Participants: Mike and Gayle Tucker
Series Code: MGH
Program Code: MGH000086A
00:19 Welcome to Marriage in God's Hands.
00:21 We're Mike and Gayle Tucker
00:22 from Faith For Today television,
00:24 the co-host of Lifestyle Magazine,
00:26 and Mad About Marriage.
00:28 Now we have been talking about advice for couples,
00:32 and we've started off with scriptural basis,
00:34 and then we went through some of the mottos
00:36 that successful couples have shared with us.
00:40 And now we wanted to enter a new phase here,
00:42 we're leaving the mottos behind,
00:43 we're going to do something else.
00:45 We're adding children to the mix.
00:46 Oh, wow!
00:48 Marriage is hard enough without kids,
00:50 but when kids come, some people think,
00:51 "With the children,
00:53 we'll just make it all the much better,
00:55 you know, making our lives easier."
00:56 Oh, yeah, we're looking for the blessed event, you know.
00:59 Yes, and that is true, it is a blessed event.
01:01 It is.
01:03 But that is when things get complicated.
01:05 It is.
01:07 As soon as kids are born,
01:08 everything is a little bit more difficult,
01:11 it's a little more involved,
01:14 it's just more complicated.
01:15 Well, after that, the fact that parenting is by far
01:19 the most guilt-producing activity of my life.
01:24 I've never done anything that's made me
01:25 feel guiltier than parenting
01:27 because you never feel like you've done enough.
01:29 And when you do make a mistake,
01:31 those mistakes just stand out in your mind like crazy
01:33 and you're afraid the child's gonna spend their life in
01:35 and therapy recovering from you, you know.
01:37 And so it is guilt-producing.
01:39 By the way, there's a cavy after that,
01:41 grand parenting,
01:42 as you and I both know, is guilt-free.
01:43 And it's awesome.
01:45 I love grand parenting.
01:46 Well, we have two grand children,
01:48 and they are the best.
01:50 They are the best.
01:52 But parenting adds stress to you.
01:53 It does add stress.
01:55 Well, let's think about it.
01:56 Life is more complicated
01:58 because now you have different time constraints
02:01 where as, before maybe, you know,
02:03 you could be kind of foot loose,
02:05 you could just pick up and go when you wanted to,
02:07 "Let's just go for the weekend and do something."
02:10 Now your time is much more, it's more involved.
02:15 Well, it takes an act of congress
02:17 to get kids in the car to go some place,
02:19 or heaven forbid,
02:21 you put them on an airplane.
02:22 You know, all the paraffin and now you,
02:24 you have to take and all the planning
02:25 has to go into the--
02:26 That's the other thing,
02:28 the logistics are much more difficult
02:29 because you've got all the equipment
02:31 that you have to carry along when they're little.
02:33 And when they're bigger,
02:35 there are still a lot of logistical things
02:37 because then you're worried
02:38 about who's getting him to school,
02:39 who's getting lunches ready,
02:41 who's taking them to piano lessons,
02:43 or soccer practice,
02:45 or whatever they're involved in.
02:47 So you've got all those things,
02:48 and all of the home work, and the school activities,
02:52 and all of that to deal with.
02:54 Energy, energy really is at a premium.
02:58 You've seen the faces of the mothers of toddlers?
03:01 How, that tired look in their eyes?
03:03 They've earned that.
03:04 They have earned it.
03:05 I remember, well, I still feel this way,
03:07 I got tired the minute our first daughter was born.
03:12 And I've never recovered. Yeah.
03:14 She's an adult. Yes.
03:16 I'm still more tired.
03:17 And, I mean, that's really, literally true.
03:20 There's just a tiredness and exhaustion
03:22 that goes along with it
03:23 because you're always dealing with, you know,
03:26 the things of life for them.
03:29 You have to take care of them and you worry about them
03:31 and all of those things.
03:33 Um, I think money is another thing
03:35 that changes when the kids are born.
03:37 Children are just incredibly expensive.
03:42 There was a time in this country
03:44 when we were an agrarian society
03:46 when children were actually a financial asset.
03:49 Because, if you had more children,
03:50 you could farm more land, and that produced more income.
03:54 But without being in an agrarian society,
03:58 children are no longer an asset,
04:00 they are a huge liability,
04:02 and that again that sounds
04:03 an ugly way to describe children but financially--
04:07 Just financially.
04:08 Financially, they're a liability.
04:11 The amount of money it takes to raise a child,
04:14 to keep a child healthy,
04:16 to provide health insurance and health care,
04:19 and then education for the child.
04:21 And clothe the child, feed the kid, I mean,
04:24 on and on it goes,
04:26 the expenses are just off the chart.
04:28 So things are more complicated with kids.
04:31 But really, I think,
04:33 what really is important in marriage is that
04:36 when children come along, they increase conflict.
04:40 Now we, it shouldn't be that way.
04:42 But it is.
04:43 But it is in most families
04:44 and at least the potential for conflict is there.
04:48 And there are a lot of reasons for that.
04:50 One of them is that
04:51 we have different backgrounds as a couple,
04:53 you know, you come from one kind of upbringing,
04:56 and I come from another.
04:58 And when we look at things in terms of children,
05:01 we each have our ideas about how they ought to be raised.
05:04 We have our own traditions,
05:06 you know, in our family we always did whatever it was.
05:11 And when we had holidays in our family, we did this.
05:16 And that might be very different
05:17 from what your family did.
05:19 So there--
05:21 Or different means of disciplining the children.
05:23 This is how we did it in our family,
05:25 this worked for me.
05:27 But you're doing something different, I don't like that,
05:29 or maybe my rules are more stringent than yours.
05:32 I'm more conservative than you.
05:35 Or you more than me.
05:38 That increases the conflict now.
05:40 It does, and that can be in terms of just
05:43 what you think is the right way to raise a child.
05:47 Should it be strict, or should it be more lenient?
05:49 Or it can also be in terms of what you believe
05:52 is morally right or wrong.
05:54 And when you get to that level,
05:56 then you really have something going on
05:57 because I think that you're actually wrong,
06:00 I think your way is sinful.
06:02 Yes. Compared to my way.
06:04 So there's a potential there for conflict.
06:06 And if you, if you put the sin label on it,
06:09 then how do you back down from that?
06:12 How do you say, "Well, all right, it is okay for me
06:13 to compromise with sin in this particular area"?
06:15 Yeah, that's right.
06:16 We have to be very careful about that
06:17 which we label morally right or wrong.
06:20 And make sure we stay with scripture on that
06:22 because otherwise we, we start to get into,
06:24 we'd be kind of entirely inflexible.
06:26 Yeah, we have to realize that really most things
06:30 are more a matter of opinion or, you know--
06:33 Or preference.
06:34 Preference, and, you know, there are certain things
06:37 that are more moral issues.
06:39 There absolutely are,
06:40 and there's no compromise on those.
06:42 That's right.
06:43 We just cannot for the sake of our children,
06:44 for the sake of our God.
06:46 So we have potential for conflict there.
06:48 We also have potential for conflict with in-laws.
06:52 Because, you know, now grandma and grandpa,
06:55 oh, they want to have their hands on the baby
06:57 and you want them to,
06:58 and you want them to be a part of things,
07:00 but are they interfering,
07:02 you know, do they think maybe you're not doing things right.
07:05 Do they lecture you over this? Uh-huh.
07:07 Or do they, do they refuse to follow the rules
07:09 that you have for the children
07:11 when the children are with them,
07:12 you know?
07:13 So you've got the in-law thing.
07:15 I knew one family that said, you know,
07:17 "We lived close to my parents until our children were born,
07:23 and they interfered so much in our parenting,
07:27 and not only did they interfere in
07:29 what we did as far as discipline,
07:31 but they wanted the children all the time."
07:33 I mean, like, "You guys go, you know,
07:34 have some time together, we want the children."
07:37 They said, "We really,
07:38 seriously considered moving away."
07:41 "Because it was such an interference."
07:43 So there was a problem there, you know,
07:45 also the strain on the budget
07:47 is also a possibility for conflict.
07:50 It's real.
07:52 And again, money is the number one reason
07:53 why couples fight.
07:54 You put children in the mix, money gets tighter,
07:57 and then the fights are more likely to come.
08:00 And then when you have families
08:01 where there might happen to be a special needs child,
08:04 that's even more stressful.
08:06 A lot more stress is on it because the logistics gets so,
08:10 so difficult, and the child
08:11 is more likely to have illnesses,
08:13 or certainly special care, and is more expensive.
08:16 Just the stresses are just great.
08:18 Added to that the fact that very often
08:20 there's an accompanying sense of guilt
08:23 over a special needs child that's not need to be there
08:26 but it's a normal thing for people to experience.
08:29 And it just further complicates things.
08:32 So, you know, we're painting a pretty bleak picture
08:35 of having children.
08:36 Yeah, it makes you not able to want to have one,
08:38 you know, there's--
08:39 But, if you're married,
08:41 you know that all of these things
08:43 are potentially there for you.
08:45 That they are the complications of having children.
08:49 What we want to do today
08:50 is talk a little bit about how to handle those things.
08:53 Because children in the,
08:55 in the end result are great joy.
08:58 Oh, they are a wonderful blessing.
09:00 We've raised two daughters,
09:01 I cannot imagine life without our children and now,
09:04 our grandchildren.
09:06 Such a joy they've been to us
09:07 and such a benefit to our lives overall.
09:09 They've enriched us,
09:11 and enriched our experience together as well
09:13 because we grew through the challenges,
09:17 and now, we have a ritual relationship
09:18 because of it.
09:19 So you have to learn how to be married first of all,
09:21 and then you have to learn
09:22 how to be married with children.
09:24 With children.
09:25 So what's the first thing to do?
09:27 What are some basic principles that can keep it
09:29 strong as parents and as a couple?
09:32 The place you start, I think, besides the fact that,
09:36 and again as Christians we would say
09:37 we're always gonna start with prayer,
09:39 we're always gonna start with Jesus is the center,
09:42 and so I think that that's assumed I hope it is.
09:45 But other than that, we start with our relationship.
09:48 We make sure that you and I stay strong
09:50 that we carve out time for ourselves.
09:52 A couple should not feel guilty overtaking time
09:56 from the children to spend with each other
09:59 so that they keep their relationship strong
10:01 because children will find their
10:02 greatest sense of security,
10:04 and the love that mom and dad have for each other,
10:06 and the commitment that they exhibit to one another.
10:08 That's right.
10:09 They're benefiting their children
10:11 by spending their time together.
10:13 I talked to one young couple who said,
10:15 "Well, we haven't had a date in two years."
10:18 "In two years?"
10:20 "Yes, our child was born two years ago."
10:22 And so they felt like, you know,
10:24 they had so much busyness.
10:26 They had to work,
10:27 they had so many things that they couldn't actually
10:29 take any time away from their child for a date.
10:34 And there is just this exhaustion in their eyes.
10:36 So it was really important,
10:38 it is really important for people to say
10:40 we're gonna keep our relationship strong,
10:42 we're gonna still do special things together.
10:44 And obviously, special care has to be given
10:47 to who the children are left with when you do this.
10:50 But, but it should not prevent you from doing it.
10:54 It's important to take their time for each other.
10:57 Um, I think that the next thing to do
10:59 is to remember and rehearse
11:03 what a gift your children are to you.
11:04 Yeah, 'cause it's easy to forget that if you don't.
11:07 Because the stresses are so great.
11:08 There are stresses, and you're tired.
11:12 But to just remember, these children are such a gift.
11:15 There is so much potential
11:17 that lies in your hands with your children.
11:19 You know, this was a lot easier for you and I to remember
11:22 when our grandchildren were born.
11:25 When the children were born,
11:27 there was this sense of responsibility,
11:29 and this urgency to do things right.
11:33 We wanted to raise Godly children,
11:34 healthy children, psychologically healthy
11:37 and spiritually healthy children,
11:39 that's what we wanted.
11:40 We wanted to keep them safe
11:41 and so we were focused on those things.
11:44 As grand parents you're a little more relaxed,
11:45 it's like, "Yeah, I didn't know how to do that,
11:48 but now I want to enjoy the blessings
11:50 of this wonderful child."
11:52 There's an amazing thing that happened
11:54 when our first grand child was born.
11:56 It was like the moment I held her in my hands, in my arms,
12:01 I could see the potential of who she could be.
12:06 And it was, there was this bond,
12:07 and that was just immediate.
12:09 And I felt a bond with my own children
12:12 when they were born,
12:13 but I don't think I realized
12:15 really the gift that I was holding.
12:18 And you do more as a grand parent
12:19 because now you've watched your children grow up,
12:21 and they are this fantastic gift,
12:23 they are such a wonderful thing.
12:25 And I thought, "Ah!
12:27 You know, here's another generation."
12:28 Yeah, and I think another thing
12:30 we have to do then is to make a plan.
12:33 We make a plan for how we're going to do this.
12:35 We start with the end in mind,
12:37 what is it that we want to produce with this child,
12:40 what kind of a,
12:42 an adult does this child need to be,
12:44 and now what do we do to get from point A to point B.
12:47 What is the in game, and if you start with that,
12:49 it helps.
12:51 I think it does because often parenting seems to happen
12:54 by accident or emergency, you know.
12:57 I'm just, I'm just trying to make it through the day.
13:01 And when we approach it that way,
13:03 it will overwhelm us.
13:04 Survival mode is a prescription for disaster.
13:07 And then we take it out on each other.
13:09 Because we're like,
13:11 "I can't believe I'm in this situation,
13:13 it's so difficult."
13:14 Well, we've got some more advice,
13:16 and some more help coming up,
13:17 but we're gonna take a break right now,
13:18 and we'll be right back after this.