Don’t Ask! Don’t Tell!

No, this isn’t the military mantra from years back pertaining to homosexuals in the armed forces. It’s my advice to parents when their kids get married and are no longer under their authority – Don’t ask! Don’t tell!

Yep, it’s true – once your kid (son or daughter) leaves and cleaves, don’t be nosy and don’t be voicy! (I made that word up, but I like it!) It’s the best bit of wisdom a parent can hear in those early days/years when they want to tell their child and their new mate just how to do everything. And how they know everything. But don’t. Seriously – back off! Let them leave and let them cleave. Those words can’t happen when mom and dad are in the way.

Is this easy? Well, was childbirth painless? Of course not. But the best gift a mom/dad can give their newly married “child” is freedom and privacy. Freedom from your suggestions (which they didn’t ask for) and privacy from your parental invasion. So bite your lip – don’t ask and don’t tell! Just let them be a new couple under God’s authority, not yours. You read that right – they don’t answer to you anymore.

Why am I a little more revved up about this than normal? Because too many parents nod in agreement while they sit in church, but still act like marriage intruders to their grown children. In fact, I shared this simple principle recently in the concluding message of my “Home Run!” series (albeit a little more calmly), and you could immediately feel the tension rising in the room. Whew, I was dangling by a thread and loving it! You know why the tension got thick quick? ‘Cause people don’t know what it means to let their children leave and cleave. The grown, married kids know mom and dad don’t get it, and the parents know they don’t get it. But nobody ever says, “Hey, you don’t get it!” Today I’m saying it — some of you ain’t gettin’ it!

So here it is plain and simple (as if God’s original words needed explaining…that’s funny!): Don’t ask. Don’t tell. If they want to know what you think, they’ll ask. If they want your opinion, they’ll let you know. Till they do, mums the word. Sure, they’ll make mistakes, fall, look stupid, and mess up. But they’ll learn far more and far quicker if we, the parents, stay out of the way unless we are invited. (even then, double check the invitation!)

(Here’s a link to an article by a woman who writes about this in a sweeter way…enjoy!

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