Participants: Willie and Wilma Lee
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000036
00:29 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:32 I'm Willie Lee, your host, and our co-host for the day
00:36 is Wilma Lee.
00:38 Welcome. Today we get to talk about an exciting topic:
00:42 marriage and children.
00:44 And we have had plenty of experience with that,
00:46 have we not? Enough!
00:48 Enough. Well, let's have a word of prayer before we begin.
00:52 Dear Lord. Thank you so much for blessing our marriage
00:57 with children. And we pray, dear Lord, that those who are
01:02 watching and those who are experiencing children will also
01:06 gain from our talk today from Your Word.
01:11 Since children are a gift from You, Lord,
01:14 we know that You are interested in this topic.
01:17 Please bless us as we discuss it.
01:19 In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen and Amen.
01:24 Well, the Bible is very clear from the very beginning
01:30 when God told Adam and Eve
01:32 to be fruitful and multiply.
01:34 And they produced
01:36 after their kind.
01:38 And, of course, immediately after sin there were
01:42 difficulties with their children.
01:45 And not both of their children but one in particular
01:50 that was mentioned. And we have a
01:55 situation in which children today are very much a part of
02:00 the landscape of family.
02:03 In fact, they center on families.
02:05 And children are the center of all of those types
02:09 of situations.
02:10 Well, I think that children are a challenge, but
02:14 I think children are also
02:15 one of the reasons parents stay
02:17 on their knees. That's true.
02:20 Children will keep you on your knees, won't they?
02:22 HELP, LORD, PLEASE!
02:25 But the Psalmist says something that's very special,
02:27 and we want to share that from God's Word.
02:30 Psalm 127, verses 3 through 5, reads:
02:34 "Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward
02:37 from Him. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows
02:41 in a warrior's hands. How happy is the man
02:46 whose quiver is full of them. "
02:50 Um-hmm. "He will not be put to shame when he confronts
02:54 his accusers at the city gates. "
02:57 So, children have been provided for the family to be able to
03:04 grow and to develop and to once again
03:08 give an indication of what the image of God is
03:11 and to help restore that image - even in the growth and
03:15 development of children.
03:16 Well, I think that it is a blessing
03:20 to realize that the God who created us,
03:23 who formed us and continues to work with us
03:27 as we grow and develop, feels that He can entrust us
03:31 with children to train up and nurture for Him.
03:35 And I'm always surprised that He would do that.
03:39 Of course, there would be those who would want to shoo children
03:44 away even as the disciples thought Jesus did not want
03:46 to be bothered with children.
03:48 But children found Jesus attractive,
03:51 and they warmed to Him just seeing Him around
03:55 and knowing Him. They could sense...
03:57 and children have that sense... that He was someone
04:00 who cared about them. And He spoke about that
04:03 different times: in Matthew the 18th chapter verse 3
04:07 and in Mark 9, verses 37 and 42.
04:11 Jesus couches remarks around children as a part of whom
04:17 He wanted to be a part of and whom He thought would be
04:20 a good representation of God's kingdom.
04:23 Well, I just can imagine Jesus having children on His lap
04:26 climbing around Him, and I just think that that's
04:32 wonderful because - you know, it didn't seem to perturb Him
04:37 that children probably weren't as clean and as tidy
04:42 as they ought to be. But that didn't bother them,
04:45 and the fact that children thought that that was OK...
04:48 that He was an OK person to come to...
04:50 makes me love Jesus even more.
04:54 Because children know people that are welcoming
04:59 and are safe to come to, and they knew that Jesus
05:04 was that type of person.
05:05 I guess we have to talk about that because even though we use
05:08 the word clean as they ought to be,
05:10 children are children, aren't they?
05:13 And they haven't changed from generation to generation
05:17 as younger children are still a bundle of energy and joy.
05:22 But that energy has an effect upon marriage -
05:27 yes - because that energy can be directed any which way
05:32 and it can cause a marriage to have to reorder itself
05:38 when children come along. Yes! So, we are here to talk
05:43 about the effect of children on a marriage. Now, I'm sure
05:45 many of you could probably tell us about children in marriage.
05:51 But we want to be able to share this because there are many
05:55 who don't know what is acceptable,
05:58 what is not acceptable, and don't understand that many
06:01 of the things that they are feeling and experiencing
06:04 in marriage today are a direct result of having to
06:08 make a place for the children in their relationship
06:13 but yet without destroying the growth of the marriage
06:18 relationship. Well, I think one of the first things
06:21 that happens - you talk about energy - is that parents run out
06:25 of energy because children have this strange thing
06:29 about their clock: it doesn't match adult clocks.
06:33 So, people don't get sleep.
06:35 That's the first thing that happens!
06:38 And therefore your energy is kind of diluted.
06:43 And the thing that I notice now...
06:45 well, even back when we had children and I was not working
06:50 outside the home... you know, I really need my sleep.
06:53 I need my 8 hours, and our children didn't understand that
06:57 real well. And so when they woke up in the middle of the night,
07:02 it was really difficult for me
07:04 because I didn't understand why somebody would want to
07:08 interrupt my sleep. Well, that's before you understood
07:12 that children are blessed... are a blessing from the Lord.
07:17 And when they - yes - are a blessing from the Lord,
07:20 then you have to reorder your life around them
07:24 and still get the appropriate amount of rest. Yes.
07:26 So it takes that reordering to have that happen.
07:30 But more than that, the Bible also gives some injunctions
07:35 about raising children. When you look into Ephesians
07:38 the 6th chapter, it talks about the possibility
07:42 that, if you're not careful, you might even abuse children
07:46 or you might treat them in ways that are abusive or not healthy
07:51 in the relationship. And as we deal with the
07:56 marriage situation, there are many different systems
08:00 at work in a marriage.
08:03 And a lot of times we don't understand that those systems
08:07 are at work. Those are family systems that have sub-systems
08:11 in them. And children are a sub-system all their own.
08:17 But we also have our parents
08:21 who are the family of origin of the husband,
08:25 the family of origin of the wife...
08:26 and they love their grandchildren.
08:30 Oh, yes. Isn't it interesting how the parents that raised you
08:34 are not who the grandparents are?
08:37 In fact, you wonder who these
08:39 people are who suddenly become
08:41 grandparents because it's like they've lost their minds.
08:45 They do strange things when they become grandparents.
08:48 Things they never did when you were a child in their house!
08:51 Right! But now that they're grandparents,
08:53 nothing is too much or too good for their grandchildren.
08:58 Oh, my goodness! I think we were fortunate that neither set
09:01 of grandparents lived in town because it was enough
09:06 when they came to visit.
09:09 Yeah, visiting grandparents who leave and then you have to
09:14 pick up behind them and bring things back to normal.
09:18 Or, if things were normal when they came...
09:21 You know, even in Ephesians 6:4 it tells us that
09:25 we do have a responsibility. In verse 4:
09:29 "Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them.
09:32 Rather bring them up with the discipline and instruction
09:36 approved by the Lord. " So, the marriage means that
09:41 there must be planning and there must be a disciplinary system.
09:46 And often times, because we came from different homes
09:52 where the systems were different, there is at least
09:57 two different ways of discipline that our marriage must begin
10:02 to talk about and activate.
10:04 And that's where the difficulty comes.
10:07 There's your way, and then there's my way.
10:11 But somehow we should understand that we have that challenge
10:15 and develop our own way according to God's Word.
10:20 And then when you add multiple children - um hmm -
10:23 with their own personalities and temperaments,
10:26 and you find out that discipline can't be a one-size-fits-all,
10:30 then you really have challenges when you talk about parenting
10:34 children because, you know, unfortunately nobody gives you
10:39 an instruction for how to raise children.
10:44 Well, without getting into the parenting,
10:45 this is a source
10:49 of some conflict...
10:52 yes... in the marriage.
10:54 And that's one reason why we highly recommend
10:58 along with most who are Christian leaders and counselors
11:02 that there be pre-marital sessions between a prospective
11:07 husband and wife. Because all these discussions and all these
11:11 types of things should have some place that they have developed
11:17 as a comfort zone. As a place where when you get to have
11:21 children you have already begun to discuss how you would like
11:25 to discipline those children. What was it like in your house?
11:28 What is it like in our house of origin? My house of origin?
11:33 And then decide now that we are together, are we going to
11:36 create like yours? Like mine? Or somewhere in between?
11:40 Or something totally different
11:42 based upon our understanding of God's Word?
11:44 So, as a couple... there's a challenge.
11:48 And that challenge is under- standing how we're not going to
11:51 allow the children to divide us.
11:53 Well, I think it's even more primary than that
11:57 because, you know, some couples come up to this discussion
12:00 and find that one didn't even plan to have children.
12:04 Oh, my! And then there is a big challenge because
12:09 now we're expecting a child and somebody's really not happy.
12:15 And think about the challenge that is to a marriage.
12:19 So, we've got a couple of layers here, don't we?
12:22 Yes. We've got the expectation of children
12:25 and then maybe one wasn't ready for them then.
12:30 Um-hmm. OK. Because I'm hoping that if there was a decision
12:34 not to have children at all that certainly that was expressed
12:38 and there were plans made to make sure that you followed
12:42 through with that. But, let's say that for some reason
12:46 there was not the kind of discussion about how
12:51 the children were planned... how they were going to be spaced...
12:53 How it's going to affect the marriage.
12:55 How it's going to affect the work, the income.
12:57 All of these are issues that you have gone through
13:01 in your marriage, I'm sure. And many of you could tell us
13:05 many good stories, and some of us can tell horror stories
13:09 about what happened. But, these are necessary things -
13:12 that's right - because children are a blessing.
13:14 But in order to continue to be a blessing,
13:16 we must follow God's plan.
13:19 So, when we come back we will talk a little bit more about
13:22 that and other areas where children bring special needs
13:27 into the development of the marriage.
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14:16 Welcome back to Marriage in God's Hands.
14:18 We have been actively discussing
14:21 some things even while we were
14:22 away on break because
14:24 this gets to be pretty exciting
14:27 when we are talking about the different modes of married life
14:32 that will emerge when children come that you did not plan on.
14:38 And things begin to happen... and, if you don't follow a plan,
14:42 it will disrupt a marriage.
14:45 And it can cause a lot of conflict and dissention
14:49 in the home. And that's not what you want to create.
14:52 That's not the environment
14:54 that we need to create for our children.
14:56 Well, one of the things you do
14:58 know when you have children...
14:59 Even though you have a plan,
15:01 things never go as you
15:03 planned them because with children...
15:07 You know, I can think of some of the Sabbaths we got ready to go
15:10 to church and everybody would be dressed, clean.
15:13 And you would pick up this child put it over your shoulder
15:16 and... oops! That would mean starting all over again.
15:21 So things never went exactly as planned.
15:24 So you learn a lot about flexibility with children.
15:29 All right. So we are talking about exercising some of the
15:32 same values that create a good environment for growth
15:38 and development of a marriage: humor,
15:42 um-hmm, flexibility, um-hmm, right. Commitment!
15:45 Time. Time! All those things you have to go through again
15:49 now with children. Definitely.
15:52 Because they are part of the picture, and it becomes
15:55 even more critical that you keep the principles
15:58 involved because the plans WILL change.
16:02 For certain and for sure you know your plans will change.
16:07 But the one thing we do know is that the kind of environment
16:10 that you set up in your marriage is going to be a culture
16:16 that is going to instruct your children...
16:20 hmmm... of how to deal with various areas of life
16:23 including spirituality
16:27 and having God as the leader of the home.
16:31 And having an environment that's safe.
16:35 Because the parents have talked about this and because
16:40 you have created a safe environment for each other
16:43 in your communication and a place to be heard
16:47 and to be listened to and to be accepted unconditionally.
16:52 That same environment also has an effect on your children.
16:55 It's interesting that you would choose the word culture -
16:59 um-hmm - for your home, but I think that you are right
17:03 about what happens because then your children have expectations
17:09 and they think that's the way the world is because
17:12 that's the way their home is.
17:15 Yes. And there is no getting around it.
17:18 You cannot not have a culture.
17:22 If you understand what I'm saying? Yes!
17:24 Even if you choose not to have a culture, that is a culture.
17:28 A non-culture is a culture... yes...
17:31 you create an absence of something - that's right -
17:35 and what we are talking about is creating a positive whole
17:39 for that child because that is the responsibility
17:44 given to the marriage. That's right.
17:46 And that is helping to bring up children in the fear and the
17:51 admonition of God.
17:53 You've got a scripture that you - yes - can share with us.
17:55 Ephesians 5:1-2 from The Message says:
17:58 "Watch what God does and then YOU do it...
18:02 like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.
18:05 Mostly what God does is love you.
18:09 Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.
18:12 Observe how Christ loved us.
18:15 His love was not cautious but extravagant.
18:19 He didn't love in order to get something from us
18:22 but to give everything of Himself to us.
18:26 Love like that. "
18:28 That last phrase sort of sums it up, doesn't it?
18:32 Yes. And yet at the same time,
18:36 that sum we don't often arrive at in a marriage.
18:41 A lot of times in this generation and maybe in previous
18:45 generations too it just didn't seem like it to us, but
18:49 in this generation there is a tendency
18:53 for a parent or a husband or wife
18:58 to use a child for their own needs.
19:01 Well, I think probably it was in previous generations
19:06 because it was about appearances. OK.
19:10 What would people think? Um-hmm. But I guess I just like
19:15 the fact that God loves extravagantly. All right.
19:20 And I'm back to my theme again about saving things
19:25 for good and that we can't do that with people we love.
19:30 We must love extravagantly.
19:33 And we must love that way every day
19:36 because tomorrow's not promised.
19:38 And so with our spouses, with our children,
19:41 we must love extravagantly
19:44 because this is the day that we have.
19:47 And so we don't withhold our love.
19:50 We don't withhold our affirmations...
19:52 because this is the day we have.
19:56 So that cycles right back into what we initially said,
20:00 and that is that children are placed here for the benefit
20:04 of the glory of God. Which means that they're not really here to
20:09 fulfill our unfulfilled needs.
20:12 And if we have acted upon our love
20:17 with our spouse and we have created a safe place,
20:21 we have created a fullness of extravagant love for our spouse,
20:25 then what is there to need in which we use children
20:29 to get our needs rather than share love with each other.
20:33 And that love overflows into our children's lives
20:36 and teaches them how to love.
20:38 And if we have rejoiced in our uniqueness
20:42 and we have developed the gifts that God has given us,
20:45 then again our children will learn how to model
20:49 and develop their unique gifts and talents and abilities.
20:54 We won't need then to look at what might have been
20:59 in our lives. Um-hmm. We will encourage our children,
21:02 then, the develop the gifts and talents that God has given them.
21:05 And we will rejoice in their uniqueness.
21:09 In other words, you are saying: "I didn't get to do that
21:11 so you are going to do this as my child. "
21:13 No. We don't have to do that - no - if we allow that
21:17 to take place in our marriage and we have supported
21:20 one another - that's right - to be all that we can be in Christ.
21:23 Then our children will be able to catch that same value
21:29 in the spiritual culture of our home. Exactly.
21:33 And we will rejoice when they
21:35 look at who they are in Christ -
21:37 um-hmm - and develop those
21:39 same talents and gifts that
21:41 are given to them in Christ.
21:43 And we will encourage them to be
21:45 all that Christ would have them be.
21:47 OK. That is a positive!
21:50 Now, we are dealing with more than just a family...
21:56 natural family... order when we deal with this world.
21:59 There is brokenness in this world, and some of you may have
22:02 experienced that. And there are
22:04 step families. There are what we
22:07 call blended families.
22:09 Sometimes they don't blend
22:10 so well... so they still feel like step families.
22:14 But, that being said,
22:18 what kind of help and assistance can we give families
22:22 who are trying to put together two different family systems?
22:27 Because now there's a new marriage and the children
22:30 are being brought together. How can we protect
22:33 this new marriage in the Lord?
22:36 We hope by God's blessing they have become remarried
22:41 because of the brokenness of the previous relationships.
22:44 But now there is a determination to follow God.
22:47 How can we help them to establish that blended family
22:50 situation? Well I think first of all, we have to start with
22:53 forgiveness. Somebody's got to be willing to say
22:57 "It may not have started right, but this is our new page.
23:01 This is where we start today. And from this day,
23:06 we have determined this is what we will do. "
23:09 Joshua said: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. "
23:14 So any day you determine and covenant that this is what
23:18 you are going to do, the Lord will bless that day.
23:21 And because you have determined with a spirit of forgiveness
23:27 this is what your family is going to do, then if you
23:31 make a mistake the next day, you already know what to do.
23:35 This is how we forgive.
23:37 OK. So the attitude... the culture...
23:40 is one of forgiveness.
23:42 And that's easier than thinking that you are on pins and needles
23:46 and if you have children in the home that are not your
23:52 biological children, the problems of discipline
23:56 and parenting that are very difficult now
23:58 because it's a new home... there is a new parent here...
24:03 and ultimately that's all going to go right back up
24:06 to that new relationship that is a marriage relationship...
24:10 and this creates tension and conflict. So if you establish
24:13 Christ culture. If you establish Christ's spirit in your home,
24:19 the spirit of forgiveness and of helping to grow and develop
24:23 the new marriage and thereby the new family with the new
24:28 children, the tensions will be eased and a lot easier
24:32 to get through. Well, I think also, this
24:35 is a time when if there was ever a time or a need for
24:39 communication... OK. If there was ever a time
24:42 for being able to dialogue openly and honestly,
24:46 this would be the time. Because if people are wondering
24:51 or assuming or thinking... OR GUESSING,
24:55 then you've really got a problem because you can't have
24:59 a healthy marriage or a healthy family if people aren't telling
25:04 what they're really feeling.
25:06 OK. So, this is then making what we have already established
25:11 as a base. And that is: healthy communication and dialogue
25:16 in the marriage. This is one time
25:19 that you really can't pass that up.
25:21 Not at all. You may not get a second chance
25:23 because it will create such a difficult time for everybody
25:27 that it will destroy the marriage and the relationship.
25:31 So, children can be a blessing and they are a blessing
25:35 if you have followed God's plan.
25:38 And forgiveness is there when you happen to misstep
25:42 and get out of the plan. But don't you think that
25:45 one of the real major things is making sure that everyone in
25:49 in that family, underneath that marriage,
25:52 is learning about Jesus on a daily basis and that they
25:56 develop their own lives? Well, the only way children will
25:59 learn about Jesus is seeing their parents.
26:02 And one of the most powerful ways children learn is
26:06 for parents, when they are wrong, is for parents to
26:09 apologize to their children and say: "I'm sorry. "
26:12 OK. And that helps them to learn about forgiveness, doesn't it?
26:16 And that's the bedrock of foundation for a Christian home.
26:21 The grace of God for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus
26:23 Christ. You know, that's something we need to pray about
26:26 before we go today.
26:28 Dear Lord, there's not enough time in this day
26:31 or in this program to speak of every situation.
26:35 But, dear Lord, we are so thankful that Your Holy Spirit
26:39 can be everywhere and can be available for all families,
26:43 for all marriages. So please bless each one
26:48 that they might receive and hear Your voice.
26:51 Thank you, Lord, for trusting us with children.
26:55 We know that we can only raise them through Your power
26:58 and Your grace... and Your forgiveness.
27:01 So thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit.
27:04 In the lovely name of Jesus we pray, Amen and Amen.
27:09 Even as we have had our discussions,
27:12 we have to thank you for being there and for
27:17 praying us through because certainly we want your marriages
27:21 to be in God's hands even as we have appreciated and grown
27:26 and developed our marriage to this point through
27:28 God's hands. And we are looking forward to some more
27:32 important times together.
27:33 We hope that you have received a blessing today
27:36 and that your children who have been sent and provided from
27:40 the Lord will be a blessing to your marriage
27:43 and your marriage to them.