A Letter to My Children About Marriage

by Kelly on February 2, 2012 in Legacy, Training Ground for Mature Adult Character

Dear Children,

Should the Lord give you the good gift of a husband or wife, and I hope He does, there are a few things I want you to know. Things that you may not hear from anyone else, and certainly not on TV or other media. Sadly, your church may not even tell you.

Marriage, sweet little people, is not for the purpose of your happiness. Happy as I want you to be and hope you will be, you must yet understand that marriage is God’s design and His purposes must be pursued in order for you to be truly happy. His end is holiness and He will use all things in a life devoted to Him to fulfill that end.

To my girls:

Marry a man whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, he is not hard to please. Admire him, cheer him on and show gratitude, and he will fall over himself trying to please you. Smile often, speak well of him always, and do whatever necessary to try and maintain a pleasant mood about you so that it transfers to your home, making it a place where he and your children love to be.

You’ll have bad days of course, crying days even, and that’s when you go to your bedroom, kneel on the floor and beg the Lord to carry you. Then get up, get a fresh perspective (crayons will come off the wall), and try again. Above all else, make a home.

To my boys:

Marry a woman whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, she may be hard to please 😉 only if you don’t know “the secret”. What is that? I’m glad you asked. The secret to pleasing your wife is to make her feel safe and treasured. You may have to move out of your comfort zone to do this at times. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that. But let me give you a “secret question”–a question you need to ask her often. It’s not just in the asking, though. Be sure to focus your eyes on hers, maybe even touch her shoulder or face, and then ask: “What’s on your mind these days? “ And then be ready to listen. She wants you to draw her out. She will perceive this as your protection over the matters of her heart. Tenderness, listening, protection. That’s what she wants.

To you all:

If your wife or husband does something really stupid, forgive. If they do it again, forgive again. Forgiveness must be the propelling force in your lives each day. Dwell on the strengths, push out thoughts of their weaknesses. Take every thought captive–choose to love.

Here’s that part you are not going to hear often:

If you find yourself “not happy”, having lost attraction, disinterested, etc., you are not permitted to even think about a divorce. If you find yourselves arguing more and more, don’t think for a minute that “the children will be better off out of this”, because they won’t.

The vows you took on your wedding day were not suggestions. They were covenant vows, before a Holy God, family and friends, to stay with this person the rest of your life, even if you don’t feel like it. You swore a solemn oath and if you can’t live up to it, don’t get married. Decide up front that your marriage is irrevocable. There is far more motivation for getting along if your “marriage house” has no door.

Do not share intimate thoughts or feelings with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not find yourself alone for any length of time with such either.

Divorce is not a “private option”. It will affect multiple families for many generations. When you “separate what God has joined” you permanently injure far more than just yourself.

Guard your marriage as fiercely as you would guard your own life. Treat your spouse as an extension of your flesh, just as God sees you. Treat your spouse like other family members. You know, “you gotta love ’em, they’re the only family you’ve got”.

I want you to be happy, I surely do. But I will pray for you to be holy.

Kelly

Kelly is the blessed wife to Aaron and mom to nine children (and one showing up soon). She and her husband enjoy a bustling life, home-educating and operating several family businesses. Between diapers, searching for bull frogs in the house (a science experiment gone bad) and homemaking for the glory of God, she shares her thoughts at Generation Cedar.

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{ 18 comments }

Safia April 20, 2012

Everyone has something to say about divorce. But What about being in love with a man whose first pursuit is not Christ. There is division in a relationship from this. But it feels so unfair to say that a woman cannot love a man who isn’t living and dying for Christ everyday. Being young and gullible, with her head in the clouds, she can miss out on some wisdom. She prays that he finds Christ, but she doesn’t want to demand it of him in order to have her love. Believing in God is not enough when he doesn’t know nothing of Him. What advice can someone give to her? Because she won’t hear it from family and friends. And love is too strong to decide to just fall out of it.

Jolie Williams April 20, 2012

I have seen this on my facebook, and have completely mixed feelings about this. We would all love to live in a world where divorce doesn’t exist, and we pray that our kids will never have to endure the pain and agony of their own divorce. Being divorced myself and working with people who have gone through or are currently going through the divorce process I feel I have to defend our decision.

Divorce is not an easy decision, as this message states that 1 divorce affects the lives of many. We have taken into consideration what this will do to our relationships with our children, family, and friends (yes it affects our neighbors, our colleagues, our church, and the whole community). I have to argue as humans we have to satisfy our own needs before we can consider the needs of others (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).

This message also speaks of forgiveness. As humans we all make mistakes, and we all deserve forgiveness. I am sorry I can’t forgive someone who has cheated, physically abused, or mentally abused myself or someone else. It is not place to forgive someone for these actions, only that person’s God is able to forgive them. I am not going to stay in a marriage, nor can I allow anyone much less my own child to stay in that type of environment. I feel this message condones abuse and neglect (2 main factors I see why people are divorcing), and encourages people to stay in marriages where they are abused and/or neglected.

Before you engrain this article in your heart I want you to think of how you would feel if your daughter/son was abused or neglected by his/her spouse? What if this spouse was abusing or neglecting your grandchildren? Could your child forgive this person? Could you allow your child to stay in such a relationship?

Mary April 20, 2012

I love and appreciate the letter to the kids. My husband and I would both agree with the writer of this note. Both of us grew up in Christian homes, neither of them were perfect and there was abuse in his as well. (God worketh ALL things to Good, to those that Love Him and are called according to his purpose) His heart was full of hurt, and he has learned how to Forgive, but also, he has learned what REAL love is through Christ, and is a better man today because of his experience as a child. (This came after 18 years of marriage)

We (I) had a strong desire to raise my children in a Christian home, and we did what we “thought was” right. Now, that I am older (41) and my children are grown, (2 girls, 23 and 18) I look back and see what a bitter mess we lived in. This Christian mama was so full of bitterness, unforgiveness, and confusion for many years of my children’s childhood. WHile I thought I was being a great mom, I didn’t realize the toll that MY ATTITUDE in the home would take on my family. (Now keep in mind that I had reason to be this way as my husband was constantly lying about things, not affairs or major “Divorce” issues. He would lie over anything that would or could cause an argument. He was “Taught” to lie, to avoid the punishment as a child, therefor bringing it into our marriage.)

I look back now and see that I could have made a much happier home for my children, husband, and myself. I loved the Lord, but I did not Cast ALL of my cares on Him. I kept picking them back up, not realizing that no matter what, “I Was Not”!!!!! responsible for my husbands dicisions, and everytime I would “cover” for him, because I was to ashamed for anyone to know the truth, I would block the Lord from working in his life. I was a stumbling block in a way for him. I took on so much of the responsibility in our home (because he wouldn’t) that only “I” saw the miracles that the Lord would do, but also, only “I” was living a miserable life too. I was not being a shining light in the darkness, I was sinning too…

As we went through the last 4 years, also the hardest 4 years of marriage, I have thought about divorce many times. You know,..(being sarcastic here)…the ONLY reason in the world for divorce is if the spouse has an affair, AND refuses to stop. Get that whole sentence, not only can they have an affair, and you are expected to stay, but as taught from the pulpit in many many churches, his/her continuing the affair(s) and not stopping or being repentant would be the only reason to divorce. I do not believe, that this is true (although I used too, because it is what I was taught.) There are situations where it is better to get yourself and your children out of harms way. I do not believe that the Lord intended for any of us to be in a “truly” abusive relationship rather it be physical or emotional. I don’t believe we set a good example for our children when we “allow” them to live in fear, hear fighting, cussing, etc. Or if we stand by and “allow” them to be abused by a parent OR step parent! As Christians, we should TRUST the Lord with our next meal, where we will lay our head at night, and so on. A mother should never have to live in abuse or allow her children to. There is help available to those who seek it. Jesus Christ will make sure that you find it, if you let Him.

Here is what I KNOW now, after studying the word myself. God himself has a “Perfect Will” and a “Permissive Will” and we are in one of the two. Perfect Will-First, when we marry, we are to be of “One Accord” meaning, both like minded. Believers should not mary non-believers. If we would adhere to this first commandment on marriage, as the writer is saying to her children, we would never have many of the problems that we do. However, in this sinful world, very few enter marriage in His Perfect Will. Second, the Lord tells us to be Pure and Holy, to save ourselves sexually for our mate. Do we need the statistics on that one? Then, we are to honor each other, he is supposed to protecs and take care of me and I am supposed to sing his praises 🙂 Yes, I am being sarcastic again 🙂 and lastly, we are supposed to “Raise our children in the Lord!”…..in one accord, agreeing and discussing matters about the children, both parties involved, not one parent doing it all.

Well, how many of those did you get right? Me? None of them!

Permissive Will- we are a free moral agent, the Lord allows us to make our own decisions in life and we can either choose Him or choose the things of this world and this is where our problems come in to play…I was a Christian, and I loved the Lord, But, I didn’t give him my whole life, and neither did my husband. We “Chose” to have sex before marriage, we chose to not make the Lord our all, to allow Him to fulfill our lives the way we should. We failed Him miserably and we had to suffer the consiquences. We got what we deserves but Praise God, for He is Merciful and Forgiving!

The Bible tells us to pray for our spouse, and trust Him with the results. If we are obedient to Him, he will change things for us. Are you being obedient to Him? Are you screaming the word Divorce every time you don’t like something your spouse does? Are you in Fellowship with the Lord and do you have a good, strong church home where you can be mistered to and mentored in raising your children? It’s important! Get to that place in your life NOW if you are not!

These situations that many of you have written below about, those things don’t happen in a True Christian home, they only happen when WE “Allow” Sin in our lives, and Sin will affect everyone in the home! Your children should see happy parents, (even if you have to fake it some days, we are all human and all will fall short of the Glory of God, You and Your Spouse!) Allow each other to be human, pray for one another, lift each other up. Don’t argue in front of the kids, and certainly don’t go for long periods of time without speaking to one another. This IS NOT of the Lord! God’s word tells us not to let the sun go down without making ammends with one another.

Start now, and change your life. If you are a child living in a bad situation, cast your cares on the Lord because HE CARES FOR YOU! And, He will hear your cry, and do wondrous things in the lives of those you love.

B.Holm April 20, 2012

I think there is one fine point being overlooked and it is in choosing your wife or husband. It seems to me that a very big issue is making the right choice in the first place and with these thoughts as your guide. If you look at marriage (before you do it) as an everlasting covenant that truly means until death many people will think long and hard about that committment and choose a person they can walk through life with, instead of the current popular notion – “try it and divorce if you dont like it”. Correct me if I am wrong but this advice is geared towards children Before marriage?

David April 20, 2012

I don’t really understand the fighting. We don’t always agree and she forgives my “ADHD” as I forgive her occasional moodiness on a somewhat regular basis. The best advice is old advice: Don’t go to bed angry or holding a grudge. I have done it a couple of times and I was worse off for it. Who does resentment or anger really hurt? Look in the mirror and you will see. Thanks for your letter!

Nichole April 20, 2012

Respectfully, I must disagree with you about divorce. As a child who came from divorced parents I can say with 100% certainty that I am so much better off now than I would have been if my parents had stayed together. Yes…it hurt a little growing up, but through that hurt *I* was the one who brought the family to Christ and Christianity. *I* was the one who sought out Jesus to mend my hurt, and he did. I am not saying children will not hurt. They will be confused for sure. But isn’t the main teaching of Christianity to seek out God during times of sadness and to give our troubles to him to take care of? To lean on him for strength to pull you through anything? Isn’t it foolish to think we as human beings can mend our own pains better than God can?

Saying “Oh we have to stay together FOR THE CHILDREN…” is not fair to the children you are trying to “protect.” That is simply using them as a scapegoat to stick with something that just isn’t working. Is divorce far too rampant and easy to achieve? ABSOLUTELY! Without a doubt! And this fact does sadden me, but I don’t think divorce is a non-option in ALL cases. There are cases, like mine, where the outcome is far greater and more positive than it would have been with the alternative.

Hannah April 21, 2012

I agree with the main gist of your article…Marry godly partners. I totally agree! However, I do think the way you approached the girl/guy role to be a little bit gender segregated. Why is it the woman’s responsibility to make sure the home is happy? A man should have equal responsibility for this. In addressing girls, you are implying that all women should be homemakers and nurturers. However, there are many women who do not have this goal in life, and that is their choice and perfectly fine! In addressing men, you state that they should focus on how a woman has been feeling, and thinking about emotions rather than tangible acts of love. But everyone takes these things in different ways. Not all women would like to talk about how they are feeling, but many men do. I don’t think that your advice necessarily applies to men and women who do not fit in the stereotypical Christian gender norms, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with not fitting in these. Women need respect and support just as much as men do, and men need love and emotional nurturance just as much as women do.

To my boys:

Marry a woman whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, she may be hard to please only if you don’t know “the secret”. What is that? I’m glad you asked. The secret to pleasing your wife is to make her feel safe and treasured. You may have to move out of your comfort zone to do this at times. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that. But let me give you a “secret question”–a question you need to ask her often. It’s not just in the asking, though. Be sure to focus your eyes on hers, maybe even touch her shoulder or face, and then ask: “What’s on your mind these days? “ And then be ready to listen. She wants you to draw her out. She will perceive this as your protection over the matters of her heart. Tenderness, listening, protection. That’s what she wants.

paul April 21, 2012

2 Christians, with God’s help, raising children in the respect of and love for God, is the absolute ideal all should strive for. So many problems in today’s world would not exist if people followed HIS plan.

karen S April 21, 2012

I belive that we need to remember that this is a letter to our children, not a commentary on how we or our parents have lived. It is a wish and a prayer that, maybe, if they follow God’s plan and pray A LOT, they can miss some of the pitfalls we encounter in marriage. Maybe even break generational sin! Don’t take it personally or make excuses. Let’s look at what unites us: Our relationship with Jesus Christ, and our desire to be more like Him! Praise Him and pray without ceasing!

Sally W. April 22, 2012

“Come on people, where’s your faith?”
Unless you’ve walked in the shoes of someone who has struggled with decisions for a Family, unless you’ve been inside the struggle, the pain, the fear a woman faces knowing that God can heal, raise people from the dead, nothing is to small or large for our Father, but has come to the point of hanging on to that last shred of faith — Those words are hurtful, painful, judgmental and discouraging. There is a point where one stands face to face, alone with the Lord and cries out in pain and discouragement. That intimate relationship knows no bounds and none of the words above in these comments can come close to HIS healing, HIS guidance, HIS comfort as a person learns to take one step at a time, make one decision at a time, face one day at a time.
Unless you’ve been there — please, don’t simplify it to “Come on people, where’s your faith.”

These Letter[s]to [Our] Children about Marriage” are packed with sincerity and prayer. The key words are, “Marry a man/woman whose first pursuit is Christ.” The covenant of marriage is much different between Christians, than it is non-believers. I still pray the message of these letters for my children, who are now praying this message over their own children, my Grandchildren. The message in this post is powerful and valuable, in a day of selfish pleasure and instant gratification.

Megan April 23, 2012

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
If both people entering the marriage are doing this (because their “first pursuit is Christ”) then what she is saying is true for each person to follow. When the first pursuit is NOT Christ, then you get the problems that folks are mentioning here: abuse, verbal or physical, occurs, unforgiveness, bad communication, ect….Sadly it is the human condition unmitigated that causes this suffering. First, they must seek God.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Mt. 6:33

Suzanne April 23, 2012

It takes both people to be the christian, and when one refuses to be, and literally walks out of the marriage and family, then I don’t think the other good one should be punished in God’s eyes. A friend of mine’s husband did this to her and the kids. She still goes to church and takes the kids with her and the oldest is in a christian school, but the husband just literally checked out and wants nothing to do with her and verbally abused her for seven years, and it came out he was spanking the oldest violently and when she wasn’t around did some terrible things to the house if the babies started to cry. In that case, I truly feel she should not have to suffer as a human being. She was willing to take it, but then one day he just left and is being a total jerk to everyone. We just pray he changes, but she and the kids should not be subjected the horrible ways of the devil himself. Oh, and as for me, being the adult kid of parents of a horribly crappy marriage who stuck it out for kids, they were NOT role models and I ended up marrying (by example) an almost equally horrible man, and am in the process of healing from depression and self-medication to help the hurt. So step back and walk a mile in someone’s shoes before getting all preachy. I believe in God, but NOT organized religion, which is run by fallible human beings. God bless those who have found the perfect christian spouse, but don’t judge those who did not, and not by my choice. He was christian and followed the Bible in the beginning, and then started to back away when life got tough.

Joy April 24, 2012

1 Corinthians 7 vs 15.i have seen a spouse that was once a believer(a man),backslide and then eliminates his Christian wife who wouldn’t give him a divorce.all he wanted was to be free from her. I don’t believe you should hold on to someone who desperately wants to be free from you.i believe the above scriptures says let the departing partner go if they want to.so many women in my country Nigeria have died from holding on,our culture don’t permit divorce either.And at the end its the kids that end up suffering from it all.

Emily April 24, 2012

It would seem to me that more oftet than not a parent that yells and argues with their spouse will do so no matter who they are married to. So, when it comes to the kids they are probably going to be subjected to it with a step parent in the house as well. My husband and I do our best to let God be the center of our marriage, but even if you have different opinions about your marriage as it is now, wouldn’t you desire for your children to set themselves up and their marriages up just the way this article mentioned? It’s setting them up for success:)

Sister Vickie April 26, 2012

You must first read the paragraphs prior to the “not get a divorce” part. It says to find a spouse that puts Christ first. I’m certain the abusers in the previous comments do/did not put Christ first, therefore, the marriage was headed for roughy terrain from the start.

Judy Dudich April 26, 2012

Wonderful post. Will share on my FB page.
I would add a P.S. were I writing this to my children and that would say that “marriage was/is ordained by God to be between one man and one woman”.
Sadly, I looked up the word “marriage” in several online dictionaries to find that the definition has been changed/amended to include false information concerning same-sex unions. HOW TRAGIC. Now, parents must “screen” the dictionaries they use to make sure their children are getting TRUTH.
Thanks for this post. It is a blessing.

Bornprison April 26, 2012

True!

Laura April 26, 2012

Because many of you below have very valid and (unfortunately) true comments with regard to your childhoods, I feel it important to add to the above that-I am not one who would ever advocate for anyone to stay in an abusive relationship-verbally or physically. However, I think those issues in marriage are only possible as a result of someone ignoring the all important command in terms of selecting your partner for life–marry someone who loves Christ first and foremost. You can’t expect the principles for a Godly marriage to work if God is not in your marriage-I’d be willing to be that every single one of you who’s childhood was awful as a result of your parents staying together would say that either one or both of them truly did not love Jesus first during that time. Light cannot reside with darkness. Marrying someone equally yolked is the foundation for your marriage. You would not build a home on quicksand and expect it to remain structurally sound just bc you, say, pay your mortgage. Well, same holds true for marriage. You can’t exclude God in your marriage and expect it to remain solid, holy, and pure simply because you pay your dues and stick through the tough times. Sorry, just the way I feel.

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