Saturday, January 03, 2009

I have seen the topic I address below cause more frustration for young people, and I mean people under 40, than any other issue. Not compatibility, wealth, position or location; although location can remove us from family and friends that in most cases can contribute to alleviating the problem discussed below to some degree. So if you are married and under forty, maybe there will be some practical help in this.

I think the most difficult season of life is when we have left single life where we are free to make choices for ourselves; when we have complete freedom to come and go; we report to few and are accountable to none; and no one depends on us. And then we enter into marriage where much of this comes to an abrupt end.
With the advent of children, we are taken further from this time of freedom and for some it comes suddenly, within a few years or less. That is not much time to make such a profound emotional change. We have duties that demand nearly all of our time, we have others that depend on us, our alone time is gone, and financial concerns are often pressing, babies crying, spouses needing, what an adjustment to make! Such a contrast! We leave one world and are ushered into another with memories like this --

“Everyone, probably, will be able to recall hours when, amid the competitive gladness of school or college companions, the impulses of enjoyment seemed to burst all bounds, and ran into the most riotous excitement; and in the reminiscences of such hours there may be the charm as of a long lost pleasure never to be felt again.

Our own natural and healthy instincts for wholesome enjoyment constantly reassert their power, and to deny them is to introduce an element of hurtful perplexity into the life.
It is vain to enter into this struggle with nature; it is cruel and wrong to do it. Nature must have play, and of course, it is to be kept within bounds by its own wise training and responsibilities. But human nature, as a prime condition of health, mental and physical, must have recreation, must have its moments of play, when it throws off the burden of work, and rejoices in the mere sensation of its own free activity. The younger we are the more we need these opportunities; we thirst for them – we are on the alert to catch them; and if denied them, we dwindle from our proper strength, emotionally or physically, and can pursue illegitimate and hurtful gratifications.”

I paraphrased the above from a chapter from Room at the Top, by A. Craig.

The solutions to this dilemma will be up to you to solve, and it is no easy task, but to deny it is to invite “illegitimate and hurtful gratifications.” Finding the time for oneself and one’s spouse, without neglecting our obligations requires continuing investigation and creativity, because circumstances and obligations seem to grow, not lessen, as the years go rapidly by. Some of us stretch to meet these growing duties with far more ease than others. Some feel chafed, caged and cornered while others may make the adjustments with little emotional distress. But all are affected to some degree. So, for those who are struggling I hope this will be of some help.

"Youth must have its healthy recreations. Enjoyment must mingle largely in the life of every healthy young person."

Top photo by Mike Roberts, bottom by Thomas.


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Fred :)

Greetings :)

This is a great post explaining what happens to a person before and after marriage and how to go about adjusting to the changed situation to enjoy marital life and parent hood responsibility.

In many places in India, there is something called child marriages. Children are married when they are very small and innocent. After marriage they continue to live with their parents and after attaining puberty, they live together and have children at a very young age. These youngster don't get a chance to enjoy their teenage life. They become parents and the heavy load of parental responsibility weighs heavily on their tender shoulders.

The advocates of this kind of marriage say that when children are married at a young age, they don't go astray and also their children will be grown ups when the parents are relatively young.
And life goes on in this fashion :)

Many thanks for sharing :)

Best wishes :)

Femin Susan said...

I agree with you. This is a good post which explaining before marriage and after marriage.

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
thanks for you comments and explaining child marriages, which here seems so odd. The marriage age in the U.S. has climbed and I think it is now about 26 on average. Childbearing is 28 if I recall correctly. I was married at 18, and woefully unprepared even then. It failed miserably.
It is difficult for most to stay chaste when waiting until late twenties, some do but they are few. Interesting dilema.
God bless,

Hi Susan,
Good to hear from you as well. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Cheyne said...

Hello Fred,
Very good post, these are the very things that are a struggle in my own life. I seem to fall both ways in my struggle, sometimes disregarding myself and working, taking care of the fam, and Candice, but most often I find that I am disregarding my fam and most of all my wife, this was good for me to read, very encouraging. I am currently on a search to find the balancing point, and also trying to understand what being a righteous, Jesus centered man is all about(how would Jesus live my life right now?), learning to lead when you don't feel sure of yourself is difficult, which I am constantly praying about. Thank you for words and this blog!

FCB said...

Hi Cheyne,
You are in good company, this is a common struggle for all responsible husbands and fathers.
I think it is important to identify tell tale signs in each family member, including yourself of course. What I mean is this, you may most easily recognize that when you are denied time for yourself you display and feel certain behaviors, maybe you become cranky, argumentitive, moody, feel caged etc. You have also learned to recognize behaviors in your wife and each child when they do not get enough of your time. As you look for them and watch their moods, and closely monitor your bond between them expand or contract; you feel close or distant, you can become a wise administrator of your time and attention. It is a big task in a large family, but one that pays big dividends and pleases God who has given you charge over your family as your first priority.
If you are successful as a father you will be rearing your children to be soldiers in Christ's spiritual army, and their reach will extend much farther than yours alone. When this season passes God will have another priority for you, and it will be no less difficult but you will be far more equipped. It may seem like a long training period, but less than Moses I suspect :)
Oh, I almost forgot, I tell my sons, 'whenever in doubt...........
do what your wife says'.
God bless,