Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gen NeXt Marraige

Author Tricia Goyer recently sent me her latest book on marriage called Generation NeXt Marriage. Its written for those in my generation - Gen X (1964 - 1981). Since we've been talking a lot about marriage with these women of the Bible we've read, I thought I'd seek Tricia's advice for us Gen Xers in our marriages.

I wanted to know if Tricia thought there were unique challenges facing my generation in marriage and if so, how could we meet them. She offered up five challenges and her advice for addressing them:

1. Gen Xers saw more divorces than successful marriages. The divorce rate doubled between 1965-1977 and 40% of us spent time in a single-family home before age 16. We grew up in families with step-moms and half-siblings and living every other weekend with a different parent. As married adults, Gen Xers can meet their spouse’s need by speaking encouraging words, which are like gold stars to a Gen Xer’s heart … and by never using the D-word. As author Madeleine L’Engle once said, “There are a lot of marriages today that break up just at the point where they could mature and deepen.”

2. Without role models, many GenXers turned to music, movies and television for examples of healthy relationships. Now, we often we model our relationships after television sitcoms. We are good at quick comebacks and sassy remarks, without taking time to consider the other person’s heart. We also want our problems wrapped up in thirty minutes or less! Instead, Gen Xers need to understand that unrealistic expectations can hurt our relationships. We also need to treat out spouses with honor and respect, even when we don’t feel like they deserve it.

3. Our teen relationships were intense and often included sexuality, leading to intense breakups and the resulting baggage. By the time many GenXers walked down the aisle, they’d experienced several “pretend-marriages.” Spouses can break free from these bonds when we realize the truth about love, the truth about emotions, and the truth about intimacy. It’s knowing that what we had in the past wasn’t love … and emotions don’t rule. True intimacy is choosing to share our hearts and our struggles with the one we’re committed to for life.

4. Gen Xers were starved for quality time, so they appreciate balance. Doing too much stresses us out. The first thing Gen Xers need to do is realize the impact of our fast-pace lives, and then make plans for peace. It’s cutting out things that won’t matter ten years from now and focusing on the things that will.

5. Gen Xers were labeled the “slackers” and the “grunge” generation. The generations before didn’t think we’d amount to much. Because of this, Gen Xers strive hard to prove themselves. We aren’t content just “living life,” we want to reach our full potential. Spouses can encourage each other to follow their heart and fulfill their dreams. This starts with asking your spouse about his dreams, then offering encouragement and support!

Contributed by Tricia Goyer, author of Generation NeXt Marriage

Hum ... number four on her list really speaks to me. And number five motivates me to ask my husband this weekend if there are any dreams in his heart that he's not felt my blessing to pursue. Hope Tricia's insights were able to help some of you too.

14 comments:

  1. First of all, I'd like to say how much the Prov. 31 woman blog helped me. After being in an abusive relationship for 20 years, I'm just learning how to live, how to trust. You really gave me something to strive for. As I've been thinking about it this week, I really think I tried to be the Prov. 31 woman, but wasn't allowed to be, or made to feel like I wasn't. Make sense?

    I enjoyed reading about the Gen Next Marriage. BUT...I'm enjoying living life single right now. Life is good for me today!!!

    Thanks for all that you share with us. God speaks to me, through you, everytime I visit your blog.

    God bless you!!

    Kim

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  2. Thanks for sharing the GenX, what age group would you clasify as the "Gen X"?

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  3. Hi Rachel, this is very interesting, Gen Next Marriage author has some interesting insight and advices. This made me go hmm, thinking about being a role model to those who are my age and a loving supporter & encouraging my future husband.

    I'm going to take it all in and be the woman that loves, encourages, faithful, joy, gentle, and humble while I'm single.

    Today is a beautiful day, I hope you all have a great day!

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  4. Ugh. I saw myself in a lot of the descriptions of GenXers- growing up with step parents and with single parents, looking to movies and tv for rold models as a teen, doing too much...
    I'm so glad God's saving grace has changed my outlook on life and marriage.
    This advice from the author really spoke to me-
    -Understand that unrealistic expectations can hurt our relationships. We also need to treat out spouses with honor and respect, even when we don’t feel like they deserve it.
    -Make plans for peace. It’s cutting out things that won’t matter ten years from now and focusing on the things that will.
    -Asking your spouse about his dreams, then offering encouragement and support!

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  5. #3 spoke to me. Realizing that what I experienced before marriage was not love at all, and didn't have anything to do with real love, was a huge breakthrough for me. The idea that emotions don't (and shouldn't) rule was key in coming to terms with the truth...that love is a sacrificial giving, not an emotion that needs to be fulfilled.

    I've been so much happier since I realized the truth. Interestingly, today is my 9 year anniversary, and I posted about it on my blog.

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  6. I love these comments. I was amazed when I started working on this book how similiar we Gen Xers (born between 1961-1981) are!

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  7. Even though I grew up in Church and knew about God and Jesus dying on the cross for my sins, I was really influenced by the media as a teen girl. My outlook on what was sinful and moral was very worldly. It wasn't until I was married and starting a family that God spoke to my heart and I realized that what I thought was okay (because everyone was doing it) was actually sin to God. I am so glad for God's saving grace.

    Deb - Ohio

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  8. Very good read, Rachel. As a fellow Gen Xer, I agree with many of the points. In terms of marriage, I believe I feared commitment because I thought my marriage would mirror my parents. Gotta take the time to just let go and let God.... day by day I am learning....Growing up in the 80's, I loved being a "material girl" not I just want to be a "spiritual girl" instead. Be blessed :) Love you all :)

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  9. I really identified with numbers 4 and 5 on the list. I personally feel like they conflict within me. I get stressed out with all the busyness of life which means I need some down time (#4), but I also feel the pressure to not be a "slacker" (#5).

    My mom works at least 50 hours a week, is very involved at church, babysits grandkids on the weekends, etc. She is always busy. There is no way I could stay sane in her shoes. Compared to her (and a lot of others in her generation) I am a slacker, and I don't want to think of myself as lazy.

    On the other hand, there are parts of her life that are neglected - she hardly sees my dad during the week and I know he doesn't like it. I'm certainly not a perfect wife, but I think I try harder to keep balance between my husband, kids, work and housework.

    I know we're not supposed to compare ourselves to others, but it's really hard not to. Anyway, finding balance without feeling like a slacker can be hard.

    I appreciated the explanation on the P31 woman the other day. My mother in law has referred to the Bible (P31 in particular) a couple of times to show how she thought a wife was supposed to be. Somehow letting my husband (who enjoys cooking) do a lot of the cooking was neglecting my duties as a wife. I wish I could give her your summary of a P31 woman. It seems so much more within reach.

    Thank you to Rachel and to all you ladies for your comments.

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  10. I had no idea that some of the things I've experienced is a Gen X thing! Thank you for this head's up and for giving us some ideas on how to encourage and lift up our spouses regardless of what our pasts consist of!

    Many Blessings,
    Melissa

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  11. LaTonya in FloridaApril 24, 2008

    All of these speak to me, especially #3 and #5. I appreciate you sharing these with us. This is great. #3: After being molested by my step-father and not having my biological father in my life, in my teens, I started searching for love and a father figure in boys. I thought by giving my all including sex, that it would make them love me sooooo much. Of course, I am now saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but I still struggle with intimacy with my husband because sex was all I knew to do to connect with men. So, I would say and do mean things to my husband so that he could leave me (because I thought he eventually would like my father)but praise GOD that my husband loved me "in spite of". He is still loving me. GOD is healing me more and more each day and I realize GOD is my FATHER and that HE loves me very much. He is teaching and guiding me on how to be a godly wife. I have come so far since my teen years and I am still striving to become the GODLY woman GOD intends for me to be! Thanks for sharing this. It really was food for thought.

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  12. My husband and i have been talking a lot lately about what has "eternal signifigance." My best friend's (of 25 years) dad passed away this week, and he lived such an awesome christian example. His wife and 7 children are doing so in their handling of the terrible grief they are experiencing with his loss. This and other things have been causing my husband and I to really look at what it is we are doing with our time. We shepherd our youth group at church. We both have other full time jobs. He's a teacher, I am a nurse. We have a 7 year old and a 4 year old. Housework is usually very low on the list, but having a messy house gets on my nerves BIG TIME. All this to say I can see so much of myself in this GEN X info....Born in 1972. The perfectionist personallity, the desire to have more time to spend with my family. Thankfully my parents are wonderful examples of Christians who love the Lord so I don't fall in to the category of a single family household. I know I am rambling somewhat. Have just been at viewing hours with my friend and can't quite seem to get my thoughts on the screen. When our life is over, we can't take anything with us. The only thing that truly matters is how we have lived our lives, how we have brought glory to God's name, and what kind of legacy we leave behind us. Lord help me to know if my priorities are in line with what you would have me do. I love you so much.

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  13. Thanks for this added piece, Rachel. The 5 points speak words of understanding to my heart because I’m one with 7 Gen Xers—6 daughters and first-born son, plus a couple sons after that. I can’t say that I or their late dad would be the best role models—more often I’d say to my kids, “don’t do anything we wouldn’t do, and that gives you broad latitude!” And they were quick to find fault with all our inadequacies, so for the most part, as teens some went wild, but sought the Lord before any true damage set in. God can take each person just where we are and turn us around in His love so that we grow to acknowledge Him and step forth on His path. I keep praying, and listening to them brings such insight! I’ll have to get their response to your comments on Gen Xers in marriage.
    Just yesterday, one daughter (who is a step-daughter) replied to one of my emails angrily, but also in jest, declaring that “we are all SISTERS! And you’re not my stepmom! Of course, that’s not what the world looking at us can fathom, but…” Isn’t is wonderful what the Lord can do to bring a family together in His love! Patience and prayer and praise! I’m still learning.

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  14. Deb in Ohio said some of what I was going to say about myself. It's amazing how even though we are raised Christian, our values lose focus and become blurry as we grow due to outside influences. When we have children, our values are once again "refocused" and the new challenge becomes building a strong foundation for the next generation. When I look back on some of the choices I have made because of this blurred vision, I am ashamed. Because of that, I am trying to make it my priority to never lose focus again!

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