I wish this book had been around when Sean and I were first married! I've written before about what a difficult adjustment we had when we were newlyweds, not knowing where to go for advice or godly counsel with so many changes of life going on.
We were the first of our friends to get married and on week nights while Sean was in college, I'd flip on the radio and listen to Family Life Today. I still tune in to Family Life Today, so full of godly wisdom and sound counsel as it is. A few years ago Sean and I attended one of Family Life's Weekends to Remember and had an absolutely fantastic time learning and growing together. It was definitely a marriage strengthening event! We've also hosted Home Builders small groups and use their premarital curriculum in counseling.
Barbara Rainey was kind enough to recently grant me an interview and I hope you'll enjoy reading what she's shared.
1. One of the hardest things my husband, Sean, and I had to work through in our first years of marriage was not having a Biblical example of marriage or parenting to emulate. What advice would you give a young couple who is starting out just as we did?
The best step a young couple can take, even if they have good models in their own parents, is to find a couple who is ahead of them in the journey and ask for a regular meeting time to ask questions. They do not have to be empty nesters, although an older couple would have more time, but this couple can be just 5 years into their marriage and have plenty of life lessons to share. Obviously they need to be believers in Christ who are committed to growing in their marriage, but they don’t have to have it “all figured out.” Secondly I’d recommend attending one of our Weekend to Remember marriage conferences. Dennis and I just finished leading one in Washington DC and I was reminded how good these are for couples just starting out to get it right from the start. And they are good refresher courses for those married several years and beyond.
2. Speaking of marriage and parenting, you've talked frankly about how the empty nest affected you. To be honest, this is one season of life that the thought of terrifies me! I tell my husband that I am daily working myself out of a job. For a mother like me, with young children, or to a woman with older children who is more quickly approaching the empty nest years, is there any advice you can give as to how we can more gently transfer into this new season of life?
Just acknowledging that it is a reality is healthy. I remember being terrified too at the thought of my children leaving me behind. But as we got closer and closer, it became so clear that it was right, that it eased my anxiety. And I must say it was not easy still. My husband and I sobbed as we left our first born standing in the parking lot of her new home in a high rise dormitory. I hated it. But it was right and I knew she would be OK, even though I was not OK at the time. Interestingly, by the time the last one left it had gotten easier. I’m not sure if it was because we had six and when the last one left I was exhausted and ready for the end or if I had gradually gotten used to the changes the departure of each one brought. Now that we are just the two of us again we are loving it in so many ways. Yes, I still miss my kids being under my roof, and yes, I feel twinges of sadness when I see photos of all of them when they were cute and cuddly and all mine, but we did our best as unto the Lord and we are resting in and relishing this new season of our lives.
3. You raised a large family, Barbara. What is one thing, in your role of wife and help-meet to your husband Dennis, that you wish you had done a bit (or entirely!) different in those busy years of parenting?
I wish in the early years that I had made more of an effort to be in serious bible study. I was too dependent on Sunday morning sermons for my spiritual food. It was too easy to give in to my overwhelmed life and stay home rather than fight the battles of child care and diaper bags and less time to get my home tasks done. As a result I am passionate about young moms feeding their souls with the truth of Scripture. My daughter who has five boys has made this a priority in her life and she is much more directed by the truth of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit than I was.
I did not have a strong Christian background and I needed the feeding more than I realized. I began attending Bible Study Fellowship when my youngest was two and my oldest was 12. It was the beginning of life change for me. Since then I have been committed to being in serious bible study in some kind of class (not just a book study, a pet peeve of mine) and I will be for the rest of my life.
Many kind thanks to Barbara, for sharing some of her wisdom with me. There are four ways to enter the giveaway this time. Please let me know in the comments which way(s) you have entered.
1. Leave a comment.
2. Blog about it.
3. Share it on FB or Twitter.
4. Visit the new Mom Life Today , leaving a comment on any of the posts.
Winner will be drawn and announced on Friday.
P.S. even if you're not a newlywed, you can enter. Give the book as a wedding gift, use it to strengthen your not-so-newlywed marriage with a case of the doldrums, or save it for your someday marriage!