Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Marriage and Parenting

I read a book recently, called The Other Daughter by Miralee Ferrell.  A marriage is put to the test when a teen girl is dropped on the family's doorstep claiming to be the biological daughter of the husband.

This is a Christian based book so it is about the journey of faith of this family, in addition to how the family is shaped by the change.

There were several paragraphs that struck me.  If you are married or have children, you will be able to relate to them, especially if there are challenges in your marriage, such as children with special needs.

"Marriage isn't easy.  You both have to work at it, and I'm sure you know that.  Love is a choice, not a feeling.  We choose to love our mate even when the feelings aren't there, because it's what we promised to do.  The feelings follow the commitment.

Being a parent is much the same.  There are times we almost wish we could run away and not have to deal with the problems our children bring us.  But God placed them in our lives for a reason.  Sometime it's for their growth, sometimes for ours."

Any marriage goes through good and bad times.  There are things that happen in some marriages that can destroy it.  I've seen it happen.

When one person is working at the marriage, and the other is not, resentment can grow like you can't believe.  Marriage is between two people, not one.  The partner being taken advantage of must speak up in order for the marriage to survive.

Being a parent is hard work too.  Yes, there are times I have wanted to walk away from it, especially when we were going through the worst stuff with our son.  Often times I have wondered if he gained anything by being in our family.  I think he's gained a few things, but all he ever wanted was to be with his birth family.  I do know that I have grown and changed, drastically, because of what we have been through.

One thing I want people reading this to take away is the statement, "Love is a choice, not a feeling."

In the book it refers to the marriage.  I challenge you to think about those of us who are parenting children who have been abused and/or neglected.  Our children have a choice to love us.  Some do and some don't.  Our daughter loves us.  Our son....I'm not so sure.  I think he loves us to the level he is capable of loving anyone, but it's not anywhere near a "normal" relationship.

When you look at a family that is struggling, remember that the child was placed in that family.  The child doesn't receive a "love transplant" upon placement.  As hard as we try, we can't make a child love us, anymore than we can make a spouse or significant other love us.  Think of a time when you had a crush or were "in love" with someone who didn't return those feelings.  Were you able to "make" that person feel something for you that you didn't feel?  That's how it is with our kids.  Trust me.  If there was a way to make our children feel true love, we would do it!!!

I know there are people reading this that will be able to relate, and to you I say, You are Not Alone!

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