The preacher asked, “Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to hold until death do you part?” The young man said, “I do!” with all the commitment that vow required of him. A commitment he would regularly hold himself accountable to as the years passed.
Children that grow up in a home where such a commitment of love is lived out every day assume every home is like theirs. Then they start interacting with other kids at school. One evening, a young son asked his dad, “Are you and mommy going to get a divorce? Tommy’s parents are divorced and he says it is pretty neat when he gets to spend a weekend with his dad. They go four-wheeling!” The dad and mom realized their little boy was moving into that time of life, around age ten, when influences outside the home try to shake the foundation of faith and family values instilled. It is time to transition from the ‘Teacher’ season of fathering to the ‘Coach’ season.
“You know the commandments: You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow Me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. – Luke 18:20-23. This was tough teaching to move the rich man from ‘doing’ relationship by checking off the commandments to ‘being’ in relationship with the Father through the Son by letting go of stuff. Similarly, early in marriage the feelings of love and energy in the new chapter of life together can carry couples into the child-rearing years. Then the marriage relationship must mature as young eyes watch what is happening. Will they see two individuals focused on careers and other interests outside the home while ‘doing’ marriage and family? Or will they see a couple letting go of some of the individual stuff to prioritize ‘being’ in a marriage relationship that glorifies the Father in family through Jesus the Christ?
The dad took the time to engage his son in a conversation. “I bet it was exciting to hear Tommy talk about four-wheeling with his dad. But do you realize that divorce means his dad is not in the home every evening for dinner? Can you imagine eating dinner without Mom and I both here?” “No!”, the boy responded. Dad went on to say, “The love your mom and I have for each other is grounded in the love Jesus the Christ has for us. And it is in His love that we accept responsibility to make life choices that reflect our relationship with Him in marriage and in your life. I am sure Tommy’s parents have faced some hard times and we are not to judge their decision or think any differently about Tommy. But our home will always prioritize ‘being’ in a marriage relationship that glorifies the Father in family through Jesus the Christ.”
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your Word and Your commands. I confess that I got in the mode of checking off what I was able to do and felt pretty good about myself. How foolish! Forgive me. Through Your love for me, I am learning that prideful commitment must give way to humble obedience in relationship with You. Help me mature in my ability to love as You love in marriage and family and grant me the clarity needed to ‘Coach’ my kids through the world’s perspective on what love is. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father coaches through love exemplified daily in marriage.