Thursday, March 27, 2014

Up For Discussion.....

I am attending a ladies Bible Study which is covering the book
True Woman 101 - divine design a study on Biblical Womanhood.

I went into the class fully expecting to love this study.
One of the authors, Nancy Leigh DeMoss 
is someone I respect and enjoy listening to.

(The following discussion is not found in the book
as far as I have seen....this was just class discussion.)

However, yesterday in class we were discussing the role of men
and more specifically the leave and cleave principal in marriage.
Pretty soon women were chiming in to say that the first thing a newly 
married couple should do is get away from their family for the first year.

Now, it may not surprise you that I bristled at this given the fact that 
Michael is about to be married.

I mean, these ladies were emphatically stating that the newly married couple should 
have NO contact with family for a year.
They were quoting a well known Christian family Psychologist as they said this.
I've not verified that this is actually what he said so I am not 
giving his name.

They were then stating that our culture shows too much parental 
involvement in newlyweds lives as opposed to how it would have been 
in Old Testament times.

I tried to be quiet.
Really, I did.
But when the instructor started talking negatively about parents 
helping young people financially and in other ways I just couldn't
help myself.

Let's think about Old Testament times.
The young man would clearly move from his parent's home but usually 
to another tent/house on the family compound.
The girl would leave her family's home and come to his.
The parents would provide the starting funds/gifts for the couple.
They would live as community.
No where do I see that the couple up and left all that they knew
and all of their support for the first year.
I wanted to just burst a gasket.
In a class that is trying to be counter culture I felt that 
the starting point was as deep in the current culture as it could be.
It put down the family.
Right there!
Where we were supposed to be talking about a Biblical 
role for women.

I was also reminded quickly of two situations where young
husbands were abusive.
I know this isn't the norm.... but what is the first thing
an abusive man will do?
Isolate her from her family.
This just seems like dangerous advice to me.

I love this Bible Study Group and will return....
this is not a deal breaker. 
However, I was very disappointed. 

What do you think?
Am I being too thin skinned?
Is it too close for me to be objective?
Or has all of the church bought into the idea that family is bad?

My parents lived a half an hour from us when we were married.
We saw them once a week or more, 
usually for Sunday lunch.

One evening Warren did not come home in a "timely" way
when I had made a lovely dinner.
I was very upset.
So what did I do?
I called home.
I expected sympathy and support.
What did I get?

Well, they were emphatic that this was between 
my husband and myself.
They were not getting in the middle of it.

Were they right to do so?
I had left my home and was under "new management".
Did they need to scram out of my life in order to 
perform such an important and impactful service for me?
Absolutely not!
I needed to hear that....and especially from them.

I know this might seem like a small deal to you 
but it is distressing to me to have an entire class of young
mothers hearing this kind of advice.

I'm ready to shut up and hear what you have to say 
on the matter.


Melissa Gill said...

I think there needs to be a balance in this. We do need a certain distance from extended family once we get married but to totatlly cut yourself off from family isn't the answer either.
It sounds like your parents had the right idea. You knew they were there for you when you needed them but they let you work things out on your own too.
And each family is different and going to need to find what works for them.

Karen said...

I'm with you on this.

My parents made it clear that when we married, we weren't going to come running back home if we were upset with our spouse. Also, they welcomed our spouses into the family readily (and my inlaws were the same), which helped to keep from creating "sides" to be taken. It made a feeling of "We're all family now; let's work this out".

I think knowing the extended family is there to support you as newlyweds is very important-as is the family staying out of the middle of arguments that might come up. No one wins when there's divisiveness.

Starting life out together has so many potential potholes for young couples to be sidelined by. I frankly don't see how they can make a successful, happy marriage without the support/mentoring of their extended families. Being cut off from those who love them most just doesn't make sense if you want them to thrive as a couple. Space, yes. Cut off, no way.

Vee said...

Read this much earlier this morning and have been cogitating on it ever since. I don't think anyone could say it any better than Melissa did: Balance in everything. It takes a lot of tongue-biting in the beginning as a parent because parents are not used to not being able to stick an oar in. Unless asked (and even then it requires skill), it is important to butt out. Only rarely have I asked, "May I offer a suggestion?" As for moving far away...ackkk...that's up to what God is doing, but I would not think it a requirement.

Be at peace, Becky. God is in control, not your seminar leaders. =D

Tracy said...

I am in total agreement with you, as you might well imagine. We lived about 20 minutes from our parents when we first wed, and I think it was perfect. We saw them every week or two, but Verne worked for his father and saw him 6 days a week, as well as seeing his mom a few times a week. I talked to my mom nearly every day- not confiding details of married life, but sharing joys, etc.

I think parents need to be wise in their involvement. Even if the married partners approach the parents together for advice, I think it best for the parents to help them think it through, arriving at at answer on their own- knowing what questions to ask, helping them to see scenarios that might occur from every angle. I don't think parents should just "problem solve" FOR the newly married couple.

Last but not least, the parents should never drop in unannounced. ;-)

Jennifer Westbrook said...

While I would never, ever want to get in between my son and his new spouse, and the it is very important for the newlyweds to "cling" to each other, I think it would be awful for them to be isolated from their family! I, too, recall seeing my in-laws and my own parents at least a couple times a month for dinner and family gatherings. I think it would have been very unnatural for us to not interact with them regularly.
I agree, though, that parents should never, ever stop by unannounced.

Jan said...

I believe your comments and the two above are valid - it does depend a lot on the relationship w/the parents. As we discussed...some parents can be too "interfering" and others may take themselves out of the picture far enough to not be supportive when needed. The big factor is the maturity of the newlyweds. They must be secure in themselves individually and as a couple to work through differences, seek help/advice (even from parents if they are a good resource) AND set boundaries when the parents - or anyone else - get "too involved". Of course it goes without saying that their first source of advice should be from God through prayer and His Word. Unfortunately some group discussions wander down bunny trails where people state their opinions without thinking it through. Although this was not the time and place for such a discussion, perhaps many have rethought their comments based on other people's responses and maybe being prompted to look it up in the Bible for themselves.

bananaorangeapple said...

I think you're right BUT there are many parents who would not do what your parents did and realise that it is time for you to fight your own battles.
If parents are meddlers things can go downhill.