I was reading a writing that my daughter wrote the other day, referencing a song we both love, The Heart of the Matter by one of our favorite artists, India Arie.
As a parent you want to shield your children from painful experiences. And, I do believe that as parents we have to be proactive about teaching our children what healthy relationships are, and what they are not. Our children must be able to identify manipulation, even with misguided intentions so that they can use their power to say NO as necessary.
The Heart of the Matter is that break ups hurt. They just plain ole’ do not feel good. We as women were created to be a help meet. We came from the rib of Adam to support him in life, and to dedicate our lives to service and ministry. We can see that in Eve, we were also given individuality and our own set of independence or else she would not have had the freedom to make the huge mistake that she did.
I think about how to guide my daughter through decision making, weighing positive options against negative ones. I don’t want to be a dictator. She is old enough that I must help her to see all of her options and then walk through the options with her just like I repetitiously taught her ABC’s.
As I think about how much I love my daughter and never want to see her hurt, I can also remember a time when she must have felt that for me. I have met a beautiful man who is delicate with me. He is kind and loving, but I did not always have that.
I dated a guy that I would never want my daughter to date. We have all been there. In many cases, we are dating someone who is not right for us, the chemistry is off. In other words, he may be a woman beater with you, but not me. In other cases however, he may be a crazy woman beater who needs to be put to sleep. Whatever the reason that your relationship is not healthy, your children do mimick what they see and it may or may not be in you.
Children of battered relationships
If you are being emotionally or physically abused at home your child could be angry with you for not standing up for yourself and express their anger as the aggressor in your relationship does. On the other hand, your child may become like you, succumbing to relationships that misuse the word love, and which live out the video with Eminem and Rihanna, Love the way you Lie.
Less drastic are the relationships where people are simply not in love, and they just don’t seem to realize it. They walk past each other without kisses, they want their plate of food to themselves, they think of themselves first, and in many instances it seems that you live very separate lives.
I want to encourage you to examine your relationships. Think about this! What if I told you that you could have any kind of experience that you wanted, and money, time or relationship expectations were no option? What if I also said, that the type of relationship that you describe, your children would be able to have too?
I’ve written blogs about this before and I hope that you check out How to ask for what you really want and some of the follow up blogs to that one.
Today, my focus however is for those who are being emotionally or physically abused at home. You may be experiencing domestic or sexual violence and fearful of telling anyone. Being in a relationship where they person terrorizes you is terrifying. To wake up next to someone that could have murdered you the night before, and to walk around your enemy all day as if there is love, is harmful to your emotional and physical health.
If you are being abused, I want to remove the idea that you are loved. You are being handled, and tormented. You are being manipulated and used. You are being rationed and conditioned, but you are not loved.
God is love, and love is God- literally. God loved us so much that he sent his son to save those who believe in him so that we can live with him forever. As a child we always ask questions like, “Why did God…” We always want to know why God does what he does.
God has given us free will, because just as we love when someone is attracted us, has a crush on us, and desires intimacy with us, he does as well. He has chosen us, but he too wants to be chosen. He will not force his will. These are clear definitions and examples of love.
Love will not force itself upon you. Love conquers all (things), but God’s desire is not to conquer you. God is delicate with you. He loves you deeply and the way that he expresses love is in his giving. In your relationship, besides headaches, black eyes, weight gain, arguments, sex, drugs and or money, what expressions of love exist that remind you of God?
To all women who have children, know that they are watching you. Our children know what we are thinking and what you are going through whether we verbally express it or not. Not only are they observant, they love you. We teach our children how to become leaders, or lazy. We teach them how to make positive choices, and how to love.
Is your relationship teaching your child(ren) how to love? Are you in a relationship where you believe that if you have children, it would be the biggest mistake that you could make?
Everyone, in our deepest place of being desire to experience true love. We choose the life we live. You can bury your truth and settle for the lie, or you can challenge yourself to do something different than you have ever done; walk away.
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