Let’s face it, reality TV has changed television as we know it. The interaction has been attractive to many. TLC is a channel my wife and I have loved since we got cable for the first time. I remember watching “Trauma, Life in the ER” and wilfully grossing ourselves out as they displayed people’s real-live mangled guts. Over the years, TLC has gone from displaying mangled guts, to shows like “A Baby Story”, “A Wedding Story”, “Man vs Wild” (or is it Survivorman? I keep getting the shows on Discovery mixed with TLC).
In recent years (for obvious reasons being a family of multiples, thankfully not on their scale), the new favorite in the Scott house has become “Jon & Kate Plus Eight”. In so many ways Jon and Kate remind us of ourselves, we see their sextauplets and twins going through stages we identify with. We see Jon and Kate going through things we identify with (me being the fun-loving, wrestle in the floor, make messes with the kids dad, and Melissa being the “sensible” one trying to bring chaos to order).
Like so many viewers of the program, Melissa and I sat on the verge of tears as we saw the season premiere that revealed the mangle guts of the unraveling of this beautiful couple and family. We wanted to jump in the car and go help them somehow (we could have led a caravan of people, I’m sure). I refuse to believe tabloids and gossip regarding the reasons for their unraveling. I prefer to look to what the Gosselin’s are saying on their program and compare that to where Melissa and I have been, and pray that they can correct their course before it’s too late (their children are still young, so it’s not too late).
If Jon and Kate were reading this, I would have some sound advice for them. In fact, this is sound advice for ANY couple, famous or not – multiples or not. My wife and I don’t know it all. We don’t have cameras in our faces. We don’t have paparazzi chasing our kids around (I’d pity the fool who did chase them around). We haven’t walked in their shoes in that arena. We HAVE walked in the shoes that parents of multiples are tempted to walk in, that can lead to the demise of a marriage that already has the odds against it.
- According to Scripture, a man is the head of his household as Christ is the head of the church – he MUST GIVE HIS LIFE for his wife (meaning a husband can’t just be “himself” anymore)… You want your wife to submit to your leadership. There is nothing wrong with that. What’s important is submission = getting under the mission. Melissa (my wife) is a strong-willed, ambitious woman. I applaud this, however her will and ambition was interpreted by me as just that when she followed her desires to be a businesswoman (nothing wrong with that in itself). So I thought the best thing for the kids and for her was for me to stay home, take care of the kids, and do some sort of business from home. What I REALLY did was became the most unreasonable guy on the planet to live with. I was miserable, my wife was miserable, and she easily could have left me. Enter a mission – I prayed and asked God to lead me to lead this family. I DIED to my personal desires and became “Mr Scott,” the man who has no identity outside of the head of the Scott household. We now have a mission in our lives, and my strong-willed wife (who Kate reminds me so much of on the show) is my greatest supporter.
- Enough is enough. Any activity that causes a member of the family to not want to be a part of that family is expendable. Sue me! If I’m signed to a contract like the Gosselin’s, and I’ll lose everything if I breach it – so what? My family was here before a contract, and my family will be here after we destroy it. There is nothing on this planet more important than God and the greatest gift He’s given me – my family. If I could tell Jon and Kate ONE thing – it would be: “walk away from it all, and focus on your family. We’d much rather see you 10 years from now on a reuinion episode together than see your family come apart and your children’s hearts broken on reality TV.”
Multiples are stressful. I can really only speak for ourselves and share what has helped us so far. Having triplets, I can still yet only imagine what families with 4, 5, 6, even 8 go through. We have a strong dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him we know we would fail, because He is what keeps us balanced, His Word is what keeps our minds renewed to what is right. Also, Melissa and I have come into this knowing that each other aren’t the problem in tough times, but with God’s help, we are the solution. We have given ourselves only ONE option in bad times – pull our children and each other close, handle the situation and go through whatever comes our way together. It gives great freedom when you don’t give yourselves to option to quit. The worry about what one another is going to do with the relationship isn’t there. It’s not that we take our relationship for granted, it’s what we expect of ourselves and each other.
I didn’t choose to father 3 kids at one time, much like I don’t choose to grow older. I have no choice in the matter except to choose to be the best father and husband my family could ever have. Men – be men and make hard choices to do what is right.
Our hearts go out to the Gosselin family and are prayers go up for them. To everyone out there struggling in their marriage – never give up, never give in, you’re in this for the long-haul. Seek the face of God, and find yourselves someone you can trust who can help you fix it, who won’t let you give up.