Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

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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Dad–Need Some Advice on Helping Your Daughters Date WELL? Win a Book to Help!

March 19, 2010

If you answered yes to the question in the headline, then you’ve come to the right place.  Yesterday, I said I would be a dad’s best friend by helping you create a way for you to win with your daughter and your inner conviction that dating shouldn’t be a battle zone between you and her.  You can win on both fronts!

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Dennis Rainey, President of FamilyLife, has written a very short and practical book entitled, Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date.  I have found the book very beneficial in helping me develop a strategy for getting involved in my teen daughters dating world without being shunned or hated (and I hope it will last into their pre-married dating as well).  They needed to understood that my role as father is not to deny them the opportunity to date or to fight them about their dates.  Rather, it IS to provide safeguards so that they feel protected and cared for IN their dating.

When they knew that my love for them includes wanting them to date young men who a) have their best interest in mind, b) are grounded in their Christian faith,  and c) desire to be admirable in their intentions they have been much more open to allowing me into their dating world.  The opposite is too often the case:  we (dads) are becoming too un-invested and unaware in our daughters lives (and sons too) of one of the most important rituals we go through as men and women—checking out the other for potentially being together for life.

Therefore, I am taking it upon myself to help out the dads (3 of them to be specific plus those who want to check out the book on their own) who want to become more involved in this area of their daughters life by GIVING AWAY 3 copies of the book, Interviewing Your Daughters Date (just in time for Prom :)).  Here’s how it works:

Simply comment on this blog post about any of the following (or something related you want to share):

  1. Why you want this tool in your “daddy arsenal”.
  2. How can you see having a tool to help you in the area of helping your daughter date being valuable
  3. Mistakes you’ve made in this area that other dads can learn from or things you’ve done well that we can also learn from you about.
  4. The challenges of being a dad in this dating crazy/earlier dating/sexually explicit world we live in
  5. Your related thoughts…

At the end of the March I will randomly draw 3 names from all who commented and send you the book to help you out.  I will announce the winner on the blogpost for March 31.  I hope it helps!

**note that this is a personal giveaway and not affiliated at all with FamilyLife.  I am purchasing the books myself and giving them away because I think it’s important for Dad’s all over to get involved in this area of their daughters lives and to do it well.

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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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Playing to Your Strengths

February 27, 2009

scan00202I played quarterback in high school. Our best pass play was a draw if that gives you any indication as to what kind of a passer I was. Unfortunately, I never really learned to throw well until after I graduated.

I was good at managing the game though. I focused on the basics, made few mistakes and carried out my assignments. After one particular game, I was given the award for outstanding offensive player of the game and I don’t remember throwing a single pass. I was just good at playing to my strengths.

When it comes to being a dad, there are some things I’m good at and others, like being able to throw deep, I’m not so good at, so I’ve chosen to play to my strengths. For example, (more…)