Crisis of any kind can put a marriage at risk. It is a treasure that must be carefully guarded.Crisis comes to parents in many forms. Our biggest one was when our daughter began getting in trouble with alcohol and drugs in high school. Our painful journey continued for years. It would include self-injury, mental illness, sexual assault, suicide attempts and rehabs – the perfect storm for marriage trouble.
In situations like these, disagreements and conflicts increase. Irritability, misunderstandings and blame occur. Grief, confusion and helplessness consume. My husband had heard these words of wisdom years earlier in a college class. He remembered them when we needed it most and took them to heart.
What can you do to guard your marriage when you have a rebellious child?
We determined we would be more intentional about our relationship by doing these 8 things:
· 1. Make time for fun. Plan a weekly date. Declare it a “no prodigal zone” not talking about your child.
· 2. Take turns being the bad guy. Don’t let one parent always give discipline or have the hard conversations.
· 3. Put your marriage first, not you child. One day they will move on and you will be left with one another.
· 4. Memorize and practice these statements. “You may be right.” “What do you need from me right now?” “I’m not the enemy.”
· 5. Divorce is not an option. Remove the word from your vocabulary and never threaten it in the heat of the moment. This gives security.
· 6. Forgive each other for mistakes and failures. No one is perfect. Give grace. We both need it – a lot.
· 7. Be a united front. Don’t disagree in your child’s presence. Work out differences privately ahead of time so they can’t drive a wedge between you or play you against each other.
· 8. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to “fix” each other. When sharing feelings, offer a listening ear and an understanding heart.
Which one of these will you to start doing?
These Scriptures encouraged us:
“Two are better than one . . . If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” I Corinthians 13:4-8