***This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Michelle!***
My friends Ruth and Patrick Schwenk have written a terrific marriage book titled For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House. Isn’t it true that the demands of parenting can eclipse the promises we made as husband and wife?
I know you’ll enjoy and get a good laugh from this guest post by Ruth Schwenk.
It Takes Two to Bring Them Up in the World
Patrick owns very few pairs of dress pants. In fact, the gray pair he chose the day of his final interview for a senior pastor position were what you might call his “lucky” pants—dressy but casual pants he had worn for years. He always said they were the perfect fit. They had been faithful during our college years, our wedding reception, numerous funerals and weddings, and now, a huge interview.
The night was to be a “meet and greet” with the core group of the church. From 2:00 to 8:00 p.m., we were expected to mix and mingle with about eighty to a hundred leaders, volunteers, staff, and members. The former pastor of twenty-five years and the elders were already present and waiting to greet us as soon as we entered the home of the chairman of the elder board. Make it through this gathering and the job was his. This was big!
After about an hour’s drive, we pulled up to the home and briskly walked up the front walk. I was trailing behind Patrick, and as we walked something caught my eye. Not only was this third and final interview big, so was the gaping split by the back pocket of Patrick’s “lucky” pants! Not only that, it got larger with every step he took. The split was so big you could see through his pants to his underwear. The discovery came a little too late.
I tried not to sound too alarmed as I leaned forward and whispered, “Honey, I need to tell you something, but there isn’t anything you can do about it right now. You have a huge hole in the back of your pants. I can see your underwear.”
No sooner had those words come out of my mouth than the front door swung open.
As we were warmly welcomed in, I saw Patrick reach back to verify my observation. We were all smiles, pretending that everything was fine and dandy, when the truth was we were filled with a sudden onset of fear and trembling. For close to six hours we worked together like a well- synchronized ice-skating couple. Whenever Patrick moved, I followed. Knowing that he was “exposed,” Patrick did everything in his power to stay close to me or keep his back to a wall, which proved to be very difficult in a room with fifty to a hundred people. We managed to keep in step, staying close with every turn and conversation. By God’s grace, and a lot of effort, we managed to get through the night. Perhaps an even greater miracle was that the church offered Patrick the job later that week!
There have been countless times since then when we have had to function together as a team, but that night ranks close to the top! We laugh about it now, but at the time, it was horrifying. Together, we faced the challenge and succeeded. The challenge to love and look out for each other once kids come along requires a lot of working together too. Kids quickly expose our weaknesses. Living out God’s plan and purposes in marriage and family requires that we come alongside each other to parent as a well-synchronized team.
Parenting is not just one spouse’s responsibility. It takes two to bring children into the world, and it takes two to bring them up in the world.
It is a team effort. The Bible doesn’t prescribe every detail about who should do what when it comes to marriage or parenting. There is a lot of room for deciding the best way to live life as a married couple with a family. As a result, every spouse must give 100 percent to the other as they work together to determine how to best accomplish the demands of family life. If we are going to keep our vow to love our spouse with kids in the house it requires working together as a team!
Patrick and Ruth Schwenk
Patrick Schwenk is a husband, father, and pastor. Ruth Schwenk is a wife, mom, and blogger. She is the coauthor (with Karen Ehman) of Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe & Why We All Need to Knock It Off and Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus. She and her husband are the creators of FortheFamily.org and TheBetterMom.com. Patrick and Ruth have been married for more than seventeen years, have four children, and have been in full-time ministry for over fifteen years. They live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
To win a copy of For Better or For Kids, just leave a comment below about why you would like to win the book. US entries only please.