Why do I think that we have so many marriages that end within the first ten years?
We have no foundation. For so many of us, we either grew up with parents who didn’t get a divorce because that was just something you didn’t do, or you we had parents that were divorced. And let’s be honest, not many divorces end with the couple getting along. No peaceful resolution. No friendship developing to provide some stability for us children.
So what is our problem today? We are. We are raising a generation of quitters. I remember my mother making us try foods. No matter how disgusting it looked or smelled, we had to at least try it. Sometimes we liked it. Sometimes we didn’t. But, we tried it and could honestly say we didn’t like it. If we signed up for a sport, we had to finish the season. Didn’t matter if we had NO talent, afraid of the ball, just didn’t really like it, we finished. Every child is different and we don’t know where their talents lie unless we let them try new things, but the beginning of any new thing is the most difficult.
Now on to dating. I was 16 when I went on my first real date. Actually I was 16 before I had a “boyfriend”. Not that there were not boys that I liked, but I had other interests and the only time I had free time was in the summer. Was I looking at the long term? Heck no. Why not? I wasn’t taught that was what dating was for. It was for having fun. When I was no longer having fun, or it didnt go in the direction that the guy wanted it to, we broke up. Was I upset? No. There were no emotional connections. Until…when I was 17 and “fell in love” with a boy my age. We “dated” and a few months later, he bought me a ring. Were we too young? Yes. Did anyone seriously tell us that? No.
A few months into our “engagement” I got sick. We didn’t know what was wrong. I was on medication that made me tired and put on some pounds. Well, I was dual enrolled and did not see him every day. He went on a school trip and…..I lost my fiancé and a really good friend of mine. Would we have gotten married otherwise? Probably not. Neither one of us knew what that really looked like.
Most adults will know this saying: You can’t just have only had chocolate cake! What if you like strawberry cake better? You have to try them all to know what you like before you are stuck with one flavor for the rest of your lives.
Why is that?
If all I’ve ever had was chocolate cake, and I love chocolate cake, I don’t need to try coconut cake to see if I like it better. I have what I love and I am happy with that. There may be times when it gets over baked. Sometimes, you may accidentally forget an ingredient. Maybe there was a piece of egg shell in it that hurt when you took that bite. Maybe your spouse didn’t pick up the right kind of cocoa at the grocery store. It may be different on different days, but it’s your cake. Your recipe. You and your spouse wrote it!
How do we teach our children to wait for the right recipe? To wait for the oven to preheat. To take time to make sure all of the ingredients are there and properly measured, before they put it in the oven and you can’t add or take away from it once it’s there.
Enough about cake! I’m getting hungry.
I am trying diligently to teach my children that dating is not something to take lightly. My sons and my daughter get the same speech from me. There is no point in dating until you are ready to make a commitment to that person for the rest of your life. You can be friends. That is so important. Know each other on a friendship level and if things blossom from there, it can only make a marriage stronger. Do I think they need to wait until they graduate from college to get married? No, but my sons need to have a job/career that can and will support their entire family. My boys love that I am at home with them. They both want a wife that will be proud of her role as a wife, mother, and partner. Am I teaching my daughter that she cannot go to college to become a doctor? No, on the contrary, if God has called her to be a healer, she should pursue that. But she also understands that she has a role as a wife and mother. When the time comes and she finds the husband that is meant for her, she can put aside her career and cherish her new roles. She can put her talents to use in serving her family and community.
Now, husbands/fathers may be saying that’s fine for my daughter, but for my son…Well, that girl your son is dating, she is someone else’s daughter. Don’t teach your sons anything that you would not want the boy that dates your daughter to think/know.
There would be far fewer books/classes/seminars and studies on how to repair marriages, if we as parents took the time to teach our children the importance of it to begin with. For if we fail them, they will build their marriage on the foundation of man: sand, loose and easily worn away. If we teach them the importance of marriage and the relationship they have with their spouse and their Heavenly Father, they will build their marriage on stone. It may face storms. It may have things attacking it from the inside. However, if the foundation is strong, it is easier to make repairs. Loose foundations can be rebuilt, but they will never have the stability and security of the other home.
Our marriage was not build on stone. It was more like Georgia clay. Hard in good weather and slick when it rains. We are working on our concrete footers, making stone with the help of God.