Fostering Your Married Children’s Independence

Do you have children who are getting married? The scriptures say that they are to ‘leave’ you and ‘cleave’ to each other. What are the implications of that for you?

You must make it easy for them to leave. Don’t demand that they call you daily and keep you informed. Give them time and space to start their own lives. If you want to give advice, wait until they ask for it? Or, at least, ask if they would like your opinion. If you want to give them money, ask if it would be helpful. And don’t give your money in such a way that they become dependent upon you. Let them know that you love them and are willing to help, but want only what is best for them. You make it easy for them to honor you when you foster their independence.

Taking Advice From Your In-Laws

If your father-in-law gave you a really good suggestion that would save you much time and make your life much easier, would you accept it? Or, would you reject it simply because it came from your father-in-law? If you follow the biblical example of Moses, you would accept it.

Let’s face it, your parents and in-laws are older than you. It’s possible that with increased age, they have increased wisdom.
Why not take advantage of their wisdom? I don’t mean that you must always do what they advise, but why not give them a good hearing and then consider the merits of their idea. If it looks good to you and your spouse, then go with it, remembering that it is your decision.

Honoring Your Father And Mother

“Honor your father and your mother” is one of the ten commandments. It is not rescinded when we get married. We are told to ‘leave’ our parents, but that does not mean that we stop honoring them. Our parents gave us life. We are deeply indebted to them. Even if they were not the best of parents, we would not be here without them.

One way we honor parents is by keeping in touch: by phone, visits, or e-mails. Letting them know that we still love them and want them to be a part of our lives. Failure to communicate with parents is saying in effect, “I no longer care.” Honor means that we speak with kindness and respect. We look for things we can do for them, remembering what they have done for us.

Leaving Means We Are Building On A Foundation

The scriptures say that when we get married we are to ‘leave’ our parents and ‘cleave’ to each other. What does this leaving and cleaving look like in daily life?

It means that we no longer ‘lean’ on our parents, but on each other. It means that we do not allow parents to dominate our lives. We show them respect by listening to their ideas or suggestions, but we make our own decisions. We do not run to them with a list of our spouse’s failures. Parents are not in the best position to be our counselor.

Leaving means that we seek to be financially independent from
our parents as soon as possible. We are grateful for their contribution to our lives, but now we want to make our own way. Leaving means that we build upon the foundation which they have given us.

Leaving AND Honoring Parents Are Biblical Commands

For better and sometimes for worse, our parents and in-laws are a part of our lives. God designed it that way. We are told to honor our parents so that life will go well for us. We are also instructed to leave our parents when we get married.

This ‘leaving’ means a change of allegiance. We must see ourselves as a new unit after marriage. The husband is committed to his wife and she to him. However, ‘leaving’ does not mean that we abandon our parents. Rather, we are to honor them. The word honor means to show respect. It means treating parents with kindness and dignity. Leaving parents and honoring parents are both biblical commands.

Life’s Meaning Is Not Found In Possessions

In the midst of hard financial times, one wife said, “What we have discovered is that we can live on a whole lot less than we thought. It has really brought our family closer together. Now that we no longer have cable TV we are pulling out the games we used to play when the children were young. We’re all having great fun and we are building memories.”

This family demonstrates the biblical truth that life’s meaning is not found in possessions, but in relationships. It is my prayer that in the economic hard times we are having, people will turn again to God and to family. Then, with true satisfaction, we will reach out to minister to those who have even less than we. Serving others in the name of Jesus is the role of the Christian.

Our Security Is Not In Money, But In A Faithful God

Many would agree that these are troubled financial times. Many families are living under financial pressure. But for the Christian, money is to be our servant, not our security blanket. For many non-Christians, money is a sign of success.

All of their decisions are made in response to the question, “What offers the greatest financial advantage?” For the Christian, some things are more important than money. We have all learned that money can be ‘here today and gone tomorrow.’

But God is always ‘here’. He is never ‘gone’ today or tomorrow. So in hard times, we put our hand in His, and use whatever money we have to feed or families and help others. Our security is not in money, but in a loving and faithful God.

Our Trust Is In God

One of the benefits of trusting in God is that we don’t have to worry about money. Jesus made this abundantly clear when He said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear….Your heavenly Father knows what you need. But seek first His kingdom…and all these things will be given to you as well.” God is committed to caring for His children.

This does not mean that we are to sit back and expect God to do everything. There is an old German proverb that says, “God gives the birds their food, but he does not throw it into their nests.” We are to use the mind and body He has given us, but we are to do it in co-operation with Him. Our trust in is Him, not in selfeffort
and certainly not in government.

God As Your Business Partner?

Have you ever considered making God your business partner? Many couples have made foolish financial decisions because they left God out of the process. Those who seek God’s wisdom and make financial decisions based on principles revealed in Scripture will save themselves much heartache.

We are at our best when we cooperate with God. R.G. LeTourneau, one of the industrial giants of the
last generation said that when he made God his business partner, he went from a struggling business to a highly successful business.

The scriptures are clear: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all who ask.” Let prayer be your first order of business, not the last resort.

In God We Trust

In today’s economy, it might be helpful to remember the words that are printed on our money. “In God we trust!”

No matter how much money we have, it is still “in God we trust.” To trust in money to give life meaning is to trust in an idol.

C.S. Lewis said, “One of the dangers of having a lot of money is that you may be quite satisfied with the kinds of happiness money can give and so fail to realize your need for God. If everything seems to come simply by signing checks, you may forget that you are at every moment totally dependent on God.” Life’s meaning is not found in possessions, but in relationships – first with God, then with family and friends. “In God we trust.”