Disclaimer: This is not so much a blog about Jon and Kate, but about how this seemingly ‘perfect’ family represents much of the good marriages today. I have been caught by the phenomenon of Jon & Kate + 8. I’m not a die hard fan, in fact I may have watched a total of 8 episodes, but the recent news of their marriage complications has caught my attention for several reasons:
1) The Train Wreck: About three seasons ago, Sarah and I were watching an episode, and while watching that we said, “this is going to go bad, this marriage is on a bad track.” We noticed two things: (1) Kate put Jon down a lot, and (2) Jon was the passive, weak male that just took it and let it build up. No marriage ends overnight, just like no strong marriage is built in a short amount of time. Why were they so blind? Kate even said in the first episode of this 5th season, “Very Swiftly we turned into two different people…” This is not true.
2) This seemed like a replay of our original parents: Eve saw the fruit as something that she could control, and something that would provide a quicker and more satisfactory way than God could. Eight kids is a lot, especially if one of the parents has to quit their job to take care of the kids (which I think should happen) thus cutting the income in half. The apple was presented: Television deal, book deal, and speaking engagements. This was a no-brainer, right? Well, lets see, when I read of God’s original plan for marriage, not so much. Where was Jon? Jon mimicked Adam, he passively stood by and allowed his family to fall apart…the majority of broken families are the result of a man who either passively stands by and watches his family fall apart as he stores up bitterness and anger; or an overly-aggressive man who emotionally and/or physically beats the trash out of his family…
3) It was all about them: I know that sounds harsh, and I know they said, many things like we do this for the kids, I get that; but have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do?” Do I truly believe they were trying to do the best they could do for the sake of the kids, probably…BUT, when you can say, “all we care about is the welfare of the kids“, and still resolve to divorce, then we’ve missed it at a core level. The best thing for a child to see, is not security, it’s not ‘stuff,’ it’s not money, it’s a husband and wife, totally committed to each other, CHOOSING to love each other through all good times and bad times. It is creating an environment in which the children get to see selflessness lived out in the form of sacrifice. When children see anything but this, we have simply reduced marriage to a momentary contract that is started, ruled, and ended based off of emotion and selfishness. No wonder our kids repeat what we do…
4) My heart breaks for these 10 souls, I’m just stating what I see, not judging. If I were to see a drunk man on the street and say, “he is drunk.” That’s not judgmental, that’s just truth. For Jon & Kate, they were not supposed to be like the other reality T.V. family break-ups, I mean these are the ‘Christians.’ These are the ‘moral’ ones. Maybe? Here’s what this shows, “People are people – period – and we all have at our core a selfish root that will fight for self when it gets pulled at long enough.” The problem comes in when we, Christian or not, think we can do life outside of God’s plans. When we do this it just wrecks, there is nothing we can do about it, and the generational consequences are horrible. I know some are thinking, “God’s a control freak…” Which is a very funny argument, because usually that same person says, “if God was such a loving God why doesn’t he step into the world and stop (a.k.a., control) everything that is bad?” So which is it, we want him to control or we don’t, we don’t get both! God is the creator of all things, and based off of that he made us to ‘work’ a certain way, not unlike a hairdryer (don’t read into that, I’m not reducing us to evolved hairdryers or monkeys for that matter). If someone decides to dry themselves off while under water they die. Not because the manufacture is cruel, but because he didn’t make the hairdryer to work under water. Same goes with our lives, God created us to reflect his selfless, love filled nature, and when we don’t do that in marriage, things wreck.
I’m not claiming I have it all together, I don’t, in fact, I think the only thing I have together is the realization that outside of God’s way of living, I would do as many men before me have done. There are two things I told Sarah before we got married, “I am going to be a hard person to be married to” and “and because of that, I promise you to love Jesus more than I love you.” At the age of 15 God called me out according to his grace filled plan. Jesus put me on a path that he would use to make me more into his image, by stripping me of me. Because I grew up in a Christian home (later ended at the hands of a selfishness) I simply thought God was gonna have to do some basic behavior modifications, I had no idea how wicked and self-centered my heart actually was. I had no idea that to follow this Christ was a call to recklessly abandon everything that was in opposition to his image, and that especially meant my love for self.
I was born out of a family that had been haunted by both extremes of men – pacifists and over aggressive men. Men who were out for themselves. Men who ditched their family for the love of power, sex, satisfaction, and money…In short, it seemed that the struggles that 3-5 generations ago of men had, had just been passed on from man to man, and have wrestled hard for my soul. This is not just me. Sarah and I have counseled more marriages in the past three years, that have at its core, passive, or overly-aggressive, selfish men, who by the power of the cross have changed.
My wife Sarah is a gift to me from God that is a constant reminder of God’s grace to me. From there God has gifted us with Serena, Ashton, Eden, and Eliana, who have owned my heart from the day I felt them kick in their mom’s stomach. I tell myself, how could any man forsake gifts so beautiful, I can’t imagine it…but here is what I know, except for the grace of God and my complete surrender to Him, I could make my family part of the growing statistic.
The night Sarah and I were married, I told Sarah, before we go anywhere and do anything, I want to do this right, so I took her hands, and as the man, the head of this new family, the first act I did as husband was pray over her, the family that was to come, and myself. Two years later we had our first daughter, and though she had my heart, I began to see the selfish issues that past men in my family warred against creeping up, and it was there, that I began to pray that God would save them from me, that God would protect my children from my sin, that they would never fight with anger, hate, pride and selfishness like I have. I began to ask Him to give me patience, gentleness and to hide from them my pride and idolatry while giving me the gift of discernment, and wisdom to humbly point them to the Jesus who was constantly working on daddy to be the best dad, leader, and example I can be, as I humbly admit my faults to them. I want the specific struggles that have haunted the history of men that make-up me to go to the grave with me and my brother. I watch and realize that Serena, Ashton, and Eden will have their own struggles, which is why daily I pray for their little souls, and do what we know to do by training them in the way of God. Sarah and I realize that the best way to show them how God is, is to openly live lives of self-denial as we selflessly pursue each other, but more importantly the God that we long to see them crave. Does this make Sarah and I perfect, by no means! Do I still struggle with selfishness, idolatry, and anger? Yep! However, because of the gift of regeneration, and a life committed to the glory of God, I can confidently say that the end of Jon and Kate does not have to be our fate, nor does it have to be yours! So, above your spouse, you must pursue the heart of Jesus so that you can love them the way Jesus destined you to!