I just finished watching TLC's Jon and Kate Plus 8 season premiere. I started watching this show off and on about a year ago, and I must say that I left this episode extremely disgusted at the perspective and responses from both Jon and Kate regarding the issues they've been going through. I'm not one to give credit to tabloid rumors and regardless of what did or did not occur, the attitude that these two people have taken was enough to (almost) bring me to tears.
I remember watching the episode where they renewed their vows in Hawaii (just one year ago, in "good" times, to show their children they'd be together forever) and here they are, in "bad" times, talking about (in a round-a-bout way) divorce. They both said things like "it doesn't matter what our relationship is, as long as the kids are the priority and taken care of..." It was enough to make me want to get up, off the couch, and shake them! They were talking about themselves and the focus was all on them. I could just see the self-pity in their responses - neither wanting to take blame for the status of their relationship. I know it's complicated, and I'm just a viewer, but I'm a viewer who sees 8 gorgeous, innocent children who could potentially face life-altering changes if their parents don't get it together.
Raising children is not about where the kids live or what they have or what they get to do. It's about having the two people they admire, respect, and are in love with the most be there - together - for them always. When someone becomes a parent, they lay down EVERYTHING for their children. They must sacrifice all their desires, dreams, hopes, loves, and hobbies in their own lives so that their children can have their own desires, dreams, hopes, loves, and hobbies. But parents must also remember to nurture their own relationship because this lays the foundation for the love they have to demonstrate.
Marriage is hard and if anyone believes it's not, they have a big awakening in store. There are many times I have thought back on my life before a husband and child and desired my former "uncomplicated" lifestyle. However, the glue that binds us together is the fact that we have committed to divorce is not an option - it's not even in our vocabulary. With this off the table, our only option is to work out whatever comes between us - and let me tell you that, in a world that longs to break down the beauty and structure of the family, there is much that can come between us.
I used to be slightly envious of the position Jon and Kate were in - lots of beautiful kids, a gorgeous home, and the ability to speak and be influential in the public eye. However, this has all changed. I would never trade the security I have in my marriage and family for anything in the world.
As I head to bed tonight, I offer up this day in the Novena to the Holy Spirit for all families - especially broken families. I offer my prayers for Jon and Kate and Bob and Sally and whoever else needs the grace of the Holy Spirit to get through rough times with their spouse. I know for sure I need this grace on a daily basis, as we all do.
Yet, my heart is truly, truly breaking. It is breaking for the children left to grow up in a broken world, in broken homes. For children who do not fully know the love of God through their parents, and for children who don't have the security of the family the way God designed it to be. Having my own little girl and knowing that she will have a mom and a dad who will love one another forever makes me strive to love Michael more. I can't change the crazy world out there but I can make sure this home, my family is full of so much love and peace. I can make sure to do my best as a mom and a wife. And I can make sure to pray everyday for marriages and for children.