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Shortly after our daughter married her husband, they moved to South Africa to assist in a ministry. I hadn't realized just how close the ties were between my daughter and me. She was used to coming to me with all her problems. She used to sit on my lap and hug me even as a young woman.

So when she married, we would get these long distance phone calls from a frustrated husband on the other end. He would say, "Dad, you gotta talk to your daughter."

What was happening was this: every time Fred made a decision, she would say, "That's not the way Dad did it!" and they would end up arguing.

Fred didn't know what to do with her. I had to tell her over and over, "He's your husband. He's a godly man, and you need to listen to him."

It took some time, but she finally learned. You see, at that point, if we had encouraged her to run to us with her troubles, which would make us feel needed, we would have started a cycle that would have had the ability to break their marriage.

As parents, we had to untie those apron strings and insist they work together as a team.  We had to teach our daughter not to prefer our advice over her husband's all the time.

Thank God Pat (my wife) never went to her folks with our troubles. I figure they have a hard enough time staying in faith over me as her husband, anyway.

Sound Advice
Whenever I went to Brother Hagin for advice, he would give me God's Word on the subject along with common sense and good, practical tips. He knew I didn't have a father who taught me properly in marriage matters, so he was patient and kind, but always honest and forthright with me.

I knew I could trust him his counsel, and he wouldn't try to manipulate me!

Manipulation is a form of control that can be devious and deadly to a marriage. Some parents haven't learned how to let go of their adult children. They can exert control in subtle ways the offspring may be accustomed to, so the child fails to recognize them.

These traits are handed down from generation to generation and, therefore, seem normal to family members. Guilt and condemnation are heaped upon those who attempt to loose themselves from the controlling grip.

Accusations such as "you don't love me anymore" or "after all I've done for your for all these years..." are common.

It takes a strong man to stand up to parental control, but it must be done to secure a good marriage. God's Word is clear on this issue. He set the pattern in the garden.

The two are to cleave together and become one flesh. Once married, a couple is a new family unit, even before children arrive.

Marriage is a precious, holy institution in God's sight. It is your responsibility to keep it that way in your own home by keeping your priorities in order.

Have The Right Priorities
Your first priority is your personal relationship with God. Next is your own well-being—spirit, soul and body. If you fail to take care of yourself, you are no good to anyone else.

Your next priority—before the kids, before work, before ministry, and before your parents—is your wife.

If your parents refuse to acknowledge your marital priority, you may have to have a loving but firm talk with them. If they have been controlling, you will have to take authority over this in prayer before speaking to them.

Sometimes parental patterns have been established for a long time, so you must remain steadfast and diligent to stick to your convictions.

Trust God to move on your behalf and show you creative ways to continue your stand. The trick here is not to push them away, but to show them you two are more than capable of handling your own life together.

Help them understand that while you might not do everything the way they would, you can manage to handle things to your own satisfaction. Reassure them their counsel is still valuable to you, and that you would like to be able to still call on their wisdom and experience when you feel you need it.

Correction in your own thinking and habits is necessary to walk free from unhealthy behavior. If you have been accustomed to running to your parents instead of God and every time you are in trouble or have a problem, repent and ask the Holy Spirit to help you correct your attitudes and actions.

Renew your mind to God's promises and acknowledge that He is Lord over your life in all areas.  Pray the prayer of agreement with your wife regarding family decisions and difficult circumstances, and expect God to move on your behalf.

Source: Man Husband Father by Buddy Harrison.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Buddy Harrison
Web site: Pat Harrison Ministries
Buddy Harrison and his wife, Pat, were co-founders of Faith Christian Fellowship International Church. He served as president of the organization from 1978 until he went home to be with the Lord on November 28, 1998.

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