Sunday, September 18, 2005

Good News Missed

Did you think I forgot my Good News Day? I didn't. Just didn't have time to post. So, here it is:

I had the opportunity over the past few weeks to observe two "functional" (as opposed to dysfunctional) families give their son and daughter in marriage. More than the sheer, unadulterated joy of the occassion expressed by all, the cynicism that often marks these events anymore was totally absent. With the divorce rate over 50% in the first seven years, who can be safely optimistic?

This marriage and this couple boast the support and belief of all present. And, based on the great record of the families, the faith is well-placed.

These families' success was no accident. Little every day decisions made over and over added up to good habits and practices and reaped results.

No doubt, the parents faced challenges in their marriages. They argued, I'd guess, but from all reports, handled disagreement fairly and resolved them.

They raised their children with a firm Christian foundation and had extremely high expectations. One dad said, after I marvelled at the success of his three children, "When they were teenagers I became their friends. The job was already done." His son asked him to be best man.

Both sets of parents worked hard, too. They saved money for their kids. One side effect of divorce are the long-term financial losses. Each divorce causes 10 steps back for one step forward. (Not saying no one should get divorced, just saying it is tough economically.) In fact, after health care woes, divorce is the single greatest factor in American bankrupcies.

So, not only did the kids see great married examples, not only were they raised with solid values but they also received economical benefits. They are being given a boost at the beginning of their lives together so financial stress doesn't cause marital stress.

See how all this is a circle?

I am enormously curious about making a family work. What makes a great marriage? What financial decisions do responsible people make for the future? How should children be reared so they show respect for themselves and others and use their talents and live joyfully?

Putting the answers to these questions into practice changes lives for generations. Happy individuals got married and formed happy marriages and then they raised happy kids who meet and now have happy marriages.

They exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Let's see: they chose to love each other, laughed a lot, found peaceful solutions to disagreement, endured with patience their spouse's shortcomings, interacted with kindness, were good i.e. charitable and encouraging and giving, remained faithful and committed (40%-70% of people commit adultery--how's that for tearing the fiber of a marriage apart), acted gently remembering their own faults and, when they wanted to "lose it" or have their say or strike out they exhibited self-control. They didn't strike out.

A quick depressing contrast: loathing their spouse's existence, expressing contempt (eye rolling and sneering which have over 90% prediction rate for divorce), rarely resolved disagreement or vicious fighting--hitting "below the belt", impatient, mean, selfish and withholding, unfaithful, harsh and unforgiving, and regularly expressing their most vile thoughts and feelings or indulging in the most base activities because it made them feel better. Far too many marriages function this way these days. Some end in divorce. Many just foment suffering amongst the partners and then the suffering gets foisted on the children.

But that is not the marriage I just witnessed. No, this new marriage will be built on a solid foundation, one laid by their parents and their parents before them. Its strength is something to behold. It is something to aspire to.

These families give me hope. Their hard works blesses us all.
More blogs about the woodlands rita.