Footsteps in Faith: Chaplain asks, who is at the top of your family pyramid?

| January 26, 2012 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Sedwick
65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command



I pray that this week’s column finds you happy, healthy and highly motivated to begin another great Army year here in beautiful Hawaii.

I’m sure that many of you may still be suffering from ”post-traumatic shopping disorder,” which began on Black Friday.

Here at the 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, we have enjoyed the great privilege of welcoming many Soldiers back from deployment in the last several months. After a couple of weeks of in-processing and another few weeks of block leave, we typically host multiple marriage enrichment retreats to help our families re-connect after so many months of living apart, and we also reach out to our single Soldiers and help them re-establish good dating habits.

Therefore, my first counsel is to encourage you to let your battalion or brigade chaplain know that you’re interested in attending a single Soldier or a marriage retreat.

I want to devote the remainder of this column to a typical stressor for most families — especially during the holidays — that involves managing your relationships with your children and with your extended family members.

Think of your nuclear family (husband, wife and kids) as living inside of a pyramid. If your family believes in God, he resides at the top. You and your spouse live in the middle, and your children reside at the bottom.

Doesn’t that sound weird and completely counter-cultural? Don’t our children deserve to live at the top of the pyramid? Many families think so, and I have witnessed many parents invert the pyramid by placing their children at the top.

Once their babies leave the nest, 18-22 years later, many husbands and wives discover that they suddenly have nothing in common. The parents have nothing that binds them together because they have devoted their entire lives to nurturing their children at the expense of meeting each others’ needs.

Unfortunately, many of these same couples suffer the pain of extra-marital affairs (chalked up to a mid-life crisis) and, ultimately, get divorced.

In reality, the concept of placing our children at the bottom of the pyramid doesn’t reflect a lack of love on our part nor does it imply that we have selfishly placed ourselves above our children in the family food chain. Instead, we want our children to look up at a mom and dad who model how to love each other and for our believers who place God as the head of their family.

Finally, I want to encourage all of you to keep your moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and all other relatives and friends outside of your pyramid. This method doesn’t imply that we don’t love our parents, siblings and friends. We just don’t love them as much as we do our spouse and children.

Even though our parents love us and want to continue helping us even after we’re married, you don’t need or want them to penetrate your pyramid’s perimeter and start managing your family’s intimate details.

Once again, I encourage you to seek out your battalion or brigade chaplain and actively pursue the opportunity to attend a marriage retreat to help enhance your relationship with your spouse.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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