Thursday, July 9

Family Matters:

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) 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.)


  1. something i learned in church when we were first married has always stuck with me.

    it's the concept of a triangle where God is at the top, and you are at one of the bottom corners and your spouse at the other.

    as you and your spouse draw closer to God from your respective positions at the bottom of the triangle (both individually and as a couple) your points on the triangle come closer to each other the closer they come to God at the top.

    i don't know if that makes sense the way i've written it out, but if you draw it you will see what i mean.

    two years ago matthew and i read the whole book of mormon together (i am not implying you should read the book of mormon, just scripture in general) we found that our natural conversation in the car and over dinner, etc. began to revolve around God and Christ and their teachings. i always had lots of questions that he would answer for me, which would lead to really inspiring discussion.

    that time sticks out in my mind as a time when we were very close as a couple, and i want to always be in that position.

    thanks for your inspiration. this comment is probably more for myself than anyone else. it was nice to reflect on my feelings and the teachings that have made a lasting impact on my marriage.

  2. Thanks Christina. Great imput. I love to hear your ideas and passion for marriage. It's refreshing. Had it not been for Jesus on the cross taking our place, and redeeming us back to himself, we would never have gotten to see what "good" marriage is....or rather, the right picture of what marriage is to look like.

    like you said....

    God at the top, and the husband and wife seeking Him together with one purpose. The husband loving his wife, as Jesus loved the church. The husband laying down his desires, and (life) for his bride, like Jesus laid down his life for us, his bride.

    Usually, If we're having issues in our relationship, it's because my intimacy with Christ has been compromised in some form- be it, sin that I haven't dealt with, or the pride in my heart telling me I can handle my life on my own and blowing God off (like I know how to run my life better.)

    It really refreshes my marriage to pray together in the quiet of our home, and really meditate on exactly how powerful the work of Christ on the cross is. Theres beauty coming humbly to the thrown and confessing sin, getting recharged, seeking Jesus and knowing that it is by grace alone, and by no works of my own strength that earn me my place with God.

    and of course chains and leather help to keep the marriage alive! Hot wax...lap cat woman suit! That sort of stuff.....But I'm sure these things are old news to you right???

    Really good stuff Christina. So good to hear your perspective.

  3. I love this!!! So true about looking for ways to bless your spouse... not that I know from experience or anything I just think that would be good ;) but then your response to Christina about lap dances and hot wax sent me rolling with laughter. i love you!!

  4. My love, amanda....I was wondering if anyone would pick up on the hot wax and I knew that person woudl be you!

    Yes, marriage is splendid indeed. I feel lucky that my day is not complete until I get to horse around with my husband and make him laugh at night, talk about our days and enjoy getting to know him better.

    (I can't wait to live vicariously through you when you're planning your wedding....i'll be sending you emails of hair styles and be just as excited i'm sure! If I could, I'd get married over again to Dustin every year just so I could wear a different dress and plan my wedding! It's so fun!) And I can't wait to see the man God matches you with!