KEEP LOVING EACH OTHER
Throughout marriage loving one another in all circumstances is essential and especially during pregnancy and babyhood.
Parents' frequent expressions of love and support to each other in the presence of their children, as well as privately, are crucial to the well-being of all.
Discomforting symptoms and uncertainties in pregnancy, childbirth plus the general range and constant demands of babyhood, and, possibly, other things, may produce unexpected emotions.
The husband's stable emotional disposition can calm feelings of insecurity and give a sense of wellbeing to his wife.
Although it is particularly critical at these times, the call at all times is:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Body of Christ and gave Himself for her," Ephesians 5'25.
"Husbands ... dwell with them with understanding, giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel," 1 Peter 3'7.
With the shared blessings of being equally yoked together in marriage comes the sharing of responsibilities. With pregnancy these take on greater importance.
Being part of the growth of a new-born child means that new are things added, some of them unpractised, even unknown.
During the tough routines of the early months it's helpful to have agreement on future behavioural routines, even before the child is able to fully understand any spoken or "body" language.
One very important thing to agree on is being consistent. It is something parents owe to their children. Security begins to build in a child who encounters a common position from both its parents.
They learn, from their first day, that Dad and Mum are in harmony.
While scripture exhorts children to obey their parents, parents seem to naturally expect their growing children to obey them.
However, children naturally test their parents' unity as part of discovering where the lines are. And they take advantage of any discord very quickly.
When a disagreement does arise, it should not be allowed to develop in the presence of the child but be resolved at a later time.
Keeping control of feelings (and speech) and not contradicting one another in front of the child is a constant challenge.
Plenty of mutual encouragement between the Parents is essential - especially after an occasional "lapse".
A child should never hear a parent talk negatively or jokingly about them to other adults. They should be free from knowing about adult problems and responsibilities.
Dads are responsible and called to be loving, as the Lord is:
"You, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath,
but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord," Ephesians 6'4.
Just as Children are to obey, Fathers are to be encouraging:
"Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged," Colossians 3'20-21.
Children have to grow before they know that their obedience pleases God. However, for Parents expressions of honour come when they come!
But knowing the promise that's attached requires considerable growth:
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
'Honour your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise:
'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth'," Ephesians 6'1-4.