“The House Don’t Fall When the Bones Are Good.”

Do you remember the game “Red Rover?”

“Red Rover Red Rover, we DON’T call the enemy over.”

It was one of my favorite games to play during recess. We would all line up in our two rows and call out players to “come over” until the teacher yelled for us all to line up & go back inside.

When I think about the way the devil attacks marriages, I kind of compare it to this game. You see, when the devil runs over to your marriage in an attempt to “break your chain” or in my analogy, hurt my marriage, I picture him running full speed trying to tear us down. When he doesn’t, he has to stick around. He then attaches himself in an attempt to continue to attack until he succeeds or is defeated. But in the scenario where he wins, or breaks through the chain, he then takes you back with him to his side.

I started talking to a young couple that had been married for 8 years and have 3 small children. Despite the amount of years being married, they were very young. It was during our conversation that they started telling me how hard it has been. The wife stays home while the husband works, they don’t have any family that live close to them, and they never get a break from their kids. In the midst of this conversation, they mentioned that they almost got a divorce last year. She said it was bad – to the point he was moving his stuff out. My heart broke for this young couple. Life is hard sometimes and it seems as if for some, it is harder.

Me and my family needed a break really bad. 2020 has been a roller coaster and we just wanted a few days out of town. We booked a couple nights at the Oprey Land Hotel in Nashville, TN. This is our home away from home. Nashville is where me and my husband met, Trevecca Nazarene University. This is where not only did I meet the love of my life and best friend but also where the foundation of my faith was strengthened. When we get a chance to go back we truely enjoy it. We make sure to take our boys to Trevecca and show them all the buildings on campus and all the other places we loved to go to that holds such a special place in our hearts. Even Oprey Land Hotel is special to us. When we were in college, we would go there to study and walk around. It was always a cheap date night. The boys love Nashville and especially the hotel. One night we decided to take the boys down to the pool and I took advantage of the hot tub. It was there I met this nice young couple. It amazes me that in just a few moments, and very short conversation, this young couple opened up about so much.

I wanted to spit up all my amazing, wonderful, and truly insightful knowledge I have on marriage and raising children because we have it all figured out ….. ya right. I did want to tell them everything we have learned in our 18 year marriage, through trials and mistakes, to help. But soon realized, instead, they needed a listening ear and encouragement. Every time they would say how they almost gave up, I said “But you didn’t!” I told them our scars are beautiful reminders of where we have been and that we made it through. I said when you have one working and one staying home this is such a stressful time on any marriage. The one at home is tired and ready to throw the kids at the one walking through the door (TAG you’re it!) and the one coming home from a long day at work is tired and just wants to rest. This is just the tip of the iceberg – this isn’t even discussing money or unspoken expectations each has for the other. Being able to be a stay at home mom was such a blessing but it is hard and this ended up being an unexpected curve ball that I never saw coming. I was able to stay home for 3 years with our first and it was amazing, but hard and hard for so many reasons that NO one tells you about.

It was through our conversation that it was clear this young couple never gets any one on one time with each other. They explained how they don’t have anyone to watch their children and that even the children sleep in their bed. I explained to them that we have always put our boys to bed at 7:30, now we are leaning to more like 8:00 due to their age. We have always had this consistent bed time routine for them and this allowed us to have time to get a few things done around the house and then have “our” time! This has been such a wonderful time for us to grow and keep our marriage strong. Guys lets all agree we need some time for us! We may want to have a glass of wine, play cards, or watch a movie snuggled on the couch. We have also always agreed on our children not sleeping in our bed. The way I look at this is once you have kids they are not to consume you and everything including your marriage. They are now a part of that but not the whole. I love my boys with everything I have, but I also know that is completely an unhealthy way to view it. You could tell this was a completely new way to look at this for this couple. In a marriage you have to work at it and continue to grow your friendship, because at the end of the day and 35 years later when you look over and an old grandpa is sitting next to you, you are gonna want that to be your best friend and partner.

There is so much coming at marriages these days. Sexual temptations, unrealistic expectations, selfishness, lack of contentment, and so much more. How on earth do we ever think we could possibly overcome these battles and struggles. We won’t! We can never overcome all of this on our own, we need GOD. We need God in our marriages and it is only with Him that we can overcome these many wolves that are waiting and ready to devour our marriages. We have to fight and really understand that our children need this also. They need both of us, both of us together. Now I understand that some times divorce is the best option due to many things like abuse and addiction. Divorce also is not always our choice, the other chooses this whether we want to or not. In both of these cases divorce is reality. Let’s be honest though in those cases the route causes are selfishness, lack of contentment, and falling to sexual temptations just to name a few. These wolves will destroy everything if we don’t stand guard and allow the ONE who can be our foundation and bones to “BE.”

There is an amazing song named “The Bones” by Maren Morris. In this song she sings about going through hard times and how ‘The wolves came and went, but in the end the House don’t fall when the bones are good”. Man this song gets me every time I listen to it. I even find myself screaming the lyrics when singing in the car by myself (I know that’s a sight). WOW it is so good though. Not sure if Maren has the same meaning as I do for the foundation and bones, but it is such a powerful song. When leaving this couple I turned to them and said I want you all to say next time it’s been 20 years married. He said, “wow me too!”

“No, it don’t always go the way we planned it but the wolves came and went and we’re still standing.”

Next time you’re going through it and think you’re tempted to allow the enemy to break your chain or your foundation, remember God provided you a wonderful blessing. An opportunity to learn to be more like Jesus by learning patience and forgiveness. You’ve now “built this right. Nothing’s ever gonna move it” unless you allow it to. Put priority on the foundation and then the rest is easy. “The paint could peel, the glass could shatter, but let it rain” – ’cause you (your marriage/your foundation) will remain the same.

The Bones – Maren Morris

I know this has been a little bit longer than usual and this has been our first blog in a while. Life has happened in so many ways, but we are now getting back to the place were we are able to have time to share. We both feel so strongly about the importance of putting our marriages first & couldn’t wait to collaborate together on our first dual blog post. We hope you’ve enjoyed it & encourage you to provide feedback! We will be posting more insights, rants, and funny stories so I invite you to sit and share with us.

So – Keep it Classy, Keep it Crazy!

J & K. 🙂

Raising Children When is it Complete?

When you are raising your children you hope you are doing a good job, at least you are trying your best. There are times you think your making it and other times you know the “Mother Of The Year” award will never have your name on it. Being a mother has been one of the hardest things I have ever done and the most rewarding. It has been an emotional journey that’s not over by a long shot. I hate when I hear mothers/parents say “I can’t wait until they are 18” like your job as a mother/parent magically stops on that day. The role of a mother, and father, is one that is a life journey. In many ways we raise our children until we take our last breath. Now, the word ‘raise’ takes on a distinct meaning as we enter the different stages of life. Raising can be taking care of the very important essentials like: feeding, bathing, doctor visits, and providing all the necessities for survival. Raising for us also means teaching them about God and His love for them. This is done through going to church, reading the Bible, and teaching the boys about praying and having a relationship with God. Another way we raise our children is by helping them understand social norms, how to interact with others, how to balance relationships & priorities, how to treat others, and to learn the basic skills so they can be productive adults. All of these things are also modeled by you, the parent. You set the stage as the example, please understand how important this is. It’s putting action to all the words you have been saying.

Children are not a distraction from more important work, They are the most important work.”

C.S. Lewis

Because the time we get with our children to lay these essential foundations is so incredibly short, we have to be engaged. Engagement with them everyday is very important. I know many parents that spend way too much time on their own hobbies, interest, and social life that they are completely missing the little lives in front of them. Just in everyday conversations with my boys I can hear from their own words what has gone on throughout their day. You can see what is important to them, what upsets them, and hear about their passions. These conversations also come with jokes I rarely understand, but they would never know that. I love to talk with them and hear stories about their friends and what all they did that day. Now my boys love to talk, but only when they initiate the conversation or don’t have “more important” things to do. Even when they don’t want to talk I still make them because I want them to understand that what is going on in their lives is something I put as a priority. I want them to know that I will always be here to listen and truly care about even the smallest details in their lives.

Another way my husband and I keep our children as our priority is by putting our relationship as a top priority. If we do not put our relationship over our children then our children will not have the environment that they need to grow and thrive. By putting our relationship at the top of this hierarchy they find security and comfort. Parenting is not just raising our children, but keeping our family strong. The foundation of our family is built on God and the walls are our marriage.

When our children are older and out of the house the word raising will look a lot different, but we will still play a part. They won’t need us to take them to the doctor, feed them, or provide the necessities – at least we hope not. We will, however, encourage them, listen to them, and give advise when asked. We won’t try to control them, but rather give then the space they need to thrive as productive adults. You have already placed the foundation during the early years, so the hope is when you get to this point you can watch the bird fly from the nest in complete confidence that they will soar.

-J