This chapter is little shorter and does not include as much “meat” as the first 4 but a much need one for sure. It seems he mainly focuses on becoming an adult when you get married and actually LEAVING your father and mother to become connected to your spouse. I like the examples he gives (mother that seems to have latched on, working in family business, and the emotional baggage of a rotten childhood). Also, it’s important to establish a new relationship with your own parents.
When my husband and I got married I had already physically moved 500 miles away from my family. We don’t have many issues with that in-law situation. I love his family. We actually live right beside them. They respect our space and we respect theirs. Our issues came when my sister-in-law got remarried and we started having issues between her stepson and my son. So much so that we had to move our son to another school. My husband and I both felt like they did not support us through the situation. We do not have family get togethers (we do get together with my in-laws with just our family) and we don’t have a relationship at all with my brother-in-law. This has devastated me because when I married my husband I got a family I never had. We still have unresolved issues that I am leaving in the Lord’s hands and praying that one day everything will be resolved.
In-laws can be a huge issue in marriages (and so can parents). We have already experienced this with some of you ladies in the first 4 chapters. I love the points: To Cleave, You Have to Leave, Leaning on Ourselves, and Moving Out and Moving On. Leaning on ourselves is something I really struggled with. Because I come from a divorced home I carried many immature “resources” into our marriage that I did not realize. I had to grow up and learn to lean on myself. The rest of the chapters covers great advice on how we can grow and move out of childhood and into adulthood.
Here is a brief summary of some thoughts from this chapter (feel free to ponder them and answer in the comments below if you are comfortable sharing)
- Have you realized that your parents were not perfect (disillusionment)?
- Have you become aware of how truly influential your parents have been on your own development but not blame them for it (awareness).
- You have to acknowledge any resentment you have toward your parents and figure out in what ways you are still too needed of them (self-confrontation).
- Have you addressed any present patterns that you don’t like with your parents and what was the outcome (self-representation)?
- Do you need to forgive your parents? Are you willing to?
So, let’s put away childish behavior and engage in an adult relationship with our own extended family, grow up and engage in a direct adult relationship with our in-laws (p. 127).
Discussion questions for this week….pick as many as you’d like and answer below in the comments:
1. Do you rely more on your spouse or your parents when it comes to decision making, advice, etc?
2. What are some emotions that come up when you think about your spouse’s relationship with your parents? Your spouses relationship with his/her parents? What about your relationship with each of them?
3. What do you think about the statement: principles are more important than people. Loyalty to principles means that your behavior is governed by something far larger than other people’s opinions, whims, and insecurities, including your own (p.133).