The amount of grace it takes to sustain a marriage is unfathomable. Well, maybe that just applies to me due to my ability shoot off like a bottle rocket in a matter of seconds. This afternoon, we attempted to take the kids for a walk (more like marathon), when I got fed up with the antics all the kids were pulling at once. In short, I halted all screaming, pouting, bad attitudes, key throwing, temper tantrums kids to park their tushies in the grass and ordered a family meeting.
Giving Chris the floor, I waited for him to give the usual 4-1-1 on the current issues. Innocently waiting for him to take over, I glanced at him. He was still standing there–silent. Already the kids were sensing the division between us, and began toying with what little patience I had left. After glaring at him, he tossed out the ‘knock it off’ speech before releasing them back to our marathon hike.
Ah, marriage. It affects our children more than the schools we put them in, the friends they have, or the church we take them to. They learn about the dynamics of it when they are still peanuts in our wombs; by the time they are three, they know when the parental units are divided or united. Our kids are learning relationship habits (and manipulation tactics), as if they were breathing air through every day interactions.
As Chris and I squabbled about how he handled his chit chat with the kids, eventually unkind words were thrown out. This also included irritating habits, and other flaming arrows. Later, after I had cooled off, I apologized to my husband in front of my children. Oh why the humility you might ask? Not only are my children learning relational habits, but they also need to learn a thing or two about a united home.
Growing up, my mother and father didn’t have an ideal marriage which ended in divorce. Though their circumstances were very different than mine, I want to teach my children through my actions, my marriage, and my life experiences what Jesus states in Mathew 12:25:
I want my children to learn how to resolve conflict and to build up their spouses, not tear them down. The enemy doesn’t need an affair or other major tragedy to tear apart a family, he just needs a few careless words, pride, and selfishness.