has not always been easy. We’ve graciously had help there and there, but we are trying.
They share some biblical truths from God in dealing with finances like working hard, saving wisely, avoiding debt, giving generously, fleeing from the love of money and having real security and hope in God. It’s common sense that money isn’t everything. Sadly, that’s not how the modern world is under the impression of. You need to have money and have stuff, but you don’t really need to. You need more of God and love. Ruth and Patrick remind us that “living on less doesn’t equal living less” and that “life is far more than stuff” (184). Kids do really remember more about the relationship that you have with them and the moments shared together growing up, more than $ and the stuff they have. I do remember the many things that I did with my parents and my brothers growing up rather than the stuff I wanted.
It’s possible to live within the limits. It’s hard but can be done. It’s stressed that we can’t serve God and money. God is far more valuable than money when it comes to your life. There are things that we can do like working on it together, plan for the future, adjust spending, and ignore what other families are doing. Working as a team makes dealing with it easier and more successful. We can plan and save for later, although that isn’t always easy. We as parents have the godly choice to prepare our kids to succeed when they leave the nest like the value of money, hard work, prayer, responsibility and saving. God is really has the ultimate control of our future. Greed is really offensive to God. We are to be really happy with what we have and know that we aren’t alone. My husband and I really need to keep trying in working as a team when it comes to money. My husband is the one who really takes care of the bills. He really makes sure all the important bills are paid like our mortgage, water/heat bills, phone/tv/internet bills etc. and of course our groceries as well before we spend on anything else. Like I previously mentioned in a earlier post, we don’t have our kids in every single activity or sports outside of school. We only do soccer and swimming and focus more with church and family time. We do like to travel, but we don’t always vacation every year (although we’d like to!). I need to more proactive, and check in more in where we are financially and see what we can do to be more wise.
Chapter 12 is about the test of togetherness when life gets hard. God truly never abandons us when we are in a storm season. We are to trust what God’s word says, not just how we feel. We are to pray and read the Bible regularly. We are to be selfless lovers. We are to talk often and openly. We aren’t to ride the storms alone. We can reach out to people who care like our friends, family and church community. Pain can be a motivation to be more devoted to God and each other. Patience is hard but worth it. Patrick and Ruth remind us that it is not a wasted time, waiting that is. Even if we don’t see it, God is really at work in us and our life. We are to stay open with each other. Love and walk with one another, no matter what. They define family as in loving each other, carrying each other’s burdens, being devoted to one another, humbly serving one another, encouraging one another, forgiving each other and praying for each other. We want to be THAT family, that God wants us to be! Honestly, our story is God’s story. Throughout our relationship and marriage, we’ve been through many storms. Abortion, family and friends deaths, living together, work stress, my husband’s bipolar, my infidelity, stillbirth, miscarriage, finances, pregnancy, weight loss, and etc. But somehow, we’ve managed to get through all of it together with the help of God. This is our life. We can keep on loving and staying together as one. We can do this. I always remind myself that my husband is my anchor. I can rely on him and God. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for them.
Chapter 13 is basically saying you can live through this. We can’t stop life if there’s roadblocks in our way. God knows our future. As long we can be together through this, we can survive. And most storms are just for a season or two. Patrick and Ruth tell us that our life anchor is really staying close to Jesus. Jesus truly is the way of life and truth. We have to walk by faith, not by fear (213-216). So, that’s how I have tried to live all of my life. I’ve tried to allow God in leading me wherever he wanted me to go. Sure, I’ve made some decisions that weren’t God’s but He has always lead me back to him. I love that I have this life with my husband and my three boys and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. They have brought so much to my life more than anything else and God has been the glory of all of it. As a couple and as parents, we have to be faithful to God. We aren’t to give up the vow to love our spouse with kids in the house (220).
Our marriage has been messy. Oh yeah, even messier with our kids. But it’s beautiful all the same. It’s helped us mold and shape and change us for the better and it will keep doing that. As being one! I’m a better wife and mom because of my husband! I love Jesus more every day as I appreciate more of the wisdom I gain from him in how to live my life in love. Love is so precious, sacred, beautiful, powerful, strong, valuable and amazing. Jesus loves me and I love him and I want to have the same love to share with my husband and show our kids that we can have that love to pass on to them. I want our kids to grow up loving our marriage and loving God and wanting the same for themselves when they are older.