Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 5 “Weaving” + LINKUP

 

 

Marriage Made in Heaven? Part 5 "Cleaving" - Previously, we've looked at an overview of marriage and have been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we're calling "weaving," growing in a one-flesh relationship. Today we'll focus on "weaving."Previously, we’ve looked at an overview of marriage and have been discussing the three components of marriage God laid out in Genesis 2.24 and other places in Scripture: leaving, cleaving, and what we’re calling “weaving,” growing in a one-flesh relationship. Today we’ll focus on “weaving.”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

The term “a marriage made in heaven,” may bring to mind different images, feelings, and expectations, but wherever you are, I believe this series has something for you.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Weaving”

 

Let’s look at our foundational Scripture once again:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

The three key components mentioned here are all critical to a God-honoring marriage.

Two weeks ago I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over our spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Last week, we talked about cleaving, including what it means when we say that marriage is a covenant relationship. God designed marriage to be a permanent relationship between one man and one woman for life.

Today we’ll talk about weaving, two becoming one.

This one-flesh relationship includes the sexual aspect of marriage, but it is much more. Wayne Mack in his book Strengthening Your Marriage says, “Marriage is a total commitment and a total sharing of the total person with another person until death.”

The marriage act should be a symbol of a more complete oneness. Weaving our lives together means becoming one-flesh relationally, socially, and financially, as well as, physically.

Couples should share everything, including: thoughts, ideas, dreams, abilities, problems, fears, concerns, successes, and failures. Ecclesiastes 4 says:

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

That’s not to say a person isn’t complete unless they’re married. If God has called you to singleness or a season of singleness, you are complete in Him. But when God said it was not good that man should be alone (Gen. 2.18), it referred to this idea of making up for what is lacking in each other.

Weaving our lives together is a picture of unity and deep intimacy, but it doesn’t mean we’re the same.

I’m always amazed at how God often brings together two people who are opposites in many ways. One will be a morning person and the other a night owl. One will be frugal and the other more spontaneous about spending. One may be outgoing and the other more of an introvert.

This can cause sparks as we’re learning to weave our lives together, but instead of expecting our spouses to be just like us, we should learn to appreciate each other’s differences. We should learn from and strengthen one another.

 

What Hinders Unity?

 

Genesis 2.25 says, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” But as soon as they sinned, they “realized they were naked” and they tried to hide themselves (Gen. 3.7). This was more than just physical nakedness. It was vulnerability. They saw themselves in their fallen state. As soon as they sinned they wanted to cover up from God and, ultimately, from each other.

Sin still keeps us from the transparency and intimacy God designed for marriage. In our sin nature, we are self-protective and prideful, rather than open and honest. But the walls we build to protect ourselves keeps us from the intimacy we desire. We end up cheating ourselves.

Other sins like bitterness and unforgiveness, harshness, selfishness, stubbornness, anger, impatience, and unwholesome speech prevent us from unity and intimacy, too.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 4 “Cleaving” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? Part 4 "Cleaving" - The word "cleave" in <a class="bible-gateway" href="http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=%26quot%3BGenesis&version=NIV" onclick="biblegwlinkpop(this.href,'"Genesis',800,950);return false;" target="_blank">"Genesis</a> means to cling or adhere; to abide fast; to be joined together." It means we are to stick like glue to each other. We're to cling to each other in sickness and in health; for richer or for poorer; for better or for worse. We're to stick together in joy and sorrow, good times and bad.We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married.

Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. If your marriage is a good one, hopefully, you can fine tune some things and if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married. So, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Cleaving”

 

In week one I talked a little about God’s plan for marriage and how when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, it not only damaged their relationships with God, but with each other.

In week two I shared my own testimony of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and God’s grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it out.

Last week I started talking about one of God’s clearest and most definitive statement on marriage. It appears four times (Gen. 2.24; Matt. 19.5; Mk. 10.7-8; Eph. 5.31) in His inspired Word (once in the Old Testament, three times in the New, once before the fall, and three times after). It was and is God’s plan and purpose for marriage in a nutshell.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

Often, when a couple is struggling in their marriage, it can be traced back to a failure to follow this blueprint in one or more of these areas. So what are the components of God’s divine plan for marriage listed in this verse?

As I said last week the key words are “leave,” “joined,” and “one flesh.” The word “joined” was translated “cleave” in the old King James Version and we’re calling the idea of becoming one flesh, “weaving.” So we are to leave, to cleave, and to weave our lives together.

Last week I focused on leaving. Briefly, it means we no longer depend on our parents emotionally, financially, or relationally. It means what they want or expect does not take priority over your spouse’s wishes and it means not running to them with every problem.

Today we’ll spend more time on what it means “to cleave.” Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? "Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving" -

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married.

Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. If your marriage is a good one, hopefully, you can fine tune some things and if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married. So, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “Leaving, Cleaving & Weaving

 

Last week I shared my own testimony of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and God’s grace. If you missed it, I hope you’ll check it out.

The previous week I talked a little about God’s plan for marriage and how when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, it not only damaged their relationships with God, but with each other.

Today we’ll zero in on, arguably, God’s clearest and most definitive statement on marriage. It’s the one statement about marriage that God makes four times (Gen. 2.24; Matt. 19.5; Mk. 10.7-8; Eph. 5.31) in the Bible.

He said it once in the Old Testament, three times in the New, once before the fall, and three times after. It was and is God’s plan and purpose for marriage in a nutshell.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen. 2.24).

As a counselor, I can tell you, more often than not, when a couple is struggling in their marriage, it can be traced back to a failure to follow this blueprint in one or more areas. So what are the components of God’s divine plan for marriage in this verse?

The key words are “leave,” “joined,” and “one flesh.” You’ll probably remember that the word “joined” was translated “cleave” in the old King James Version. And we might call the idea of becoming one flesh, “weaving.” So we are to leave, to cleave, and to weave our lives together.  Continue reading

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “My Story” + LINKUP

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? "My Story" - How God took two broken lives and four divorces and did what only He can do.

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married. Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. So, whether you’re single or you’ve been married 50+ years, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. If you’re new here, either to the LINKUP or you’ve come for this series on marriage, I look forward to learning together and growing in the ability to be the husband or wife God has called us to be and to have the kind of marriages that bring glory to Him. And if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married.

 

Last week I talked about the fact that marriage was created in the heart of God (Gen. 2.18-25), but that many marriages, even Christian marriages, fall far short of God’s design. I said that because God created marriage, we need to look at what He has to say about it, if we’re going to enjoy it as He intended.

We, also, need to understand what went wrong in the garden and how Adam and Eve’s decision to go against God’s command and eat the fruit had an immediate effect on all of life, including their marriage.

Today I’d like to share some of “my story” and how my story is really God’s story of redemption and grace.

 

Marriage: Made in Heaven? “My Story”

 

My story starts in Maine, actually Dover, New Hampshire, because the small down where my parents lived didn’t have a hospital of it’s own.

My grandparents were hard-working, “salt of the earth” people. My maternal grandparents were good, moral people, but not “church-goers” as they might have said.

My paternal grandfather died of cancer when I was a year old. My grandmother was raised in a Christian home, but didn’t always reflect Christ-likeness to others in the family. I say that only because it had a profound effect on my mother’s view of Christianity.

But I’m profoundly grateful that when my grandmother visited us once or twice a year, she took me with her to church. Seeds were planted. In fact, I remember praying a prayer to accept Jesus when I was about 12-years old.

While I do believe that God was working and drawing me to Himself at that time, I’m not sure if it was a genuine conversion. Only He knows, but I do know that He has had His hand on me.

Mom married my dad, who was five years older, three days out of high school. Their marriage was tumultuous from the beginning. I asked her about it once and whether or not she saw “red flags” before they were married. She said, “It’s just what you did. You graduated, then you got married.”

But my mother was a good mother. She was very devoted to her three children. I think she resigned herself to making us her life early on. She never worked outside the home while we were growing up. Somewhere along the line she decided that she’d stick it out “for the kids,” at least until we were all grown. When my youngest brother graduated from high school, she left.

My parents’ marriage was characterized by drinking and partying, mostly on my dad’s part, and arguments from which my mother tried to protect us.

My dad, in spite of it all, loved his kids. I don’t remember ever seeing him angry or mean, even when he was drinking. But, addictions are inherently selfish in nature and his cost his family in many ways.

Even so, I don’t remember ever feeling I had a bad childhood. I do remember wanting something different for my life.

Consequently, I married the first time at seventeen. Neither of us had any clue about God’s design for marriage. Like my mom, I focused on my children, but unlike her, I decided I would leave as soon as I could support myself. The marriage lasted less than seven years.

The next few years were a struggle: to make ends meet, to have any energy left for my two kids, and to see where my life was going.

I, eventually, got involved with an older man, in part, because I was just tired. This time, there were “red flags” all over the place, but I rationalized them all away. I left again after seven years of his drinking and infidelity. But he was a person who didn’t “lose.” It took me almost three years to get a divorce. Years that included his stalking me, drunken break-ins, threats to burn the house down with the kids and me in it, and on one occasion, kidnapping our young son.  Continue reading

“Marriage: Made in Heaven?” + LINKUP

 

Welcome to Mondays @ Soul Survival. If you’re new here, either to the LINKUP or you’ve come for the new series on marriage, I look forward to learning together and growing in the ability to be the husband or wife God has called us to be and to have the kind of marriages that bring glory to Him. And if you’re single, I pray you’ll take away truths that will help you in any future marriage or help you minister to others who are married.

 

“Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

We’ve all heard the phrase “a marriage made in heaven,” but it may bring to mind different thoughts and images. Perhaps, in your case, it’s of your parents’ marriage and whether it was a good one or a contentious one. Perhaps, it’s your own marriage and of the thoughts, dreams, commitments, even preconceptions, you had when you married. Perhaps, it’s the thing to which you look forward or the one over which you’ve become discouraged. Wherever you are, I believe this series will have something for you. So, whether you’re single or you’ve been married 50+ years, I hope you’ll tune in each week for this study, “A Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Was Marriage “Made” in Heaven?

 

Where did we get the institution of marriage? Did it start in one particular civilization? Is it the creation of government or prehistoric social engineers?

We have to go back to the beginning, to the book of Genesis to find that answer.

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

God said it was not good that man should be alone and He knew that nothing else in creation could take the place of two human beings in a relationship like the one shared within the Trinity itself.

So, He created a woman that was taken out of man. Then He called them to a “one flesh” relationship. He made two from one and then called the man and the woman to have a relationship that makes them one again.

Marriage was “made in heaven” or perhaps, more accurately, in the heart of God. But many marriages, even Christian marriages, fall far short of God’s design.  Continue reading

Blended Families Part 17: Loyalty Conflicts & Blended Families in the Bible + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 17: Loyalty & Blended Families in the Bible - Today I'll talk about loyalty issues, blended families in the Bible, and then wrap things up.

Blended Families Part 17: Loyalty Conflicts & Blended Families in the Bible

 

Over the last 4½ months, we’ve looked at blended family issues of all kinds: the losses and the gains involved, how to love one another biblically, God’s goal in blending a family, favoritism, anger and how we might unintentionally provoke our children to anger. We’ve talked about step-parenting, behavior contracts, dealing with ex’s and the differences in rules between two households. We’ve also talked about the importance of taking responsibility when we’re wrong and humbly confessing our sins, even to our children. We’ve discussed the importance of overcoming evil with good and how to help our children adjust.

Last week in “Blended Families Part 16: 4 Rules of Communication,” we discussed the importance of good biblical communication and looked at 4 simple rules that can help us stay on track. I also explained something we call the “put-offs and put-ons” from Ephesians 4.22-24. We might call it God’s methodology for change.

Click here for previous posts in this in depth series.

Today I’ll talk about loyalty issues, blended families in the Bible, and then wrap things up. Next week I’ll start a new series, “Marriage Made in Heaven?”

 

Hearts: Ours & Our Children’s

 

We’ve talked a lot about heart issues and how God is always dealing with us on that level, no matter what challenges we face. He’s also working all things for good so we can become progressively more like Christ. We need to remember that and remind our children when they’re struggling. In fact, Romans 8.28-29 might be a good passage to memorize as a family.

We can also do some self-evaluation (and help our children to do the same), especially when we’re tempted to fight and quarrel, to see what we’re wanting and whether or not we might be wanting it too much.

James 1.13-15: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death (Jas. 1).

James 4. 1-4: Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

Even good desires, obedient children, an ex-spouse who does what he (or she) says he will, step-children who respect us, a step-parent who doesn’t show favoritism, etc., can become a lust (any strongly held desire) if we want them so much that we’re willing to sin against God and others to get them.

As I said in the last post, we need to make appropriate changes, not just on the doing level, but in our attitudes and thinking, as well. That is a two-part process: both putting off unbiblical thoughts, words, and actions, and putting on godly ones.

 

Loyalty Conflicts

 

One thing we haven’t spent much time on is loyalty conflicts. Spouses can struggle with loyalty issues if one of them is constantly trying to appease an ex-spouse. This requires loving change on both their parts. The new spouse needs to understand that some contact and compromise with our ex is necessary for the sake of the children and the glory of God. But we need to remember that our loyalty is always to our current spouse. Our responsibility is not to please our ex, but to please God, see “Blended Families Part 4: The Goal of Life”

Parents can struggle with loyalty issues when it comes to spending time with and parenting step-children. But love shouldn’t be exclusive. Showing love to one doesn’t mean we don’t love the other. It helps if we can begin to see the blended family as a whole, instead of “yours and mine.” For more on this subject, you might want to read, “Blended Families Part 3: Loving Not Liking Each Other.”

Children, too, can struggle with loyalty issues. As one little girl said, “On Mother’s Day I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even know what I should do or could do. If I went with my stepmother, my mother would be furious. If I went with my mother, my stepmother would be upset. I couldn’t even think about it. It’s the worst situation I ever had in my life.”

We need to help our children understand that we want them to be loyal to God. That means to demonstrate biblical love for both sets of parents. And even though it’s challenging, we can do a lot to alleviate the stress our children feel, by giving them permission to treat the other parent or parents lovingly. And we need to set a good example for them by how we treat our ex and his or her new spouse.

 

Dealing with In-Laws

 

Many parents welcome their child’s new family with open arms, but others might be less accepting of a new spouse and children. Sometimes it’s because of loyalty to the former spouse. Other times it’s an unwillingness to see step-children as “theirs.”

If it continues to be an issue, you may need to prayerfully and lovingly sit down with them and let them know you need their help to do the hard work of blending a family. Let them know that you understand that they have different feelings for children who have been part of their lives before. Genuine relationships take time. But you may need to firmly let them know that you can’t allow them to come into the family situation and show favoritism to some of the children.

I’ve seen situations where grandparents came to visit and brought lavish gifts for their biological grandchildren while step siblings looked on in hurt or anger. This can be devastating to any sense of unity and acceptance.  Continue reading

New Year’s Day @ Soul Survival LINKUP

Welcome to the Mondays @ Soul Survival LINKUP

 

Happy 2017!

2016 has come and gone. Some may be glad it’s behind us. For others it went by in a blur. Either way 2017 lies ahead, a blank slate.

I pray that each of you will be blessed, strengthened, and encouraged in this new year.

Isaiah 40.30-31:

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Romans 8.18:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Isaiah 43.19:

19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

Jeremiah 29.11:

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Lamentations 3.22-23:

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

 


Blended Families + LINKUP - I'll be talking about the common issues and challenges, offering some solutions, and providing resources to help. If you're not a blended family, I'm sure you know someone who is. The first post will start in the next linkup.

The “Blended Families” LINKUP will be back next week. I’ll wrap it up and start a new series in January: “Marriage, Made in Heaven?” For those who have missed this series here are links to the previous posts. Now, happy linking!

Continue reading

Blended Families Series + LINKUP

Birth Jesus silhouette of the nativity in Bethlehem

 

Merry Christmas to You All,

I’m praying you have a safe, restful, and joy-filled Christmas.

I love and appreciate each one of you. I’m amazed and blessed by the abundance of good, biblical posts so many of you share on this linkup and on your own sites. May the coming year be a productive one where God’s Word has free reign to impact lives for His kingdom.

But I, also, know the holidays can be stressful and even sad for those who have suffered loss in the past year or so. If that’s you, may the God of peace be with you. May He comfort your heart in a way that makes His power and presence all the more real.

There’s no new “Blended Families” post today, but you can still linkup. If you have missed any of the earlier posts in the series, I’ve included links to them all.

 

Blended Families + LINKUP - I'll be talking about the common issues and challenges, offering some solutions, and providing resources to help. If you're not a blended family, I'm sure you know someone who is. The first post will start in the next linkup.

Blended Families Part 1: The Losses & the Gains

Blended Families Part 2: The Same Only Different

Blended Families Part 3: Loving Not Liking Each Other

Blended Families Part 4: The Goal of Life

Blended Families Part 5: Favoritism & Other 4-Letter Words

Blended Families Part 6: Angry Children

Blended Families Part 7: Provoking Children to Anger

Blended Families Part 8: “You’re not my dad!”

Blended Families Part 9: A Plan for Successful Step-Parenting

Blended Families Part 10: Behavior Contracts

Blended Families Part 11: How to Start Dealing with Ex’s

Blended Families Part 12: Seven A’s of Confession

Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households

Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil

Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust

Blended Families Part 16: 4 Rules of Communication

 


IF YOU ARE A BLOGGER, IT’S TIME TO LINKUP!

IF NOT, CHECK OUT THE GREAT POSTS LINKED BELOW!

Christian bloggers linkup

Mondays @ Soul Survival is a place to share your insights about God and His Word, parenting, marriage, homemaking, organization and more. Feel free to link up multiple posts as long as they are family friendly. Remember this is a Christian site.

I hope you’ll take the time to visit someone else and get to know them and I would love it if you link back in some way and followed me on FaceBook, Twitter or PinterestContinue reading

Blended Families Part 16: 4 Rules of Communication + LINKUP

Hi Everyone, I apologize. Some code must be corrupted in this post. I have tried everything to eliminate it. Removing photos, redoing things. Nothing seems to help. But the linkup is working.

 

Last week in Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust we talked about the two major pitfalls into which parents in blended families fall: either becoming overly focused on the children’s outward behavior or turning their children into victims. Today we’re going to talk about biblical communication and God’s methodology for change.

Some children in blended families adjust quickly and easily, but others struggle with fear, worry, anger, and loyalty conflicts.

Children may be angry about losing their position in the family, losing the dream of their original family being restored, unwanted changes, jealousy toward new step-siblings or any number of other things.

One of the most important skills in overcoming anger and building good relationships is learning how to communicate in a loving, God-honoring way. Ephesians 4 contains some of the clearest passages on the subject of communication. The principles can be summed up in 4 easy to understand “rules” that you can apply and teach your children.

 

4 Rules of Communication

 

  • Be honest.
  • Keep current.
  • Attack the problem, not the person.
  • Act, don’t react.

 

Be Honest.

 

Ephesians 4.25 says:

Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

Sounds simple enough, but being honest is more that just not telling a lie. It’s, also, more than blurting out the unadulterated truth. It involves being open and transparent in a loving way.

The first part of being honest is to communicate. “Let each of you speak …”

The second part is to speak truth. It’s not enough to just “not lie.” We must also speak truth.

For example: If, after you and your husband agreed not to make any unnecessary purchases, you put those shoes you wanted on your credit card, slipped them into the house when you’re husband wasn’t home, and simply never brought it up, you may not have lied, but your weren’t being honest either.

rt 16: 4 Rules of Communication + LINKUP" >Our children need to understand the same principle. Instead of just punishing them for not telling you about a bad grade, sit down and explain why it’s wrong from God’s Word. Let them know that you struggle with living God’s way, too. Use it as an opportunity to teach them how much we need His help to live His way. Turn it into a gospel moment.

Whether they listen attentively or roll their eyes, you’re planting seeds.

So we and our children are to speak and to speak truth, but we must also learn to speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4.15 says:

[B]ut, speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.

For example: If your child grew up learning to make his bed and keep his room reasonably neat and now shares a room with a step-sibling who doesn’t seem to know what a clothes hanger or a hamper is, the answer isn’t to tell his sibling he’s a slob.

Instead, help him learn to pray (another gospel moment) and ask God for wisdom about talking to his brother. It could be something like, “Hey, I’m not crazy about cleaning the room either. I used to resent it when my mom made me stay home until I did. But I learned it’s easier to just get it over with. It looks better when my friends come to hang out, too. Can I give you a hand?”

So rule #1 is: “Be honest.” Speak. Speak the truth. Speak the truth in love.  Continue reading

rt 16: 4 Rules of Communication + LINKUP' data-link='http://donnareidland.com/blended-families-4-rules-of-communication-linkup/' data-summary=''>

Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust + LINKUP

 

Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust - Today we'll discuss how to help your children and step-children adjust to blended family life and some of the issues that may need to be addressed.

I so sorry the linkup is late. My mom fell a couple of weeks ago and broke her hip. I’m staying with her for a while and just got her home from rehab yesterday. Please keep her in your prayers, not just for her healing, but for her to come to know the Lord.

Blended Families Part 15: Helping Children Adjust

 

Over the last two weeks in “Blended Families Part 13: Differences Between Households” and “Blended Families Part 14: Overcoming Evil,” we have been looking at ways to deal with the different rules and expectations between your household and that of your ex in a God-honoring way. We, also, looked at how to evaluate whether or not to address any particular situation and how to respond when you ex isn’t willing to work on issues. Last week we talked about ways to live in peace and solve problems. Today and next week, we’ll discuss how to help your children and step-children adjust to blended family life and some of the issues that may need to be addressed.

Click here for previous posts in this series.

 

The Challenge for All Families

 

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus replied:

37 “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22.37-39 NLT).

This can be challenging in all families as people live with one another day after day, seeing each other in the best and worst of circumstances. It’s especially challenging as we seek to blend two families into one.

Yet, no where is it more important that we, especially parents, live out these commands. We won’t do it perfectly, but we can do it humbly and imperfectly, by relying on God’s grace. Doing so is important to our children’s view of Christianity.

 

Loving Though They Didn’t Choose

 

While their parents chose a partner, children are called to love people with whom they didn’t choose to live. In the process, their hearts are exposed as they’re forced to share, submit to parental authority, to give, and to love. And while all families face change from time to time, children in a blended families often face sudden and drastic change.

Some of the changes might be:

  • Birth order
  • Position of priority with the biological parent
  • The need to share a room
  • Moving
  • A change of school
  • A change of neighbors
  • Loss of contact with extended family

And we could add many more.

 

Two Major Pitfalls

 

Parents in blended families can easily fall into one or both of two major pitfalls.

The first is to get focused merely on outward behavior without addressing the heart. Parents may come up with a rule for everything. The focus becomes all about complying with those house rules. Of course, some rules are OK, but focusing on compliance without dealing with heart issues creates little pharisees, at best.

Children learn to live in that economy. They learn how to get what they want by keeping the rules and, often, learn to manipulate by showing the right amount of penitence over bad behavior. Then when they’re out from under their parents’ authority, they begin to live out of the thoughts and motives that were in their hearts all along. They go away to collage or leave home and quit doing what’s right.  Continue reading