The Time Challenge

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen…? Not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6–7

Setting aside time for the kids is a challenge for any family, but it’s doubly so when Mom and Dad are divorced. Yet if you are willing to make a few sacrifices, your kids will benefit significantly.

We know of a divorced mother and father who have rearranged their professional lives so that each can spend substantial parts of their week with Zach, their four-year-old son. John, a former golf instructor, gave up his job at the clubhouse because it filled up his weekends. Now he takes care of Zach on Saturdays and Sundays, then leaves him with Zach’s mother, Stephanie, each weekday morning. John works during the day at his new job as a sales associate while Stephanie spends that time with Zach. Then Stephanie, who arranged to work the night shift in her job as a nurse, leaves Zach with John for the evening and overnight. The result is that Zach feels loved and cared for by both of his parents.

Establishing complementary schedules with your ex-spouse will not always be easy, or even possible. Yet after the pain and uncertainty that inevitably follow a family breakup, your child needs you more than ever. Phone calls and gifts won’t substitute for what your child wants most from you—a mom or dad who is there every moment possible.

Before you say good night…

How do your kids respond when you give them one-on-one time?

If you are divorced, how do you think your kids feel about the breakup of your family? What can you do to help them?

Lord, we read these words and wonder how we will accomplish these things. Without You, we can never be the parents we want and need to be. Have mercy on us, and fill us with Your grace and wisdom—and staying power! Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Marriage Triangle

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7

God promises to bless those who trust in Him. The Psalms state that joy, deliverance, triumph, mercy, provision, blessedness, safety, and usefulness will come to those who put their confidence in the Lord. We need to rely on those blessings in our marriages—otherwise the stresses of life will pull us apart. And those stresses will come! When the house burns down… when a child becomes ill… when a job and steady paycheck are lost, it’s all too easy to let fear and frustration drive a wedge between partners. Even minor problems, such as a nagging cold or a sleepless night, can disrupt the quality of our marriage.

The good news is that we weren’t meant to succeed by depending only on each other. Marriage is a triangle—with husband and wife at the bottom corners and the Lord at the top. The book of Ecclesiastes conveys a similar truth when Solomon talks about the strength of a three‐stranded cord (4:12). If we invite the Lord into our marriage and trust in His strength, we can experience strength and peace in our marriage regardless of the circumstances.

Just between us…

  • When, before our marriage, did God prove strong for you in a time of crisis? What specific blessing did He provide?
  • How has He blessed us during hard times in our marriage?
  • What are some of the little stresses that tend to drive us apart?
  • In light of what we’ve read this week, how can we encourage each other to trust God more?

Dear Lord, we praise You that You—the God of love, power, and goodness— want to be a powerful presence in our relationship. When tests come, bind us together with love. When we are weak, be strong for us. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.