Why the Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Kids is a Strong Marriage!
“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6)
One beautiful Spring evening when our kids were still in elementary school, we decided to take a family walk together. The boys mounted their bikes, we placed Haylee into a wagon, and we all began our relaxing trek to the nearby Walmart where we intended to enjoy some ice cream.
A few moments into the trip, the boys were riding well ahead of us, and Dana and I began to discuss our upcoming family vacation options. Bad idea. I had one set of expectations and she had another. And just a few moments into our talk, it became a “discussion”—you know one of those very “un-fun” ones. I wasn’t seeing things her way, and she wasn’t seeing them my way, and so our friendly, family adventure became rather tense and frustrating. Haylee was too young to understand it, and the boys were oblivious to it.
A few blocks later—neither of us was enjoying the walk or winning the argument. But suddenly something dramatically changed our perspective. Without warning, two vicious Pit Bull dogs came running around a corner and headed straight for our family. They were hungry. Seriously—they had napkins around their necks, and bottles of A-1 sauce in tow. They were ready for some fresh family meat!
Needless to say, our argument came to an abrupt halt as we were suddenly confronted with a very real and dangerous threat to our children.
The boys immediately panicked, and like little girls, ditched their bikes, and ran wildly the other direction behind us—leaving me, Mom, and Haylee to be eaten alive. Yep—they totally freaked and had one thing in mind—saving their own hides.
As for me—I panicked too, but running wasn’t an option. Haylee was the most vulnerable of the five of us, and I didn’t have time to grab her and run and protect Dana at the same time. So, while my mind raced for possible options, I reacted with the only thing I could come up with on such short notice. It was weak, but I opted to stand in place, lift Haylee above my head, and let the dogs chew my knee caps off, while the rest of my family ran to safety. It was an instinctive response without much reason, and admittedly—stupid.
In a fraction of a second, I grabbed Haylee, lifted her over my head, and was about to shut my eyes, grit my teeth, and endure the crunching sounds when something unimagineable happened.
At this point, I should tell you, I had never heard the information I’m about to share. The appropriate response to a Pit Bull attack is to get angry, mean, and growl—barking louder and longer directly into the face of the Pit Bulls while bearing your own teeth. The idea is to confront the animals with something meaner than themselves! In short—scare the snot out of them. (You should file this information for future reference.)
Now, my wife knew this. Somehow she had seen this on a Discovery Channel special—and to put it mildly, she took it seriously.
Suddenly, something more scary than the Pit Bulls came bounding from behind me directly into the face of the dogs. It was mean—super mean. It was growling, howling, barking, and bearing teeth. It was jumping and pouncing—completely out of control. It was… my wife!
At this point, I’m standing wide-eyed, Haylee in the air, frozen in my tracks, watching my wife go balistic—no—NUCLEAR on a couple of unsuspecting Pit Bulls. I’m telling you, these dogs picked the wrong woman on the wrong day! And then something even more unbelievable happened. The Pit Bulls started back pedaling, wide-eyed, and ran the opposite direction faster than my boys had! They met their match and gave up without even a hint of courage.
To make matters worse, the owner of the Pit Bulls rounded the corner just in time to see my wife freaking out, and started yelling at my wife for scaring her dogs. Forgetting to switch out of Pit Bull mode, my wife simply turned and started screaming at the owner as strongly as she was barking at the dogs… “Yeah, well your dogs almost attacked my kids…” The owner then tucked tail and ran too!
Then, like someone flipped a switch, a calm settled back over Dana. She turned toward me, stood up, straightened her clothing, and looked at me in a moment of rather uncomfortable silence. Our eyes locked.
There I am, still standing frozen, baby in the air, now wondering if I’m about to be attacked by my wife. My first thoughts were, “Um… we can do whatever you want for vacation, Sweetheart!”
My first words were, “What in the world was that?!” (I was still hoping she wasn’t about to attack.)
And as calmly as you can imagine, she said matter of factly, “What? That’s what your supposed to do when you get attacked by a Pit Bull!” Like everybody in the universe knows this! In this moment I still can’t believe what I just witnessed. I married a wearwolf and never knew it! But what a handy thing this is in the case of an unexpected Pitbull confrontation.
Meanwhile, all the neighborhood was just staring out their windows saying, “Look at that guy’s wife—she just saved his life! What a wimp.”
Needless to say—I learned a lot that day. For one thing, I learned “Never mess with Dana!” She pretty much “gets whatever she wants” from that moment forward. But the greater lesson I learned was that our petty argument meant nothing in the face of a much more dangerous threat. A greater enemy called us instantly away from our selfish postures. Protecting our children called us to immediate unity and commitment.
That’s why your kids need your marriage to be strong. There is a greater enemy bearing down on them quickly—and you are their first and most important line of defense. If the enemy can distract you, weaken you, and fracture you (in your marriage commitment) then he will have a much greater success rate in ravaging your children.
What we need is more parents to go nuclear—to stand in the gap—to jump in between their kids and Satan. We need more parents to beligerantly but prayerfully growl, “You can’t have them! We stand committed and united in marriage to protect our kids—you’re not getting to them through us!” God honors that kind of passionate, committed parents.
Your kids need your strong marriage even more then my kids needed Dad and Mom to stop arguing and to engage in the battle for their protection. Stand united with your spouse, for the spiritual well-being of your kids!
The greatest gift you can give your kids is a strong marriage.