I have no illusions that my parents were perfect; in fact, there were times growing up I wanted them to get a divorce. But their faith in God always brought them back together for the sake of the FAMILY, not just for the sake of the KIDS. They shared a belief that their marriage was before God, and that their commitment was worth every sacrifice.
Like many others all over the country, I watched the Jon & Kate Plus 8 series unfold over the years with a knot in my stomach. I never quite understood fully what was going on until they did a recap, showing a scene from the early years, where Kate was explaining that, while the way she and Jon communicated was not respectful or pleasant, it got the job done. And they didn’t have TIME to work on it.
That said everything to me. I suppose a good marriage counselor could teach a couple how to communicate efficiently AND respectfully. This couple drained their “trust account” with each other by letting the other person get away with disrespectful behavior, one word at a time.
In contrast, the follow-up show was the “18 Kids & Counting” show about a very religious family in Arkansas, whose parents are NOT getting a divorce. When you look at the way they communicate with each other, it is with the utmost respect and kindness. I’m sure we don’t see all the imperfections, but we don’t have to, to know that this is a more effective way of keeping a relationship strong and healthy.
It’s not too late for Jon & Kate or anyone out there to learn to assert themselves in a respectful manner. From my experience, reacting to others emotionally versus communicating respectfully in the interest of the OTHER person is a VERY difficult habit to break, but absolutely necessary for any person wanting a mature adult relationship.
Even my parents have not learned this technique, but at least they were able to default to a power higher than themselves when an argument occurred. Rather than thinking, “I have been hurt, I must protect myself or I must protect my kids“, they thought “I must protect my family, it’s what God wants.” Big difference.