Why a Family Team Needs Covenantal Love

We want to talk to you about the importance of covenant love and building a multigenerational family. So we’re going to start with a quote a Howard W. Hunter said. One of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother. And it’s important to understand that what a family is doing, what your children are doing is rooting in the love relationship, the covenant bond between his or her parents. And that’s one of the reasons why God set it up this way. And so we want to talk a little bit about how critical that is to allow that sense of covenant love to really extend over your children, particularly when we live in a culture where there is so much breaking of covenants. It can become really difficult, because one of the things that could be really hard on a family, even a family that is staying committed to staying together, is any time there’s not the assumption of permanence in the family, and that is being threatened even for families where there is a lot of permanence, where there is a lot of stability. And so we want to talk a little bit about the importance of really giving your children that assumption of stability or the assumption that the covenant is actually solid.

And obviously you guys, we do live in a culture and we want to be really sensitive to the fact that there’s a lot of brokenness, there’s a lot of broken marriages and there’s a lot of us that are on a process of seeing that brokenness be redeemed. But this episode we really want to talk about the design of the family and the importance of that covenant. So, one of the things that I think is important for dads to say directly to their children, and I really kind of wrestled with this for a little bit, this actually came up when I think Kelsey was maybe five years old, we were playing in a playground, and it was the first time she talked to somebody who was being very open with her about the fact that her parents were divorced. And so Kelsey came to us and she said, what does that mean? What is she talking about? And well, we explained to her for the first time the whole concept of divorce and that it happens a lot. And I could tell the look on her face was like, is this normal or is this going to happen to you guys?

And I said to her, I will never ever leave your mother. And at first, I was struggling with like, can I say that to my kids? I mean, who could ever say, I will never ever leave your mother? And then I realized, I’ve already said that. That’s what I said when we got married. And so yeah, I just realized there’s a really weird tension going on in our culture because of that assumption of permanence is being challenged, and that can really cause problems for the stability in the family. But Jeff, what are your thoughts about this?

Yeah, I mean I totally agree. I think it’s clear that one of the most powerful things a marriage or a family can do is make the marriage so foundational to the daily story you’re telling, that the kids just so pick up on it and it’s so kind of bleeds over. And so, I come at this a little bit different because we have toddlers where I think we’re in more of the show, not tell, at least to this stage. Because like you said, they’re not five yet. And so for us it’s little things like making sure we don’t show that we have a kid centered home, and an easy way we do that is, and it’s not like I’m super ritualistic with this, but I try to make a pattern of when I come home, Alyssa’s the first one I greet and she’s the first one I say, how are you doing? And give her a kiss and a hug. And there’s plenty of times at the dinner table or at nighttime where it’s like, hey, me and your mom are having a conversation and you’re just going to chill.

And that’s not just from an obedience thing, that’s this is the thing. This is the orbiting center. This is the orbiting center and you guys are orbiting around this. And that’s how it’s going to be, that’s how we’re going to talk about it, and that’s how we’re going to show it. So I think for us, that’s kind of the way we try to do it with a two year old, and a four year old and a baby is just constantly kind of showing that picture of, this is the entity. Now our family’s an entity as well, but there’s kind of the concentric circles, or kind of the bullseye and then outward. And obviously Jesus himself would even be at the center of the bullseye, not the marriage, but you have to get that flow right.

And I think it’s really powerful when you do, because what’s interesting is there’s just so much data to support and anecdotes to support that actually when you do the reverse, it doesn’t go well for the kids. That’s when they start getting grumpy, that’s when they start getting selfish, that’s when they start getting demanding, that’s when they start getting entitled. There’s something about all of our natures, where when we get called to a story that’s outside of ourselves, it does something to like every domino falls in regards to character, and virtue and all these other things. Not every single one, but it just seems more like a natural click. And so, I would say that’s the same. So I don’t know if you have any final thoughts there how you’d wrap up?

Yeah. Make sure that you are putting your marriage, and that covenant and your love for each other at the center of the family. When Paul talked about building a family, he didn’t say love your kids, he said love your wife. And I don’t think that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want you to love your kids, it means the love you have for your wife is the establishing foundation of the family. And so, that idea and how that is impacting your children. You cannot underestimate how every little gesture you make towards one another in love and towards reaffirming the strength of your covenant, what that’s doing to the character of your children, what that’s doing to the stability of your home and what story that’s telling to the world. It’s so important. And so we want to again say, guys, we know there’s a lot of brokenness in the world and in each of our lives, but it’s important to go back to that design and to really understand the critical nature of that is how our families are being stabilized and rooted, and that’s where so much of the strength of the family comes from. And so we can’t let that core get weak. We have to invest in it.

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