We’re on the cusp of wedding season here in the USA where gittin’ hitched is averaging $25,000 – 30,000 dollars per celebration.
Great pains are obviously being taken to plan the Big Day, but judging by the dismal outcome of too many of these pricey unions, many of the kids marrying aren’t prepared for life after the ceremony.
Building a life that stands the test over time isn’t luck and unicorns. It’s real, raw and often rugged. We must dispel popular culture’s pretty little lies about fairytale futures. Here’s a good start:
1. Marriage is a marathon. A very long, tiring, and at times, soul-crushing race. A race indicates a lengthy stretch of rough road that leads to a glorious finish line. Most modern humans I talk to want a finish-line relational experience every single day, with full make-up, goosebumps and a photo shoot.
We’ve all heard the phrase, if not vowed it ourselves, “for better or for worse.” In real life, there’s a whole lot of ‘worse’ you’re gonna experience along with the better in this marriage thing. Yes, the ‘better’ is priceless, but it only comes with the daily investment of long suffering, hard work and compromise over the long haul.
Nora Ephron, screenwriter of blockbuster romcoms Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Harry Met Sally said “most people learned their beliefs about love from my movies.” Even she knew, after 3 marriages of her own, the reality vs. fantasy of romantic love.
And while we’re on the topic, ‘conscious uncoupling’ is a sentimental fallacy created by a bazillionaire Hollywood Hamptons ditz who is not in touch with the true spirit of marriage which has it’s roots in the term ‘covenant.’ Look it up, it’s brutal. More brutal however is divorce, which, in the words of my good friend, a divorced mother of four, is, “a death that never dies.”
2. Family is Complex. It’s a multi-generational conglomeration. A household of foreigners, ofttimes speaking different languages, trying to live together in harmony. Close families are not created by accident. It takes large amounts of grace extended to build a strong family.
How is it that the one family member you want to kill on Monday, saves your life on Thursday? Am I right? And you think your job is hard, but you’re a piece of work, too, even though you may not be in touch with it. We’re all like diamonds, many faceted, all having sides to us we cannot see. We see our good side; our family members see our not-so-good side. And we love each other through it all.
This is the mystery of family. This is the truth of covenant relationship. The staying power of staying when you often feel like fleeing. So much of the magic of life is simply not quitting!
3. Mothers. Are. Priceless. They cannot be rented or bought. The ‘I wanna nanny’ mantra parroted by so much of the Gen X young mama population is a worldly idea created by Hollywood starlets who are out of touch with reality and will one day, all-too-soon be found old, wrinkled, washed up and alone on the shores of Santa Monica beach. And for the rest of us overtaxed serfs of the world, surrendering our children to full time daycare centers and systemized, confining public education from age zero-18 will generally not produce the specimen of human being that our heart longs to raise.
Do your job today, Mama, with all you have to give, and you will rest well on your pillow 20 years from today when your children are impacting the whole wide world with the heart and soul YOU gave them.
4. Fathers have super powers! The smear campaign against men over the past several decades has impacted our culture in an enormous way, redefining manhood and casting suspicion upon men who dare to display strength and leadership in most any context. Meanwhile, strong women are cheered on.
Men are not the weak, bumbling idiots media has portrayed them to be, nor are they the arseholes they’re often implied to be. The trickle down effect of this narrative has infused poison into family life where it seems to me that many men have become tentative about their role, defaulting to their very capable and dominating wives, which often leads to chaos, confusion and ultimately the breakdown of the family.
(Conversely, ask most any single woman what she’s actually looking for in a man, and it’s not weakness. #scratchingmyhead)
After parenting for 33 years, I know the power of having a strong man at the helm of our family. Gregory is the steel beam holding up our dynasty – invisible at times, but more necessary than could possibly be imagined. We would be lost without him. Moms can do a lot, but they can’t take the place of a father.
5. Money Has Never Made a Human Heart Happy. All of creation chases the dollar bill and what do most of them have to show for it? More debt, distress and brokenness. Most double income families are spending 1/3 more than they bring in each month. Fact. The more you have, the more you spend. It’s a tireless backwards cycle, leading to chronic stress that destroys families. The love of money is still the root of all evil. Don’t love anything that can’t love you back.
The plumb line your children measure their lives against will determine how strong, straight, tall and for how long the building stands. Let’s help them form their measuring stick with truth, not Madison Avenue myths.
Your Two-Minute Takeaway
- Take a moment to ponder all that your child is taking in through media, magazines, Netflix, movies and social media. What’s the life message he or she is regularly imbibing through all this input? Are you happy with this? Is there anything you’d like to adjust?
- Your kids are formed and fashioned by the 5 people closest to them. Are you happy with the friends they hang out with and the social extracurricular activities they’re involved in? Is there anything eating at you about their relationships? Does something need adjusting?
- You should be the primary force shaping your children. Is there any oxygen left in your week to spend quality time with your children, just poking around at thrift stores, walking the dog together, cooking or crafting or shooting hoops? If you don’t plan these things, they’ll never happen. Make a plan!
Thank you for reading! I’m so honored by your presence here and if you’d like to read more, subscribe to my monthly updates and you’ll receive my free spring subscriber special 7 Steps to Cure an Unhappy Kid and Revolutionize Your Homelife HERE