Last night, Jon and Kate Gosselin announced their separation and impending divorce. It was somewhat surreal and sad as the world who has watched the miracle of twins and sextuplets be brought to life now watch their lives become transparent and vulnerable on the screen. I have to admit I wasn't surprised at this given what we've watched between Jon and Kate through the seasons. But, lest we forget that for all of us, we could be right where they are in the blink of an eye. I'm not married, but there are a lot of lessons for me to learn from Kate. And, Jon isn't completely absolved I'm sure, but I'll let the men in the crowd speak from that perspective. I see enough from Kate that I'm learning lessons that all us women should take note of....
1. Marriage takes commitment and work - When people get married they are all caught up in the dresses and the decorations and quickly forget what happens after the honeymoon. Every day a wife has to arise and ask God to keep her heart pure and focused on being the wife He's called her to be. Every day won't be romantically glorious, but when you marry for better or worse, marry the one you want to go through the "worse" with because going through the "better" is easy. Going through the "worse" takes commitment. Kate worked a lot to keep her house in order and everything in its place. What if she'd done the same with her relationship with Jon?
2. Follow His Lead - A wife needs to first follow God's leading in her life, then followed by her husband's lead. Submission is a tricky topic for a lot of people to talk about, and as a single woman who has been single a long time, it won't be easy for me one day, if God blesses. But, when a wife sees God as her authority and the way He created marriage as a picture of the gospel, following the lead of a godly husband is easy. Kate was pretty commanding and dictatorial on the show. I don't know if that was better or worse off camera, but it was obvious she didn't respect the role Jon had in the marriage as leader.
3. God first, Husband second, Children third - In our society, sometimes this gets out of order, and I'm not talking about #1 and #2. Even those that put God first will many times put children ahead of their spouse. In Kate's defense, with eight children, that's tough to keep in order. But spouses that make the commitment to spend quality time together, without the children, will benefit from the nurturing aspect that brings to the marriage. Because when the children have grown and gone, you want the marriage to still be flourishing and sparkly.
4. Edify and build up your husband - As I mentioned earlier, Kate wasn't the "gentle, quiet spirit" type, nor did we see much edification or building up of Jon from her. I sound this battle cry to every girl I talk with about relationships. Men are fragile. The way to tear a man down is with your words. Kate did that in the middle of K-Mart, a pumpkin patch, and oh yeah, on national television. As women, we are born with a power over men (see Genesis 3) and we have the ability to take a man to the heights or to the gutter. That is a power we so often abuse, mainly because we don't realize our own strength to do that. If you are married, edify your husband daily. If you aren't married, find ways to build up the men in your life to get good practice for the day you may be filling that role as a wife.
5. Love the Lord Your God with All Your Heart - In past episodes, the Gosselins were touted as Christian examples. I don't know their heart, or what their beliefs are, but somewhere along the line, the focus of loving the Lord with all their heart got put on the back burner, I fear. This should be a stark reminder to all of us, whether married or single, that our first love is the Lord our God. If we keep that as our focus and cling to Him daily, we won't live a life problem-free, but we'll live a life where God will walk us through those problems victoriously.