I want to tell you how proud I am of you. You are a godly man, husband and father. Thank you for working hard every day at your job, so that my sweet daughter in law can stay at home to raise my precious grandchildren.
As you well know, I was blessed to be able to stay at home to raise you, and your siblings. Your father worked so hard at his day job. and then came home every night to run the farm. The same farm that had always been worked by at least 2 men, he now managed alone. But he was never really alone. God’s grace and love and provision were new every morning.
Yes, it was difficult work and long days, but your father would agree that it was worth it. It was also a difficult season of life for me, and that is what prompted this letter. You have started your own family, and are following in your dad’s footprints of working a day job and then coming home to farm. Your daughter just turned 2, and your son is 6 weeks old. It’s a very busy time for both you and your wife.
I wanted to share a few tips that your dad and I have learned along the way that have strengthened our marriage and helped to maintain a sense of unity during this very busy and intense season of life.
- It is of paramount importance that you remember, at all times, that raising young children is very hard work. It is like NO other job. There is no manual. There is no normal. One day everything can run like a well oiled machine, and the next can be total chaos, seemingly without any visible changes to the day before. So, when you come home from work, be gentile and prepared to support your wife.
- In addition, when you come home from work, don’t ask your wife, (whom I will now refer to as C in this email), what she did all day. Chances are good that she won’t be able to tell you ONE thing. The day might be a blur. She probably hasn’t had her morning shower or devotions by the time that she is making your supper. The fact is, she accomplished many things, but they were probably quickly undone, and had to be redone, over and over again.
- C needs to vent. The easiest and safest person in whom to unleash her frustrations and concerns is YOU, her best friend. So, be prepared to listen with grace and mercy. She doesn’t want you to FIX IT. You probably can’t, JUST LISTEN.
- Suppers may not be like the ones that you remember growing up. The house may not be kept up like the one in which you grew up, or managed the way that your mother did, (and in YOUR case, can I shout Hallelujah, because C is much better at both of those than I was), but you didn’t marry your mother, and it will take time to establish the family hone.
- You need couple time. If money for babysitters is a problem, barter time or services with friends. I made a supper for a friend in exchange for 2 hours of babysitting each month. Decide on a scheduled time when you two can go out alone each month, or week, and guard those times. Make them a priority. Try to take a trip overnight, or for a weekend every year, or every other year, depending on pregnancies, and nursing babies.
- C needs time out alone every week. It’s a priority. Three or four hours away from the home each week will be multiplied several times over with a fresh outlook and motivation for her to accomplish necessary tasks and appreciate her many blessings.
- C needs spending money. I used to call it ‘tin can’ money. We used the envelope method for our budget. A predetermined amount of money would go into the food envelope, the gas for the car envelope, the tithing envelope, etc. Left over money each month, would be thrown in a tin can for ME. I am not suggesting this system, but it’s important that the subject is discussed. I often felt that since I wasn’t working outside of the home and bringing money in, that I wasn’t worthy of spending any, except on essentials for the family.
- Know that C appreciates your hard work, she just doesn’t say it often enough. No wife says it often enough, but it’s only because there is SO MUCH on her mind, she has to manage her thoughts and actions in order of immediate importance.
- Understand that your children are not more important to C than you are, but you can dress and feed and take care of yourself, and she is responsible for others who can’t. If it seems like she is continually meeting their needs,it’s because she is…..if not her, who?
- Raising young children is like building a foundation. It must be firm and able to withstand stress and pressure from elements in the world. You are training the next generation of warriors for Christ. It takes prayer, time, tears, hugs, kisses, time, and did I mention time and prayer?
God has brought you and C together and has blessed you with 2 arrows to raise for Him. I will always be there for prayer support and any other help that you need. There is no more important job on this planet than raising your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
I am so proud of you and C.
Love you J and C,