The Importance Of Children To Marriage - They Are Humble Reminders

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, February 27, 2014 0 comments

There have been several recent examples in the world of sports of how children allow the athlete to put his struggles into perspective. Less than an hour after the Denver Broncos were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks in one of the most lopsided games in Super Bowl history, Broncos defensive end Shaun Phillips texted his son Jaylen and said, “Sorry I let you down”. His son responded, “It’s okay daddy, you’re still my hero”. Phillips was so touched by it that he shared it with the media. Two weeks later, PGA golfer William McGirt was entering the final round of a tournament with the lead for the first time in his career. I watched his interview where the reporter asked him about the pressure and he said, “At the end of the day, there’s a 13-month old at home who I’ll get to see tomorrow and it won’t make any difference to her whether I shoot 65 or 75”. Finally, if you’ve watched much of the Winter Olympics, you probably saw the commercial of the skier who goes into the locker room after a frustrating performance and is visibly upset when he gets a notification out of the blue on his phone. He checks it and it’s a video message from his son saying he can’t wait to see him. The athlete’s demeanor changes instantly when he realizes what’s truly important.

In Monday’s post, Katie talked mainly about the importance of marriage to children. For the sake of providing something new, I’d like to address why children are important to a marriage. You see, athletes aren’t the only ones who lose perspective sometimes. It’s easy for husbands and wives to get so immersed in the problems and frustrations they have with one another that they literally can’t remember what brought them together. Instead of thinking good and loving thoughts when they interact with each other, all they can think about is pain and disappointment. It is in those moments that the couple could use a reminder of humility, unconditional love, and trust from their children.

Jesus himself recognized the proper attitude displayed in children. In Matthew 18, he used it to teach his disciples about what’s necessary to enter heaven. The disciples had just asked Jesus who would be the greatest in heaven (v. 1). To answer the question, Jesus calls a little child before them and says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (vv. 3-4). What? But these are his DISCIPLES. Aren’t they like super-Christians or something? Evidently, whatever standing we think we have with Jesus is irrelevant if we can’t adopt a childlike faith, trust, and humility. But this wasn’t the only time Jesus used children to demonstrate his point.

We see in the very next chapter that Jesus addresses something that was unfortunately connected to marriage back then just as it is today – divorce. You can read the story in Matthew 19 on your own, but I’ll tell you that the Pharisees were putting Jesus to the test with questions about divorce. According to Enduring Word Media Commentary, there were two separate Jewish rabbinical schools of that day that had opposing views on grounds for divorce, and whichever one Jesus sided with would either make him unpopular or show that he disregarded the Law. According to this same source, the Jews of that day considered marriage to be a sacred duty and if a man remained unmarried after the age of 20, he was breaking God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply”, which we have discussed in other blogs this month. However, their very lax views toward divorce showed that they had a low view of women. Knowing this, Jesus addressed marriage instead of arguing grounds for divorce, saying, “What God has joined together, let man not separate” (v. 6). Jesus’ point was that it is God who brings together two very different people to become one, meaning the married couple should do everything they can to honor and uphold what God has created.

After the Pharisees and even his own disciples didn’t seem to be changing their view of women and the marriage covenant, Jesus tried another approach. Right after this teaching on marriage, he allows children to be brought to him so he can lay hands on them, pray for them, and bless them (vv. 13-15). Again, he addresses the need for a childlike attitude to enter heaven. “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (v. 14). Do you think Jesus was making a point to his disciples about their attitudes by presenting children to them two different times that were so close to each other? And why allow these children to come to him after his teaching on marriage and divorce? I’m thinking he was trying to remind both his disciples and the Pharisees of the unconditional love, trust, and humility that are needed to preserve the marriage that God has made.

You can’t expect to make a marriage work without humbling yourself and changing your view of your partner, loving them despite the pain you’ve experienced, and trusting them completely. Those are exactly the attributes we see in children. Even when you’ve failed, you know your children still love you. You know they trust you even when you don’t feel trustworthy. Most importantly, children willingly humble themselves and depend on you. If you are married and God has blessed you with children, or even if you don’t have your own children but interact with those of others, I encourage you to let them be a reminder to you of how you should treat and view your spouse. Be willing to completely trust your spouse no matter what. Learn to love them even when they fail you. Commit to being humble to the point of depending on them because God has made it a PARTNERSHIP for a reason. When you have a hard time practicing any of these things in your marriage, just take some time to watch children. It will put things back into perspective for you.