My blog post last week came just before hearing of yet another case of "helicopter parents". If you are not familiar with the term, the illustration identifies a parent who hovers over their child. This is understandable in a sense, because the real world is cold and cruel. When your children become adults, you should really consider landing the helicopter. Hovering over your children has some value when they are younger but at age 25 it creates more trouble for your adult child that you may realize.
Helicopter parenting of ADULT children has to stop. I had no idea this problem of parents trying to control their adult children is so rampant, but I am finding this again and again in the couples I am meeting with each week. Marriage is a challenging endeavor, designed by God. God uses marriage for His purpose in each person's individual life.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
I want to offer my belief that marriage issues, for the Christian couple, are a testing of the faith to produce steadfastness. When parents get involved and meddle in the marriages of their children it is possible for a spouse to put his, or her, faith in mama or daddy and not in Jesus.
I said last week that when it gets violent, or potentially dangerous then the situation is much different, but for the everyday situation, stay out of your child's marriage.
When we work with a couple we teach them the biblical principle of: "honor your father and mother" and the biblical principle of: "leave and cleave." Our parents are to be respected but when its time to get married you are an adult that must go forth putting Christ first and each other second.
In short, I see couples regularly who wouldn't have major marriage problems if their parents would just give them a chance to work through their own issues. I hear of parents doing some unbelievable things that I really cannot mention here. This is also a reminder that children should be taught about biblical marriage and have that modeled for them at home during their whole childhood. Many parents are trying to cram in post facto what should have been taught years ago. As the body of Christ we really must get better at the older teaching the younger in a God honoring way.
Land the helicopter, work on your own marriage. Chances are if you are a helicopter parent to adult children, you are merely trying to fix in your child's marriage, what has never been corrected in your own marriage. Ouch...sometimes reality checks require a pinch. With that said, I am here to help, or point you to help. firstname.lastname@example.org
Just reminding you to...
My week thus far burdens my heart to give an exhortation, to give a word of caution to everyone and especially to young married couples. Counseling couples has been a part of my ministry since the beginning and I continue to see the same patterns, the same mistakes mad over and again by different people.
The difference in my counseling now compared to when I first began is simply my own spiritual growth and God given wisdom from 26 years of marriage. Let me pause right here and express that God gave me an extraordinary woman who is the perfect fit for me. Now let me be honest, there are times when we both doubted that we were the perfect fit for each other.
If it were not for the grace of God and the power of God in His mercy and forgiveness we would not have made it this far. I would not trade anything, not anything, for what God allowed me to experience these last 26 years. I want to enumerate some thoughts maybe you use, maybe you share, maybe you just pray for others as you read where my heart is today as I am working with several young married couples who have bought into lies and deception from the enemy.
To Christian Couples:
1. God's word is TRUTH!
2. I don't really care how you feel when you don't first care about the feelings of your spouse and your children.
3. There is never a justification for adultery...never. Wrong is always wrong even when it "feels right".
4. Emotional affairs, cyber sex, phone sex all falls under item item #3 above.
5. Men: your wife does not reach the full prime of her physical beauty until around age 35. ( stick around)
6. Men: if she is not more beautiful to you today, than ever, you have a spiritual problem and a marriage problem.
7. Ladies: Men do not KNOW how to be a husband. Not an excuse for men, but helping you understand why he frustrates you.
8. If you find yourself mumbling about not being sure how and why y'all got together, you are on the verge of entering into a dark place where your marriage will soon die.
9. Stop being selfish!
10. I don't care how passionate you are about your hobbies. Your first passion should be Christ, your second passion is your spouse and you really should be last. God exalts the humble, even in marriage.
11. Your marriage is not about your spouse, or you, it's about GOD.
12. This is a bigger deal than just getting a divorce because you want to "cut your losses."
13. PARENTS of young married couples: "Land the helicopter"; stop hovering over them, give them some space, let them work through their problems. STAY OUT of it unless there is violence or some type of real abuse. (Even then be very wise.)
14. Brats and whinny babies sleep on the couch, you learned that from television not from the Bible. STOP IT!
15. God can and will save your marriage, fix both of you, if by faith you will seek biblical direction for your lives and marriage.
16. Two ways not to deceive yourself: (a) don't think you can attend church every week and everything will be ok. (b) Don't think you can skip church every week and your life will somehow continue to function normally. (See item #1)
17. You must learn how to apply the word of God to the way you live and see change in your life because your default setting is not sufficient to be the man or woman God called you to be.
18. This life matters, its the only one you get and you are are steward of this life to the glory of God. Stop wasting your life.
19. Seeking Christ first and putting yourself last to be the best spouse you can be is SOOOO worth it, I PROMISE!
20. Don't do this to your children. Despite what you have heard, THEY WILL BE AFFECTED!
I have much more but it is best I go for now. Questions...? let me know. email@example.com
One more thing...
Andy Goode is a Biblical Counselor and Pastor in Hattiesburg, MS. This blog is about strengthening marriages and providing biblical direction for everyday issues and sometimes just about leadership in general.