Nobody Teaches Us How to be Parents

Life hurts, and all of us have unresolved pain in our pasts. Why? It’s because we are human, and unfortunately, pain is part of the human experience. This pain accumulates in our hearts, begins to compromise us, and forces us to deal with it.

Family of origin theory speaks to this. All children must learn to be adaptive. The next time you observe parents of young children, listen to words like, “Stop that.” “I’m going to give you something to cry about.” “Stop running in the house.” “Use your soft voice.” “Don’t stick beans up your nose.”…don’t, stop lots of stuff. So little children who have no idea what their bodies can do are constantly being told that it’s not OK to be a little child…so they have to adapt to their parents’ desires.

So from birth to about 10-12, we tell our children to sit down and shut up…and by that time they get it. From about 12-20 they are reduced to one word answers and we find ourselves telling them to stand up and speak up.

By the time they get to adulthood and begin the search for a mate, subconsciously they begin to look for someone who represents the worst characteristics of those who raised them (hence family of origin). So in addition to the visceral attractions of face, body, voice, etc., there is the nagging sense that this looks a lot like the unfinished business from my childhood. Perhaps this time I can get it right.

Insidious, but true. When that relationship begins to develop, we are surprised when we begin to bump up against each other in ways we never thought possible.

Here’s the key to all of this: Your mate holds the key to help heal the brokenness of your childhood and to lead you to more Christ-like character. It’s a bumpy road, but sticking with it and learning how to heal each other’s hurts pays huge dividends.

Sometimes we deal with it the right way. We give it to God and bring it into the light. But sometimes the devil builds walls of fear and shame around our hurts, forcing us to keep them in the darkness. That’s a terrible choice, because we will never find healing for life’s wounds if we keep them hidden.

There are three essential requirements for emotional healing from these wounds:

1. The first is honesty before God. You have to open your heart to Him and trust Him with your pain. There is nothing you’ve done-no abuse, no failure, no fear-that will make Him reject you.

2. The second is responsibility to God. After giving your pain to God, take responsibility for your behavior. Own your part. Life itself doesn’t form you, but your response to life forms who you are. You are not a victim of your parents, your siblings, or your friends. You are not helpless.

3. The third is mercy from God. This mercy not only applies to those who have hurt you, but also to you personally. Over the years, I’ve found that many people struggle with self-forgiveness more than any other kind. They believe that God forgives, but sometimes they refuse to forgive themselves for things they’ve done.

One Final Note

We all have unresolved pain, but God can take those hurts and turn them into something that not only draws us closer to Him, but blesses others. Give your deepest wounds and failures to Him today.

And choose to live in the light of God’s mercy and grace in the company of your mate who is completing part of who are meant to be.