Cutting the Apron Strings (part 2)

This is a continuation of the Cutting the Apron Strings (part one).   In this article,  I will start with the parents.  Do you want to be a great inlaw?  You are in some good and bad company.  In the history of the Bible, there are some great and not so great inlaws.   How about Saul?  How would you rate him as a father in law?  I feel bad for his daughter, Michel.    She is given to David in marriage in hopes that David will be killed while trying to meet her dowry.   When this doesn’t happen, he constantly puts his daughter in the position of “you either side with Daddy or you side with your husband”.    I am sure in the beginning of my marriage, my own dad may have been that way.   Even though he always told me that his job was to raise me to give me away, he still  lost his little girl.    Let’s look at some good inlaws now.  How about Naomi?   When Ruth’s husband died, she was ready to give up her relationship with her daughter in law.  She must have been a darn good one if Ruth wanted to stay with her!   Or how about Jethro?  What kind of father in law was he to Moses?

Parents, if you want to be able to have a good relationship with your child who is marrying and his/her spouse, you’ve got to let them leave.   It is something that I haven’t experienced from the parent angle yet, but as the child who’s parent is hanging on, it doesn’t make things easy at all.   Parents, you’ve got to cut the counseling strings.   If your daughter or son comes to you, spilling their guts out to you, don’t say a word.   Dr. Young suggests these things… back up…shut up… pray a lot… listen and encourage.   Don’t take sides.    In this way, you can be a parent to both your child AND your DIL/SIN (son in law…not sin!  LOL)   Cut the economic strings…you can give economic help, but leave no strings attached to it.   “Since I paid for your marriage, I expect you to take care of me in my old age”or “since I helped pay for all this baby stuff, I need to be the first grandparent called to babysit”…um, no.   You can make an arrangement that it be paid back, but do not put stipulations on it.   Let your kids leave you.  Let them spread their wings and fly.  I know you’ve BTDT, but you’ve got to let them learn how to do it on their own.   It will build a very strong marriage for your children.  It will help them learn to let their own children leave someday when it comes time for them.

Alright, if you are on the “child” side of the coin, here’s my advice for you.  To have a successful marriage, you need to also leave the following things…

1. leave your parents:  Sometimes we need to create boundaries with our parents. Sounds bad, doesn’t it? We need to let them know that we love them, and we are grateful for the love, support and training that they have given us, but once we marry, we have created a new family that needs to be able to spread its wings and fly. This does not dishonor your parents by any means…it can actually honor them by not placing them in the situation where they have to take sides.   And depending on the parent, they might take yours or they might take your SPOUSES!  This can be hard on a young couple in their 20’s, but it can be just as hard for those marrying later in life as well. It is wonderful when you can be bailed out by your family, but the longer you take to learn to bail yourself out, the harder it is on your marriage.

2. leave people/former relationships: your mate is #1.   You can’t keep your weekly pool matches with your drinking buddies.  My own shopping sprees with my mom and sister…I really needed to leave them behind.  Anything that takes a lot of your time, it takes away from your spouse.   Now I’m not saying that a once a month GNO is bad, sometimes we need it, but it needs to be that…once a month.   We should be dating our spouse more than our friends.   Leave your past relationships behind.   There is no reason to compare your spouse to someone from the past…or someone you wish you had married instead…your grass can be just as green as what’s on the other side of the fence if you properly water and care for it.   Leave those emotional attachments in the past.

3. leave problems behind:  when you carry baggage around with you, it affects communication, sex life, etc.   1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” If there is something to confess about, confess it to God, confess to your spouse, and don’t forget to forgive yourself!

4. leave places, too:   don’t compare to past places.  The good old days are in the past.  You are in the present.  There are good times to come, too with your spouse.

I hope that I have learned enough about God’s plan for marriage that when my two children get married someday, that I can help them leave our home and create their own bond with their spouses without any interference from me. Our job is to raise God fearing children and prepare them to fly out of our nest to build their own.

I would like for you to share your experiences below and any advice you may have for our readers who are engaged or newly married…lessons you have learned from your own experience. But remember this from the Gospel of Matthew “ “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matt 19:4-6) Do not let anything separate you from (1) God and (2) your spouse….including attachments to your “old home”.

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