Sunday, January 22, 2012

Do Not Let Your Child Marry Someone Like Me

My daughter, Ashlyn dressed up as a princess.

I am a reformed spoiled child. Rob always adds, "Not quite." He thinks he is so funny.

The debilitation that I brought to the marriage wasn't intentional. In fact, I wasn't even aware that I suffered from the 'spoiled' disease. I was raised in a privileged home. Let me add, too, that I was the baby in the family, which naturally added to the spoiled-ness.  As I am older, a bit wiser and reformed ('not quite’ apparently), I can see how giving so much to a child can be detrimental. I am not faulting my parents for the lavish life I was given; after all, they had us three girls in the sixties, when a generation of parents threw out Grandma’s common sense, and the new postmodern parenting/humanist ideology began.  As I reflect, I count the opportunities to see the world and the material comforts as blessings. I offer this story, in relation to preparing your child for marriage.

 My parents were adventurous.  I learned to snow ski at the age of three and was SCUBA certified at the age of fourteen. By the age of 19, I had taken flying lessons (really just one lesson...I can't even drive a car good. My sister went on to become a pilot.)  Seeing faraway places and experiencing different cultures; these are the things I am most grateful.  My parents wanted to give us many of the opportunities they didn't have growing up.

Although we were given much, my parents didn't suffer to the full extent of modern day parenting. We had to work; usually it consisted of yard work; pulling weeds, planting five million plants and fruit trees, and putting out pine straw.  Oddly, we didn’t have to do house chores.  With three girls, it seems we should have had to learn to cook, wash dishes or clothes and clean our rooms. When I went away to college, I lived alone my freshman year.  I loaded my dishwasher and put the liquid Joy soap-meant for washing dishes in the sink- in the dishwasher.  Suds were everywhere on the first floor of my townhouse; what a mess.  I was clueless.

What does all this have to do with marriage?

I didn’t know the Lord.  And goodness, I don’t think I was willing to share my throne with Him, had I met him any sooner than I did.  By the time I finally met and accepted Him into my heart, I was 21.  Within that next year, I started dating and married Rob.  What? Excuse me?  I can’t wear my princess crown and have the ‘baby’ title anymore?  Getting married certainly knocked me off of my throne and took away my tiara.  And get this!  He expected me to know how to cook something and share in the house chores!

Overindulged and overprotected left me underprepared to live in the real world.  I had a skewed sense of values and an exaggerated sense of entitlement.  I was insecure, had a low frustration tolerance and made bad choices.  I could wing it in college, but marriage would not tolerate my self-proclaimed wonderfulness; God wouldn’t tolerate it either.

Needless to say, those first seven years of marriage were very difficult.  Often I planned my escape to the (lonely) place where I could resume my position of ‘Queen Me.’ When I would put my running shoes on, as I often did when marriage got too hard, He gently brought me back to a husband who didn’t tolerate my royal highness, but always had open arms and walked with me, as God transformed my world where I was the center to one with Him as the center. 

Modern day parenting believes that we should give our children the best of everything; the best education; the best toys, the top universities, and greatest and latest...Overindulgence frequently results in kids who have a shocking sense of entitlement; kids who expect their every whim to be fulfilled; kids who have a disregard for the value of things and even a disregard for the value of other people.  Overindulged children will struggle in life and certainly in marriage.  I know.
God held onto me during those early years of marriage.  I was a new believer in Christ, but it would take years before I understood what that meant.  There isn’t one thing I did to deserve His grace and certainly not one thing I did to deserve the forbearance Rob showed me.  If you have spoiled your child, get on your knees now and pray for a spouse with the patience of the Lord Himself.  He or she will need it.

When my grandparents passed away, they had been married for 64 years.  I have been married for almost nineteen living under the same roof with my husband longer than I lived with my parents.  I left my parent’s house and lived alone at the age of 17.   Our children live with us for only a short time; yet, we have such a powerful influence in to who they will become.  In a sense, we are raising them for someone else.  Next time you have a desire to give in to your child’s every little desire, curb your enthusiasm.  Otherwise, you might be nurturing an unappreciative, unhappy child who will likely have trouble coping with the inevitable ups and downs of life.  Give it some thought:  What kind of wife or husband do you want your child to be? 
Through the tears, the difficulties and tragic events, God has taught me humility and a heart of appreciation.  He has shown me an unbelievable amount of mercy and grace.  He has helped me to see how miserable I was when my only focus was me.  Had I left Rob, I would have toted my crown and throne with me.  Where would I have gone?  Did I really think someone else was going to tolerate me?  I am grateful the Lord took back His rightful crown and throne.  It was never meant for me.

God with His wonderful sense of humor gave me a frugal husband; one who had to break the news to me that money did not, in fact, grow on the trees in our backyard.  Rob is the oldest of three boys and doesn’t quite have pity for ‘the baby.’  He worked hard cutting grass to earn every penny to buy his first car at 16.  Lavishing me with gifts is not exactly his strongest point.  Not giving in to my every whim is not on his priority list.  Fortunately, loving me is.  I don’t know why someone didn’t warn him about marrying someone like me. (Oh, excuse me.  Rob just informed me that his parents did!  Well, I guess they were on their knees a prayin’ every day!)

Maybe I am not completely reformed from my old ways, but God has transformed my heart.  

My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.  Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.  Job 42:5-6

Note:  I want to teach my kids everything, but I never want them to lose sight of the cross.  One day, they will grow up and write a post about me titled, “Here is What Not to do that My Parents Did.”  I thank the Lord that He is in charge and that He will use my mess-ups for good in their lives.

Blessings to you!

Thank you, Pippa for the correction of 'thrown' to 'throne!'  It was so funny, I almost left it! 
Terry and Gayle, if you have stopped by, I hope this brings you some laughter!  Miss you and so glad you visit!


This is the second post of my series on marriage.  To see my first post, 'Two Lumps of Coal' click here.
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20 comments :

Leslie said...

Great post. I wasn't a spoiled child, in fact it was quite the opposite. We were very poor.
When I married Paul 21 years ago.. it was he who made me a princess.

Have a great week.

Anita Cedar Hill Ranch said...

I love this. I was raised more like your hubby, but can relate to the difficult first 7 years. I had a throne too, but not because I was a princess but because I was always right. Now that I am sometimes wrong, I have a much happier marriage. I may not longer have my pride, but it kept me from happiness, so it did me no favors. Great post!!

Jemsmom said...

This is absolutely brilliant and so so so true. I was spoiled by my mother who didn't understand finances and it was very hard on my dad. My mother didn't teach me to take care of a home and those things. She struggled with alcohol and had her own problems, but growing up that way sure didn't make it easy for me to learn how to be a good wife. As I wife, I strive to care for our home and teach our daughter how to do so also. She rebels, but we say all the time that we are the Ferraro family and we all work together to make our home the best it can be. We talk a lot about how we are a team and God is our coach! It is so hard some days, but I know in the long run it will be the best I can do for my child. I also taught school for 10 years and the sense of entitlement is absolutely mind blowing. What will these poor kids do when they are on their own one day...

Anonymous said...

well, I've never commented on a blog before but felt like i was reading my own story here. I was probably not as traveled as you, but the insecurity followed by the sense of entitlement I had is right on target. My husband was also the opposite - and more patient than is ever possible. And he has the gift of humor that helps out during the moments of angst and self absorption that still crop up after 26 years. Yiikes I sound so old!

Budget Design Girl said...

Amazing post! I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts on overindulging our children. It is so rampant now, and many of our friends have commented on why my husband and I don't wish to buy our son the latest and greatest everything! Some think it's unreal that at age 5 he does not even own a DS game.

But guess what? He is thoughtful and kind, well adjusted, and appreciative of what he has. He notices and is awed by his surroundings, and all that God has created. (Not to say he doesn't have his difficult moments.) Parenting and marriage are such a journey. We are always learning, aren't we?

Lovely post!
xo
-Lisa

Christie said...

Thank you for your comments! I received several e-mails with personal stories and am so glad that it touched a cord or made you laugh. Many of you informed me of the problem with my site and leaving comments. I have fixed it and thank you for letting me know! I will add the link with the steps to correct if you are experiencing a similar problem. Thank you all, Christie

Stephanie said...

This is such a great post. My husband and I are in constant awe and unbelief over the absolute attitude of entitlement that seems to occupy every teenager we come into contact with. We've been married almost 10 years, and our 2 children are still quite young, 4 and 1, but he and I have had many discussions on how NOT to raise children with that attitude.

I also loved your statement that we are raising them for someone else. I guess I never thought of it quite that way before, but you're right. I hope and pray to raise them to be people who know and love the Lord and who will be, not perfect of course, but caring, loving, and patient spouses.

anotherbethsmith said...

i read a lot of blogs- and i have never read one this good. wow. you are gifted. thanks :)
beth
goodvariety@yahoo.com

Rosie Goins said...

Christie, you were just so cute and sweet as a child. You had to have been easy to spoil.

You were raised with love.

Leslie's Garden said...

A beautiful, thoughtful post. I work in the public school system and I see overindulgence by parents to their children everyday. They never let them suffer the consequences. Parents are at their children's beck and call. I've heard the children call home because they forgot their homework and they DEMAND the parent bring it right away. And I'm aghast when the parents jump-to-it. I know they aren't all like that but it really gets your attention when you have a child close by that is so demanding and disrespectful. Crazy. And sad.

janet said...

Beautiful post...

Marsha said...

Yeah! I'm glad your comments are working again. Marsha

www.julieisa.blogspot.com said...

Absolutely wonderful post! It should be published in EVERY SINGLE parenting magazine!!! Good for you!!! Thanks for sharing. Much love to you and your family!

Stephanie said...

I totally relate! It makes adulthood and especially marriage so difficult. Thankfully I have been blessed with an amazing husband with a whole lot more love than money.

Kymberly Foster Seabolt said...

I think we are separated at birth sisters.

There should be a support group for our spouses.

Lesslie said...

Correction: Older Sister (Lesslie) and Middle Sister (Martie) dug holes to plant fruit trees, pulled weeds and spreaded pine straw, while "baby" sister ("Christie Disty") set inside the air-conditioned house playing with Barbie dolls! Pleeeeze! Get your facts right sis! Ha! I loved this post and solidified for me yet another example of God's REDEEMING GRACE! As Gary Thomas says in his book, Sacred Marriage, marriage is not meant to make us 'blissfully happy' but probably one of God's greatest tools he uses to purify, refine and mold us to make us more "Holy" and be the servant He desires us to be. Recently, John Rosemond visited our church and he made some excellent points regarding child rearing. To your blog readers: His book, "Parenting by the Book" is a great resource. I recently had a friend tell me, "Lesslie, you read so much and not for enjoyment for learning" to which I replied you have no idea what an incredibly flawed and broken person I am....I've got so much to learn and by God's loving, merciful, grace, I am confident I will continue to learn and will hopefully, "finish well." Love you sis AND LOVE, LOVE your blog. What a blessing!

Christie said...

Less,
All that pollen must have gone to your head, because I was right there with ya'! Now, Barbie may have had her work clothes on, too!! And let's remember I had TWO years without you and Martie to do the yard work by myself, when you went to college...poor, poor 'baby' I was!! Thanks for the laughter today! Love you! Christie

michele said...

Loved this post and it really spoke to me. I am always trying to learn these lessons that you have already mastered. Thank you for all of your wisdom on marriage!

Suzy said...

Great words of wisdom...I was the opposite and grew up very poor but isn't it wonderful that in HIS eyes He sees us all the same!

At The Picket Fence said...

Thank you Christie! I have many friends I will be sharing this with and often find myself guilty of "spoiling" my children. This gave me a real heart check.

Heather

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