In any homebuilding, a blueprint and detailed plans are essential to make sure the house comes out as envisioned. Adjustments and improvements could be made along the way but the basic foundation, structure and materials need to be well-planned and well-chosen for the house to last a long time. In the same way, strong marriages and stable families do not just happen by chance. We cannot just wing it or go by trial-and-error because what we build into ours and our children’s lives stay a long time, even for generations. We also cannot just settle for how our parents did it or the best advise we can get from books or internet although those may be helpful. With regards to principles and perspectives to provide the proper foundation and strong structures to guide our family-building, nothing beats tested and proven ones that come from the Creator Himself. Malachi 2:15 points out: “Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.[ So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.” Psalm 127:1-2 also says,”Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil—for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.” The principles and decisions I shared in this series have been obtained from a personal relationship with God and wisdom from His word regarding His blueprint for marriage and family life. We experienced the reality of those truths when applied to our lives. Not only to us but countless others we know.
In 2018, our team conducted Bible-based parenting classes called P4S in two Quezon City public schools. Parent attenders (32) and their children (28) who volunteered were interviewed and engaged in discussion after the program ended. They shared about changes in their lives brought about when they started applying biblical marital and parenting principles into their lives.
Many parents admitted to abusive discipline practices both physical and verbal (68.8%), uncontrolled anger (68.8%), and spousal fights and infidelity (34.4%) in their families, and these were collaborated by the children. Their statements were: “Kapag may mali siya, tapos iyong palasagot siya, sinisilihan ko po siya.” “Madalas marahas, napapamura, nasisigawan, napapalo.” “Bigla ko lang silang masasampal dahil sa galit ko.” “Basta kasi kaunting kamali lang talaga sa akin, grabe talaga ako mamalo wala akong paki.” “Hanger laging putol, kung di po sinturon.” “Dati po magagalitin ako, mabilis uminit ang ulo ko na kung anu-ano lang ang pagmumura ang lumalabas sa bibig ko, totoo po yan”. These conditions seemed to have resulted in the children feeling unloved, afraid, or had become hardheaded and disobedient.
As they applied the lessons they were learning, changes resulted: refraining from spanking and saying curses (65.6%), talking calmly (90.6%) with their children, practicing self-control and patience (56.3%), spending time to play (43.8%) and bond (40.6%), assigning chores and teaching them (34.4%); and giving more praise (68.8%) and rewards (25%) to encourage and support the children’s interests and concerns. Their statements were: “Niyayakap ko na yung anak ko yung mula panganay sa pangalawa hanggang sa bunso. Yun, kaya yung hindi ko nagagawa dati nagagawa ko ngayon sa anak ko.” “Sabi niya dati mama di mo ko love yakapin tapos ngayon halik ka ng halik yakap ka ng yakap sabi niya.” ” Lalo namang gumanda or nagbuklod ang family namin dahil nga doon sa pagsasama naming pagdadasal ganyan tapos syempre ahh sa mga na isishare ko dun sa asawa ko na isinasabi ko lagi na malaki ng yung tulong ng P4S sa akin kasi nagbago din ako nagbago din ugali ko.” “Yung pinag-aralan ko sa P4S parang sinishare ko sa asawa ko tapos medyo nakitaan ko rin siya ng pagbabago pati yung hindi lang sa bata kundi sa aming mag asawa.”
As participants shared with their family, more cooperation and partnership between spouses took place (65.6%). The family members felt happier (81.2%), were showing more affection to each other (71.3%), communicating more or doing kwentuhan (53.12%), and they felt closer as a family (43.8%). They also said that their children were more obedient (81.25%) than before. Twentythree (71.9%) of the parents indicated their trust in God deepened and specifically said that Christ should be at the center of all they do. They started to read the Bible regularly (56.25%), prayed individually and together as a family at night and before meals (65.6%), and practiced a family altar (37.5%). Most of them (87.5%) said they did not practice these things in the past. It was just a matter of months, yet the impact was great once they know and embrace biblical principles on marriage and family life!