From the beginning of time God established families. He created Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and said to them in Genesis 1:28a, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”God speaks throughout the Bible of the importance of families.
No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, you have a mama and a papa. It’s God’s big design for introducing people onto the planet. Parents are a vital part of who we are. For some they had the privilege of growing up with their biological parents while others didn’t. From traditional biological families to blended families of all kinds, our parents play a huge role in how we learn to be married. Our most impactful experience about how to be a wife or a husband comes from our parents. If our parents are loving and have a great relationship we will more than likely walk down a similar path. If, however, our parents struggled to be married well, we might find it difficult to have peace and happiness in our marriage. Maybe, if we came from a family of great dysfunction, we will choose to make sure our marriage doesn’t look anything like the one we grew up with. Many of our decisions in our marriage are influenced by what we lived out as children.
Parents can take on many roles in our marriages. Some may be our supporters. They participate in your marriage by encouraging you to be the best wife or husband you can be. We have 3 children. Each are unique and special. They all have very different personalities and perspectives of life. They all come to marriage from a very different angle. One thing they have in common is that they have all been encouraged and have sought out marriage counseling to ensure that they have the best possible marriage. Because of what Steven and I do, we are very supportive of these efforts. We take seriously our role as supporters of their choices to ensure their marriage is healthy and functioning well. Another way we support our children in their marriage is by encouraging them to keep God as the foundation for their marriage. We support them in many other ways. Our children are fortunate in that their in-laws also are supporters of their marriages. Maybe your parents down play this role in your life. Ask God to send other people to come along side of you and provide you with the support you need.
Maybe your parents play the role of interferers in your marriage. We have all heard the story of the overbearing in-law who just can’t help themselves and must be in the middle of every decision the couples makes. Well intentioned, maybe, but problematic none the less. How do you handle these kinds of parents? First, having an open discussion with your spouse about their parent is vital. This can be tricky because, as a general rule, we all have a tendency to need to defend our parents. It is crucial that we approach this conversation in love. Then, working together, set up healthy boundaries for the parents. With each of you sharing unity in implementing these boundaries you will be able to manage the interfering parent well.
Finally, maybe your parents play the role of the “out-of-towners.” Absentee parents often make couples feel unsupported. There are many reasons why parents operate in this role. Maybe they truly just live so far away it is logistically impossible for them to be a consistent part of the everyday life of the couple. Perhaps, they feel that allowing the couples to be completely on their own is the best choice. Either way, this can make a couple wish they had parents who were more involved. Again, inviting God into this situation is best. By asking God to help you identify couples who are available and willing to invest in your marriage on a parental level can help fill this void. There are many mentors out there that are willing to give themselves to help couples feel loved and supported in their marriages. You just need to be intentional about finding them.
Looking at your marriage and how your parents have impacted it and then having a discussion about it with your spouse can be very beneficial to the overall health of your marriage. Hopefully, your parents play a beneficial and important role in your marriage. If this is not the case, I would like to remind you of a wonderful promise we have from the Lord. Psalms 68:6a says, “God sets the solitary in families;” God’s plan has always been, and will always be, that we are part of a family. If you have a great Mama and Papa then celebrate that. If you don’t, ask the Lord and watch Him lead you to them. The Mama’s and the Papa’s. We all need them.