Marriage and Family
February 2017

 


PASTOR'S MESSAGE
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In his commentary on Genesis, Luther writes, "This world has nothing more beautiful than this union of hearts between spouses."  With Valentine's Day coming on Feb. 14, this TLO Disciple is focused on marriage and family.  Christian harmony between a husband and wife is a gift of the Holy Spirit and comes through the love and forgiveness that is through the cross of Christ Jesus.

When Christ is at the center of all of our relationships, whether in marriage, as parents and children, friends, neighbors, pastor and congregation, as we are told in the book of Ecclesiastes, A cord of three stands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12).

May the Lord bless all your relationships through Christ who binds us together in love.

Pastor James L. Kroonblawd

FROM MARTIN LUTHER
"But I warn again that for entering into marriage it is above all necessary to call upon God that He may choose and bestow the wife or husband.  If this is done, God's blessing and all good fortune in marriage follow.  God gives the husband the grace to have patience and to take the weakness of his wife in good part, and that she, in turn, may be able to adjust herself to her husband's ways.  On the other hand, where fear of God and prayer are not added, irritations very easily occur. From these originate hatred, quarrels, enmity, and perpetual dissension."


FROM RIGHT NOW MEDIA

On Making Marriage Work, twenty couples share their deepest struggles, conflicts and misconceptions about marriage.  This four part video series includes Biblical and practical tips to cultivate a healthy and happy marriage.

THE KEYS TO A LOVING MARRIAGE: COMMUNICATION AND ATTENTION

What does it take to build and maintain a loving marriage in today's busy and fast paced life?
The reality of pressures from daily living and work often don't fit within personal, family or societal visions of "the perfect marriage." This often puts couples in the middle of a firefight. In the midst of the hectic schedule, it is often the simple and practical things to do that escape them.
Growing and fostering a healthy marriage should include these essential components:
  • Consistent communication and romantic gestures that are maintained with both partner's needs understood and considered.
  • Understanding and accepting one another's faults.
  • Remaining supportive through efforts to learn from mistakes, rather than belittling or focusing on the negative.
  • Respecting each other's habits, hobbies, desires, etc.
  • Understanding and encouraging the independence necessary at times to grow as individuals as well as a couple.
It is often said that "a marriage takes a lot of work". Perhaps it is better said in this way, "a marriage needs a lot of attention". The attention that two people give each other while falling in love should never really go away. While certainly the needs and demands of family and life are incorporated into a married couple's relationship, why would anyone replace the attention they gave to the love of their life, with attention to other things? And besides, it's fun!
Taking a class, a workshop, or even an at home study for your marriage on a regular basis is crucial to experiencing a growing and loving marriage.

Provided by Family Dynamics Institute: 
Learn more at:  www.FamilyDynamics.net and   www.SaveMyMarriage.com
or call 800-650-9995



SHOULD WE ARGUE IN FRONT OF OUR CHILDREN?
By Heidi Goehmann

My husband and I come from very different families. Like most newlyweds, we rooted around for what traditions we might maintain, where we needed to be intentional, and what ways we might burst out of our families' molds and do something new. We read books. We prepared and enriched. We asked lots of questions of mentors and friends.

The honest truth is that some questions have no perfect answers no matter how long you search. For us, the title question was one of them. My husband attests that he never heard his parents argue. They resolved discussions quickly or took it into the bedroom away from little ears. My parents raised the roof with lively discussions that were sometimes humorous and sometimes less than pretty. Dave and I have attempted a happy medium, but the question continuously remains in the back of our minds-should we argue in front of the kids or take it elsewhere? Are we destroying their image of godliness by our disagreements or showing them healthy reality?

I'd like to share with you not an answer, but four things I have learned that may help you contemplate this in your own marriage and family.

Home should be a safe place.
There are discussions and there are disagreements; there are arguments and there is just plain ugliness. It's important to distinguish between whether we have a difference of opinion that we need to work through versus destroying one another with hurtful words and actions, whether intentional or unintentional. Talking through things is the cleaving work of marriage. Snipping and selfishness is sinful. Children may not developmentally understand every word being said, but they hear and take to heart far more than we know. One of our first questions in parenting should always be, "How can we help them know that they are safe and loved?" This is the good work of family in a child's life. This stability helps them to grow, to do better in school and relationships, and to become responsible adults. Keeping home and arguments safe for children helps them to see who God the Father is, as their source of protection and Lord over all things.

Home should be a grace-filled place.
Safety isn't the only thing important for children. Let's face it, the world isn't always a safe place. As much as we try to create the bubble of protection for our kids, the world is scary, life happens, and tragedy can strike every home. Children are looking for big answers to big problems, just as we are. Another question to ask in parenting is, "How can we help them know grace?" The best way to share the grace of Christ Jesus in your home is to share His living Word, the Bible, together, as well as to share His Word in confession and forgiveness with one another. In this light, remember that disagreements and arguments are great opportunities to confess our own sinfulness and to receive forgiveness. Coupling mistakes with confession and forgiveness is the Holy Spirit working God's grace in our homes. Sin unrecognized or unaddressed can leave us feeling guilty and miserable. Opportunities for confession actually make our homes uplifting and a grace-filled harbor in an ever-changing world.

Most of what we learn in life, we learn within the context of a family.
All we have of grace and safety is received from Christ, yes, but there is also an element of living in that active Word that is learned from those we are closest to. Just as the cycle of abuse can be passed down from generation to generation, so can cycles of grace and forgiveness and the art of arguing well. Arguing well looks like kind words and thoughtful speech, listening as well as speaking, and asking lots of questions to understand another person's perspective. This does not come naturally. Daily our old Adam is drowned, and we are reminded that in our Baptisms we rise with Christ. God designed the family to be the place where we spend most of our time learning and growing, understanding our vocations and contributing to the work of the Kingdom.

Lastly, consider your own children and their individual needs.
Children are very much individuals. They have their own ideas and their own needs. If you have a timid child, arguing or even hotly debating something in front of them may be overwhelming for them. Other children might need more from us in the form of guidance and modeling patience or thinking before they speak. Being aware of our children as individuals will help us be able to shine Christ to them in ways in which His message will be clearest to them.

The Book of Nehemiah applies here well. It shares the account of many people of Israel coming home and receiving the Word of the Lord after a long dry spell in exile.

"And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, "Amen, Amen," lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped theLORD with their faces to the ground. Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading" (Nehemiah 8:5-8 ESV).

Active parenting is a way of "giving the sense" of God's Word to His children. We speak the words of the Bible, and we show them what these mean in our actions toward one another. It is a unique gift, a difficult challenge, and worthwhile work.

Father, help us as we raise the children that You have entrusted to us, grandparent the next generation, and tend to our marriages. Fill our homes with Your Spirit, guide us with Your Word, and teach us Your ways. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ to die and rise so that we may have forgiveness and new life to share with all the saints, including those in our own homes. We rest in Your protection, Your wisdom, and Your tender care. In the name of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, we pray. Amen. 


EAT, TALK, AND PLAY!
 
EAT
In our busy lives, all too often we don't make time for the most basic of social functions -- eating together! Be sure to make time to sit down together and share a meal for two. Try to even share the preparation -- and the clean-up! If you haven't got time to cook, how about a take-away, or a romantic meal at a local restaurant? Take the time to eat face to face, not in front of the TV!

TALK
What does your daily communication as a couple consist of? Organizing the family and home, questions about the kids, what needs to go on the shopping list? Or perhaps some of the big decisions of life -- whether to move, what new car to buy, your health or ailments? When was the last time you sat down and just talked about "you" -- the challenges of life, what's motivating you, what's dragging you down, how it feels to be you -- or perhaps your hopes and dreams for your future together? Make some time this week to sit down together just to "talk"!

PLAY
When we first fall in love, life always seems to be full of fun -- but as the years go by, sometimes we forget to play together! Why not make some time to do something together you both enjoy --something as simple as going for a walk, watching a movie together, taking a dance class, or spending an evening in your local pub or a jazz club. For the truly adventurous, think para-gliding or a zip line! Maybe just curl up together in front of a fire, and read stories to each other. Whatever it is, try and find something you can both take part in, and which will remind you of the fun times in your relationship!
 
Click to learn more ways to reinvigorate your daily lives together!

COUPLE CHECK UP

Any couple (dating, engaged, or married) can take this nationally renowned "Couple Checkup" assessment, developed by PREPARE/ENRICH, which will generate a report for you about your relationship. This is a productive way to have a conversation and move forward with growth and change in ways to strengthen your marriage. Maybe use the results as a topic for discussion on a special weekend retreat or date night--even Valentine's Day!   Click to get started!



10 GREAT DATES

Fun, relationship-building dates for seriously dating and engaged couples.

A unique approach featuring fun-filled dates to help seriously dating and engaged couples strengthen their relationship. Couples will soon discover whether or not to go to the next level of commitment, and will spend quality time together now while preparing for a great marriage in the future.

10 Great Dates Before You Say "I Do" combines the best of marriage preparation research with a fun, easy-to-follow format. 
Couples will love growing together while going out together.
* Share your hopes and dreams
* Appreciate your differences
* Communicate and connect
* Develop spiritual intimacy
* Evaluate your relationship
* Celebrate romance
* And more!

EDITOR'S NOTE

TLO Disciple, with a topical study in each issue, is distributed primarily via email on the first of every month.  Print copies are available by contacting the TLO Church office at  651-454-7235 or the  Church Office via email.
 
Calendars, volunteer information, serving groups and the like will accompany the TLO Together, on the last Wednesday of the month. Click here to subscribe to TLO Together .  This publication is also mailed upon request.
 
Soli Deo gloria



2950 Highway 55
Eagan MN  55121
p:651-454-7235    f:651-454-0109


Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran Church
651.454.7235
newsletter-noreply@trinityloneoak.org
www.trinityloneoak.com