What does it mean to be a "good" parent?
What does it mean to be a "good" spouse?
Is there such a thing? Do they exist? How will I screw my kid up? Will I screw up my marriage?These are the things we have been wrestling with recently.
In my new roll as Mommy & Wifey, I've had to reflect on my childhood and my marriage and wonder how I'm going to impact my sons views and how he develops. One of the biggest ways I can impact him, I've been feeling lately, Is staying HAPPILY married. Marriage isn't always "happy", But how do I sustain a healthy picture of marriage for my son in the not so happy times?
Last week we had breakfast at our house with a woman who is dear to my heart. Her name is Janice and she mentored me before I got married. She was what I like to call my "spiritual" mother. She cared for me through many of my storms and I eat up every bit of wisdom she and her husband have to offer. They are nearing their fifties, and are still madly in love. They talked passionately about raising their 4 daughters, the struggles of marriage, and how they keep it alive.
Lately I've been looking around at other couples and asking myself, can marriages last forever?
Our messily 3 years is just a blip on the radar compared to Janice who has almost 30 years of marriage under her belt. Or my other friend in her 60's who watched her 30 year marriage dissolve after being the victim of her husbands affair (with her best friend). Can we make it 30 years? What will 30 years look like? How do some couples fall apart, and some stand the test of time?
The advice that I've received has been to continue to Evolve with one another. I'm going to change, Dustin is going to change, and our personalities are going to change as we grow old, mature, and experience life together. How do we evolve together? What makes marriage work? Why do people throw in the towel after 30 years? What makes couples fall out of love? What is it about your spouse after time, that makes them unattractive physically, or mentally where they just don't do it for you any longer? It's a hard topic.
All I know is that without Jesus, my marriage would fall apart. I'm not a good wife or mom when I neglect my God, or starve myself spiritually. I suck at marriage and parenting my son when I don't look to God for strength or wisdom to make good choices etc.
I was in the car recently and thinking about give and take. When I am constantly looking for ways to serve Dustin better (be it, back rubs, making his lunches, having hot food waiting for him when he comes home, or spending quality time together where our conversations aren't centered around how massive our kid's poops were that day or how he ate an astonishing 7oz. in one sitting)....you get what I'm saying? It makes our marriage smoother.
When each person isn't consumed in their own selfish needs, with the mentality of "What have you done for me lately?" But rather, wondering "What does my spouse need, how can I make his life easier?" Then consequently, both people are giving and receiving and aren't feeling neglected. (We still don't have this skill down, but are working on it and I love my husband for all that he does because this seems to come rather naturally for him and I look to his example as a husband to be a better wife.)
I have no idea how to be a "Good" wife or a "good" parent. All I can do is just do my best and lean on my creator.
One way I plan to be a "good" parent is to exemplify a strong, Christ based marriage for my son. I want him to grow up in a home where Jesus is praised through trials and not just in the joys. He has to understand that above all, Jesus must be loved more than he loves me, more than any toy that he sets his sights on, his hope for a future rests in the only one who can provide that.
Either way, I've come to terms with the fact that as parents, we all screw our kids up in some form or another. There is no "good" parent, or "good" child. We love darkness more than we love light. We love to be naughty and it's in our nature to do wrong rather than to do right. I'm glad that in all of the chaos, I hold onto the hope of a good & sovereign God who loves me no mater how royally I mess up.
More to come on "good" parenting- If it at all exists....
(If you have any tid- bits of advice on marriage, or ideas on what makes marriage work & how to stand the test of time, do share. It is always encouraging to hear what others do to keep it fresh. Your two cents matters.)