We all know the Christian maxim that the best thing a parent can do to bless a child is to love the other parent well…
In my life I have seen a few what I would call A++ marriages. The husband obviously adores his wife. The wife loves being adored and is secure and content in the relationship. There is a discernible, ongoing physical attraction that most of us would associate with very new marriages.
But I have seen over the years often – to my complete surprise and mystification – that the children of the marriage do not do well. The only conclusion I have been able to reach – and this is by no means a real answer – is that the children are, somehow, not ‘drawn up’ into the relationship. And, honestly, I have not even quite known what I mean by that. But it is as far as I have been able to get in my understanding.
Well, Tim gave me the book “When Character Was King” when I saw him on Sunday. It is Peggy Noonan’s biography of Ronald Reagan. In it she touches quickly on this very phenomenon. Although she does not deal with it from a Christian perspective, she deals with it succinctly and clearly. See what you think:
“The writer Marie Brenner wrote in ‘The House of Dreams’ her biography of the Binghams, the great newspaper clan of Louisville, Kentucky, of the closeness of the patriarch Barry Bingham and his wife, Mary. They were like ‘two halves of the same whole’. Their union was so close, their relationship so consuming of the other’s self that….it left their children out. There was no room for them in their parents’ completion. Barry and Mary were The Relationship and The Relationship took the oxygen out of the room; their children went elsewhere to breathe.
The same, essentially, has been said of the Reagans. Their marriage was a small house with one room and it was theirs. All of the Reagan children have spoken of this in one way or another, that they felt at different times and to varying degrees kept away, kept out, and it is no doubt true.”
Life in a fallen world has such unpredictable elements, doesn’t it? So complex!
Is the basic problem simply the exclusivity of the relationship, as Noonan outlines? Could it be sexual overtones that children perceive on some level and are not able to deal with?
I don’t know.
I have simply observed it.