Monday, August 31, 2009

How Did We Get Here So Quickly?

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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Today, my children set off for their first day of school. I tried not to flinch when I realized that next year, my daughter sets off for high school - ouch! How, exactly, did that happen so quickly? I'm stumped.
Over the past two years, we have found ourselves talking about subjects that I felt ill prepared for. All of those baby books I read (seems like just yesterday, too), did not prepare me on how to discuss intimacy, relationships and marriage with an impressionable pre-teen/teenager. I still read about parenting - books, articles, websites- I just feel less sure about what I'm doing. Throughout infancy and toddlerhood, life was kind of like a checklist. Rolling over - check. Sitting up - check. Walking - check. Talking - check. See what I mean? Teenagers throw curveballs that leave parents asking, "What just happened here?" One of those curveballs came for us when our daughter asked us to set a "dating age" for her. Not that she wanted to date right now, she just wanted to know what we were thinking. Quite honestly, we were thinking sometime between the ages of 25-30, but she didn't buy it. Had to try, I guess. Since she threw down the "d" word, my husband and I decided some heart to heart discussions were in order so that when she hits 25 and starts dating, she is ready (okay, maybe not 25. We're willing to discuss 21). The following list is some of the advice I've dispensed over the past couple of years:
  • Faith is Important - You can't fake faith. Marrying someone who does not share your faith is a difficult road to travel. When two people share a love of the Lord, it brings them closer together than they could ever be on their own.
  • No Fixer-Uppers - Do not take on a relationship with the mind set that you can "fix" him. What you see is what you get. No one wants to be a project. Make sure you are happy with the person as is.
  • Do Nothing - There should be nothing you need to do to be "good enough" for your spouse. They should love and accept you warts and all. Think of it as the reverse fixer-upper. Yes, you should want to the best you can be in any relationship - but no sentence that begins, "I would love you if _______" is going to end well. If you are not good enough for that person, they are never going to be good enough to deserve you.
  • Your Love is a Gift - and anyone in a relationship with you should treat it as such.
  • Marriage is for Better or Worse - enjoy the better and brace yourself for the worse. Checkbooks bounce. Appliances break. Cars crash. Injuries happen. If you know the hard times happen and work through them together, the good times are that much sweeter.

That's all I have for now. She is only 13, and I know we still have deep waters to wade through as far as relationship advice goes. Fortunately, God sees to it that we're not in it alone - parenting OR marriage.


Constance said...

Those are great tips to remember! Fortunately for us, our youngest (just started college) was never really into dating in high school. He felt like it was too much drama. Having 3 older sisters and having gone through dating drama with girls, frankly, I was glad for the break!

Now though, I guess I should brace myself for the fact that he is open to dating and God could very well bring someone into his life. Poor thing, she will have to "pass the test" of 3 older sisters who practically worship their baby brother! Of course, then there's me... she would have to be pretty special if she can hold up under all of THAT scrutiny! Ha Ha!

MiPa said...

Great checklist of things that we hope to convey as non-negotiables. Bless you for sharing.

Kylie said...

AMEN on your checklist. The one that strikes me the most, however, since it seems to be a common mistake I see amongst the single ladies I work with is the 'fixer-upper' one. It seems as women who think they can 'fix' someone end up dating someone who treats them poorly.

As far as dating in general, worldly dating, for lack of a better term, annoys me to no end; especially seeing it with single people at my workplace. It's not the 'big' issues that annoy me so much, though they do, but the whole putting on a front for people in order to impress them and 'hook them' is something that just doesn't compute in my brain.

I've been listening to BarlowGirl a lot lately, and I learned they don't date, but they're waiting for the guy that God will put in their lives. They also have a healthy approach to it. They're not living in a fall-out shelter. They meet guys and girls, but the expectations of dating aren't there because they're getting to know them for who they are, not the idealized version of who they are.

Denise said...

I loved this post.

Tami Boesiger said...

Don't sell yourself short. I think you've given your daughter great advice. Nicely done.

Anonymous said...

Excellent... no fixer-uppers!

It's very hard to release our kids to dating. We wanted to put it off forever too. I feel blessed that I was able to stay home during my kids' teen years, and stay in close touch with their lives. Teens get into trouble when there's no one watching out for their best interests. Sounds like you're right on top of it!

Thanks for joining us for Marriage Monday today, April.


Wife of Rob said...

I love it...but I disagree on one point....age 40 sounds better to me for dating...okay, maybe 35 is still okay!

I LOVE your paragraph about "Do Nothing". I see so many young girls today who need a good healthy dose of that advice! the love and acceptance should be a no brainer. Thanks for such a great post!

Blessings to you!

Melanie said...

Very good points! So true! Thanks for sharing.

Deborah said...

Great post! Great tips! My eighteen year old daughter is engaged. I don't know why, but as long as she waits until after college, I will be fine! These tips are a good reminder for me too!