Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Source of Success:

I remember back in the 90's, the first time I heard Hillary Clinton on TV talking about her book, "It takes a village to raise a child."  My first thought was, "That's laziness if I've ever heard it."  To me, it seemed like she was trying to get people to pick up each other's slack or step in and parent (verb) neighborhood kids when parents neglected their responsibilities -- thus, fostering irresponsibility...

We've always parented where we take primary responsibly for our own children.  But, we've always welcomed help; we've never neglected to nurture opportunities for our children to develop relationships with those who wanted to mentor our children.  There have been great people in church who have offered to be role models, to teach our kids, to partner with us in their development.  Not nearly as many I wish our children would have had, but we've been blessed a few quality relationships along the way.

Parenting isn't always easy, sometimes it's downright hard.  Thinking of this cooperative "village to raise a child" concept, I'm convinced it takes a church to nurture a healthy marriage.  As believers, we have a responsibly to each other, to help love our spouses as deeply as possible.

To offer sound advice or helpful resources on strengthening a marriage is one thing -- but to encourage love, kindness and patience is another.  It's another level all together -- a whole other realm -- to actually put the brakes on a negative conversation before it gets started.  I haven't always done the best job of buffering other people's frustrations or diffusing their sarcasm.  I can't speak for you, but I want to train myself to block out other people's unhealthy conversations or jokes that belittle others.

Tammy & I have a great marriage.  We are in love & committed to each other.  We aren't perfect people, and however infrequent it is, we do have our share of times when we will argue or fight or disagree or get angry.  But.  We have a strong marriage, a loving marriage, a marriage that often has many people commenting on it, as they recognize they'd love a marriage like ours.  How did we get here, from our past?

Sure God has played the biggest role.  But God also used people who loved us and guided us early on.  In our first years as Christians, our church family made a huge impact on us too.  Couples like Ted & Susie Matthews, Gary & Zoe Lambrecht and others who modeled healthy marriages for us --- these men also called me on the carpet when I wasn't loving Tammy with a Christlike love.  Yes, they spoke truth firmly and lovingly into my life.  Thankfully, they helped me to mature in my faith, and in my marriage.

I Cor 15:33 teaches we will be like those we hang around with.
Surround yourselves with healthy people and be a healing presence yourself.

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