Archive for the ‘marriage’ Category

A Letter to My Daughters

February 8, 2011

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E… and J…

Hopefully, what I’m about to share with you isn’t the first time you recall hearing these things.  And, I know it’s a little weird to see them in the middle of a blog post (you know your weird dad :)).  But, maybe there’s just one dad out there who needs to see a dad express some of these things as  a reminder to share them with his daughter.  Thanks for humoring me, again.

You both know that I thank God daily for giving us (your mom and I) such beautiful girls.  And, you are not simply beautiful externally (which you are) but more importantly, you are becoming more and more beautiful internally.  You’re love for the Lord is becoming more and more evident by the way you serve and love others.  I see a Spirit in you that is helping shape and mold you into the woman God is designing.  It’s what your mother and I have prayed since before you were born, and continue to pray for you each day.

One day there will be a boy, er, young man who sweeps you off your feet.  We’ve watched Father of the Bride so many times that you can almost imagine how I’ll react.  I just pray you don’t have to bail me out of jail for opening bags of hot dog buns in the grocery store.  And, I won’t suggest the Steak Pit for your wedding reception.  Until that day comes, I know that God is continuing to refine you in preparation of that day.  And, He’s refining that young man as well.  I pray that you will let me, as your dad, help you and advise you as you enter into relationships over the coming years.  Not because I don’t think you can make wise choices but because you know that I love you and want the best for you.  And, when it comes to “love”, emotions and feelings often mask reality.  You need someone to help you see how this young man not only treats you in your dating but how he will treat you in marriage.

You are both gifts from God more priceless than anything else He has given your mother and I to raise.  I love you, both, more than you’ll ever know.  Your mom and I are proud of the young women you’re becoming.  We love you and look forward to that day when you announce that you have found the man that you (and we) have been praying for all these years.  Until (and even after) that day, you’re still, my “little” girls.  I love you….Daddy

Connecting With Your Kids Series: #3- Non-Negotiables

March 25, 2010

I don’t know how many times I heard Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, speak, but I do remember he only had a few messages. Keep Christ as your first love. Help fulfill the Great Commission. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. And as he got older, he also added in prayer and fasting. That’s it.

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Bill Bright knew who he was and what God had called him to do. That allowed him to focus on the non-negotiables. There’s tremendous power in that.

When it comes to connecting with your kids, here are a couple non-negotiables and another that’s working for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, too.

1. Grow in your relationship with God. Make this your #1 priority. Ultimately, you want to not only connect with your kids, but you want to help them connect with God. If you aren’t growing in Him, you can’t do this. You don’t need to be a Bible scholar. You just need to be seeking Him. Are you?

2. Grow in your relationship with your wife. After your relationship with the Lord, your marriage is your highest priority. Not your kids. Not your job. Not golf. Not hunting. It’s your wife. How does this help connect with your kids? Well, take your marriage to the opposite extreme: divorce. Connecting with your kids becomes a lot tougher when you don’t live with their mother. Do your kids know your wife is your highest priority after God? Does your wife know?

3. Spend money to connect. My oldest daughter is visiting us this week from southern California. Her husband is a Marine and she’s taking online courses toward her college degree. They live in a small, but expensive apartment. In other words, money is tight. Of course, my wife and I are both in ministry, so money has always been a little tight for us, too.

And yet, I purchased the plane ticket for Rachel to visit us. Was it in our budget? No. Did it make things a little tighter? Yeah. Could I have used that money to reduce some debt. Sure. But I suspect in twenty years, I won’t regret whatever money I spent that allowed me to connect with my kids. Actually, I don’t even regret it now.

Bottom line: don’t worry so much about how to connect with your kids. Focus instead on being someone they’d actually want to connect with.

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DadPad Quotes & Notes: The “One” Thing

March 15, 2010

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” -David O. McKay

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You’ve probably heard this quote.  As a full time missionary on the staff of FamilyLife, it’s one that is at the heart of our ministry.  Based on all the statistics I’ve seen regarding the state of marriage in our country, I think it’s also at the heart of our culture.  If more father’s loved their children’s mother, the family would be the fertile growing grounds for children as God had intended.

Recently a young man with whom I got to know via Twitter and have continued to communicate via Facebook and email asked me about the many comments I make about my beautiful wife.  His question was, “what are the top 3 things u think are the reasons for a strong marriage?”  Now, let me preface this by saying I am not the greatest husband.  I have a lot of foibles, warts and have done some pretty insensitive and hurtful things to my bride during our nearly 25 years of marriage.  My biggest success has been not giving up on getting better.  Additionally, after 5 years of working for a marriage ministry, I’ve seen my share of shattered marriages.  And, unfortunately, I’ve experienced divorce through close family members and seen the pain that it creates.  There are many things that contribute to a husband and wife having a vibrant marriage.  But these were the things I shared with my online friend:

The top three things that I believe are critical to a long lasting and vibrant marriage:

1) Shared belief in Christianity – I know that there are plenty of “non Christian” marriages. But, since God created marriage (see Genesis), I believe that unless both husband and wife ground their relationship in a transcendent cause, selfishness ultimately abounds and divorce becomes too convenient. It’s important for both a husband and wife to keep growing in their relationship with God–not to be perfect but striving together. “Two shall become one”

2) Take Divorce out of the equation at the very beginning. My wife and I said right at the start that divorce was never an option. Therefore, we might kill each other but we wouldn’t divorce each other. It also means that when things have gotten tough, we knew we needed to figure out how to work it out TOGETHER.

3) Unconditional love. For too much of our marriage we tried the 50/50 relationship. It doesn’t work. You can never arrive at what that looks like because, in our selfishness, we always think we are carrying more than the 50% and our spouse thinks the same for them. It only works when you give your love without conditions (on how they act, what they do for you, etc) that true love can be exhibited between a husband and a wife. When you give yourself to someone without EXPECTING anything in return, you will eventually get back much more.

Well, there are many more things that go into a marriage to make it work (like learning how to deal with conflict in a positive way, discussing key issues about life before you get married (like how many children you’re going to have, is the wife going to work after having children, etc), financial concurrence, how to deal with children’s issues/discipline, etc…. the list goes on. But, without the three things I mentioned, it is very difficult to bring two very different people together and expect them to “make it work”. Especially in a very divorce centered culture.

For Discussion:  What has happened in your families / marriage (good or bad) that supports the quote above?  Other points that I didn’t make to the young man that you would have made?  Share your insights.

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