Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Having Children Early Saved My Marriage {A Shout Out to the Dillards---Congrats!}

Derick and Jill (Duggar) Dillard have just announced they're expecting their first baby. Fans of the show, 19 and Counting, couldn't be happier and critics couldn't be more vicious. I don't know why we're always compelled to read the comments in a "controversial" article. I guess there's something in us, deep down, that wants to know where our viewpoints lie in relation to the rest of society. I find I'm usually in the minority---shocker, right?

Many are saying it's too soon, after their wedding only two months ago, to be announcing a pregnancy. Many others are saying things I won't repeat. Lots of well-meaning Christian-folk are saying, "Well, I'm happy for them, but it's too bad they couldn't enjoy being married first."

Ah, yes. Because once the babies start coming, your marriage is never the same again. They change everything. No more freedom. No more sleeping in late or romantic dinner dates. No more "just the two of us".

Jamie and I heard these exact same sentiments when we discussed having a family right after our wedding. Thank God we didn't listen to the haters. If we had, there's no way we'd be married right now and what's more, we probably wouldn't have the slightest interest in serving the Lord, either.

Our society is so turned around from what God intended, that we're accusing the very things that were meant to keep us together of being the things that are tearing us apart. Children are meant to seal a man and woman together as a family. They're the one flesh that is created when the two become one. They bring a married couple hope. They solidify their future. They give us a reason to stay together when all we want to do is run. 

When I was 11 or 12 and my parents were talking about divorcing, I remember the topic of "staying together for the kids" was a big one. I used to think that was so pointless. If you can't work it out, then what's the point of staying together just for us, I'd think. Now I think differently. Sometimes we're so caught up in our own pride, selfishness, and frustration, that the kids are the only reason we're not walking out the door---and that's totally ok.

Jamie and I married young---even younger than the Dillards. He was barely 19 and I was still 18. We didn't know much about keeping a marriage together, we didn't know how to communicate, we didn't understand traditional roles, we didn't comprehend how big of a part God should play in a marriage. All we knew was that we desperately wanted to do things differently than our divorced parents had. We wanted this marriage thing to work.

Everything was peachy until Lynzie showed up four months after my twentieth birthday. Suddenly, I was faced with something massive that neither I, nor anyone close to me, understood: post-partum depression. After that, Jamie and I went through trial after trial. I'll save you the details, but I'm bringing it up to make this point:

  • The thing that saved me from cheating on Jamie with an old boyfriend? Baby Lynzie.

  • The thing that brought me home after drinking all night with friends? Baby Lynzie.

  • The thing that made me stop being physically abusive to my family? Baby Lynzie.

  • The thing that pulled me off the train tracks on a particularly bad night? Baby Michael.

  • The thing that caused me to quit working and focus my attention at home? Baby Elisha.

  • The thing that helped me realize it was ok to be a feminine lady? Baby Selah.

  • The thing that completely turned this whole mothering thing around? Baby Hope in Heaven.

  • The thing that is teaching me not to take this "baby a year" thing for granted? Baby Brenna.

As a large, homeschooling family living in Northwest Arkansas, we and the Duggars have several mutual friends and acquaintances. We were at a party earlier this summer and the Duggars and Dillards were also in attendance. Like most monthly-weds, Jill and Derrick were receiving lots of congratulatory hugs and smiles. Like most monthly-weds, they had that starry-eyed look that so many people think goes away after time. 

Critics, well-meaning or not, think the Dillards, and other families like them, are losing something by having children right away. Oh, how very wrong they are! Derick and Jill have everything to gain by solidifying their marriage with children. Children bring a Christian marriage stability, focus, and direction like nothing else can. 

Because, even one of America's supposedly "perfect" children is going to have days when all she wants to do is punch him.

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  1. This post made me smile. Thank you for sharing your heart and encouraging godly motherhood. I had to chuckle at the way you ended your thoughts. Babies are truly a gift from our Great God!! Blessings to you! Camille

  2. Beautiful post! I am so happy for them. God always works for the GOOD! :)

  3. Oh, Sarah! *tears* I had no idea you'd been through so much, and you make excellent points. Love your heart's message! :-)

  4. Beautiful thoughts! Thank you so much for sharing! <3

  5. Beautiful post! Thank you Sarah for sharing your heart. Let me add that while children are a wonderful reason to work out a marriage the standard for a Christian is higher.

    Several years ago statistics came out stating that Christian couples married between 20-25 years were the 2nd highest rate to divorce. (1-5 years was the first). Obviously, at that point most of the children are grown and out of the house therefore those that stayed together for the children now felt justified to divorce.

    The Christian marriage is even more than the children or the family – it is about giving God glory. The Christian marriage is not about “me” or even “we”. It is all about “He”! Wives are to submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord.” It is all about Him! Husbands are to love their wives, “even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Again, it is all about Him! When we view our marriage in light of the testimony we are giving to the unsaved world, it greatly motivates us to have a God-pleasing marriage.

    You have a beautiful family and I feel honored to know you!

  6. A heartfelt post Sarah. I feel that it's different for everyone. We were only married a year and a half when we started our family and we had developed a wonderful relationship. Our new baby just help it to grow even more. I do think that if couples wait too long that they become too set in their ways and it's harder to adapt and grow together. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  7. Children are given to us as a gift and I loved how you can relate to each of your children as a gift that help you a struggle in your life.


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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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