DEVOTION OF THE WEEK: God is Bigger Than a Noisy Washing Machine

You would not believe the frightening noises that come out of my washing machine.  It began with that helicopter noise during the spin cycle. I tried moving the machine away from the wall.  It didn’t help but the clothes were still clean so I ignored the noise.  Then the wash cycle began to sound like an earth mover digging a subbasement in my laundry room.  I tried avoiding the heavy wash setting to cut down on the noise but the clothes were still clean so I moved on.  Let’s face it. There’s no puddle of water, no suds climbing the walls, not smoke and no sparks (that I know of) but really I know a complete breakdown is just a matter time.  At some point when the little fixes don’t work you have to face the reality that something is really wrong.

Relationships are like that. Take in-law relationships. When there’s a problem between a couple and their in-laws the tendency is to try and fix the in-law relationship when the real problem is between the parent and child.  But focusing on the in law relationship is the easy fix like moving my washer away from the wall.  It’s better for a little while but the real problem’s still there.   But in Matthew 5:24 Jesus tells us to “be reconciled to our brothers.”  Jesus doesn’t want us to settle for the easy fix.  He wants us to restore damaged relationships.  That means getting down to the real problem.

Most significant family problems originate in primary relationships like husbands and wives and parents and children.  In-law relationships are secondary relationships.  The friction in a secondary relationship is a symptom of the real problem in a primary relationship.

Think of it this way.  When parents don’t like the person their child has married it probably has to do with the way that person behaves but the real problem is that the child has not only chosen someone the parents would have never chosen but then their child tolerates their spouse’s behavior.  Parent’s think “I raised them to do better than this”.   What’s hard for the parent to see is that on some level the spouse their child picked fills a need and offers their child some level of completion. The parents need to acknowledge the positive things the spouse brings to the marriage even if they don’t understand it..

Likewise, a parent might ignore, belittle or insult the spouse or they find other ways to interfere with the marriage.  The real issue is the child’s need to show the parent they are an adult by telling them the marriage is the priority and the expectation is for them to treat the spouse with respect.  You see spouses don’t change their behaviors in a marriage to please their in-laws.  They change their behaviors to build and nurture the marriage.

Lasting change needs to occur in primary relationships.  Parents and adult children should ask the other to change and spouses should request change of each other.  Trying to change an in-law relationship without looking at the primary relationships is just trying to get rid of the noise by offering a quick fix.  You know you deserve better.  Jesus knows you deserve better too.

About Karen Tripp

Beyond being a Christian Counselor and the President of Cancer Companions, Karen loves to read (she's a great reader) and loves to sing (she's a bad singer) in her home near St Louis, MO. Cancer has personally touched Karen's personal life through her dad - a 23 year colon cancer survivor. Impacting lives for Christ through her speaking, writing and counseling fills Karen with a passion which infuses every task she approaches. (except matching socks. Karen hates matching socks.)
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2 Responses to DEVOTION OF THE WEEK: God is Bigger Than a Noisy Washing Machine

  1. phil galang says:

    Having 4 married children and 7 grandkids, I’ve learned a bit about IN-LAWS RELATIONSHIPS. My thoughts have not been ordered that I am just citing points to consider: 1) There are 2 layers of in-laws – the spouses of our children & the parents of those spouses. Be aware of that reality that makes relationship more challenging. 2) My wife and I am on reverse the in-laws for item 1 above. There are dynamics here that might not be simple. 3) My married children and their families are separate and independent of my wife and me. It is hard to separate our parenthood from the independence of our married children. 4) Our grandkids are NOT ours to lead and consider as our responsibility unless they are in our home for caregiving. Remember:! We better inform their parents whenever we decide to take them out from our home say, to the parks or playground. Why? To keep them posted and to let us know needs we might not know. For example, it’s advisable to take them to the bathroom instead of asking them if they need to attend to personal needs (You can bet they would say they are OK so we could go right away!) 5) Do not count on what we parents knew during our time; they usually have unique needs and wants today in line with their preferences today. 6) Be careful about what to teach the grandkids – consult the parents in case of doubt.

  2. Daniel Nolte says:

    My property insurance is paying off right now, be cause the washing machine on the third floor above me was draining into the wrong spot. Thus my insurance company is charging their insurance company for new carpet and drywall.

    Now sometimes I may have a little conflict with my ex-wife about our daughter, and other times it may be with my parents about my daughter. So on the spin cycle most everything general works out for the best. Thank you God…not only for the new carpet.

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