“Marriage was designed by God to honor Him. Our union, our loving one another, is a statement to the next generation of what love looks like and what two people who keep their promise to one another looks like . We have a generation of young people today who desperately need to look into the eyes of their mom and dad and see them loving one another, committed to one another, and honoring God in their relationship. And you do that one step at a time, one day at a time over a lifetime. That’s what covenant-keeping love looks like in a marriage relationship.” (Dennis Rainey from the July 28, 2005 radio program, Family Life Today)
This is the picture God wants every Christian couple to model for their children. And, while we all start out with the “best of intentions” to have our marriages reflect that picture of a God-centered relationship to our children, things can, and will “happen” that can distort or ruin that picture. This week author and Marriage Counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman, talks about a very common problem in marriage that all of us who are parents (especially of very young children) need to be aware of because if you follow his advice and counsel it could save your marriage.
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The Most Valuable Moments in Your Child’s Day
by Rod Robison
With the demands of daily life and parenthood comes the challenge of setting priorities. By zeroing in on the essentials and not being overly concerned with the non-essentials we not only avoid unnecessary conflict with our kids, we avoid needless stress in our lives as well. And, as a result, we make it easier for everyone in the family to concentrate their efforts on the issues that really count for eternity.
Sometimes the most important things we do are the simplest. One of the most effective times of day for parent-child relationships is bedtime. During “tuck in time” there are fewer distractions, especially if lights are out. And your time with them in those moments will be the last thing they experience before they drift off to sleep. Some child development specialists tell us that whatever a child is thinking about just before sleep will tend to stay with him subconsciously during the night.
Why not make those special moments a time of bonding with your child? And, better yet, why not make it a three-way bonding between you, your child, and God?
First, if there are any unresolved conflicts between you and you child they should be resolved before bedtime. God tells us in His word that we should not let the “sun go down on [our] anger.” Try to avoid resurrecting an old argument. Be loving in your attempt to bring whatever issue it is to a point of resolution. And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” (and mean it) if you are at fault.
Finally, take a few moments to pray for your child. Try to avoid using your prayer as an opportunity to “preach” to your child, but don’t hesitate to mention issues you and your child are working on to your Heavenly Father. He wants your relationship to be the best it can be, so bring Him in on the issue.
Pray specifically for your child rather than try to “pray around the world.” Here are a few ideas of what you can pray for:
Thank God for giving her to you.
Ask Him for guidance for you as you try to be an example to her.
Pray for her future husband that he will grow to be a godly man.
Pray that your relationship with each other will be loving and kind.
Pray that she will “hate the things that God hates and love the things that He loves.”
Pray that she will grow each day to be more and more like Jesus.
I personally believe that no child (even into the teen years) is too old for prayer before bedtime.
It’s easy to miss these very precious opportunities God gives us parents each night. But they slip away all too soon, never to return. So grasp those moments while they’re here. And, more than likely, when your child is an adult he or she will look back at bedtime with Mom and Dad with longing nostalgia.
Rod Robison is Vice President for Development of Family Life Communications Incorporated.