By Leslie Diestelkamp
That there is a great need for a series of essays like this can hardly be denied by anyone, but that I should project myself into this subject so much so as to write upon it at length is subject to debate. Admittedly I have some misgivings, principally because I fear I may not be able to completely express the sentiments of my heart adequately and also because I realize the awesomeness of making proper application of the scriptures. So, to clarify my intentions, and to set the stage for the essays to follow, I suggest the following:
1. I shall write much about the husband-wife relationship, and about marriage in general. Yet I do not claim any excellence in this field. I am not a marriage counselor; I do not believe that is supposed to be a specialty of a gospel preacher. However, as a Christian, I have, through the years and with the help of my wife, been able to help some couples find peace and harmony, just as any child of God might do who would use common sense and good judgment. I had a happy, secure marriage for over forty-one years before the death in 1973 of my first wife, Alice. And now, since May, 1976, I have enjoyed the companionship of a second wife, Myrtle. Yet I am sure I do not even know all the questions, much less all the answers regarding marriage; no effort shall be made herein to explore every potential realm of husband-wife relationships. But in view of the grave need for help in this area of activity, surely we should try to say some things that might help some people provide a better, more satisfying family circumstance.
2. Several chapters will be included dealing with parenthood, yet from reading these things I am sure no one will assume that I am a specialist in parenthood either. In fact, no one except my own children know better than do I just how inadequate I am and have been as a parent. God has been good to me and, in His providence, I am privileged to be the father of three sons who preach the gospel, one daughter whose husband preaches also, and one daughter whose husband teaches in the Bible department of Florida College. But those statistics, along with the fact that I have eighteen grandchildren, are not given here to suggest expertness in the field of parent-child relationships nor in the field of journalism that deals with that complex matter.
To Help, Not To Hurt
It is not my purpose in this series to be merely critical. In fact, “There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill behooves any of us to criticize the rest of us.” Every marriage partner and every parent has made so many mistakes that none of us can claim any praise. Rather than boast, we must bend our knees before the throne of God’s grace and give sincere thanks for a little wisdom, some strength and a great deal of mercy that has come to us.
Constructive suggestions shall be offered and firm admonitions may be given in these essays. No effort will be made to make these lessons pleasing to all people, even to all Christians. We must be true to God and to His. Word and 1 must write with sincerity of purpose, willfully keeping back nothing that would be profitable to the readers. However, I shall always try to help, and not to harm. If any improper attitude is observed, be assured such was altogether unintentional on my part, and will only demonstrate my own weaknesses.
Because the series of essays will be long, consisting of fifteen chapters (though each chapter will be short), it may be well to try to stimulate your interest by listing the titles of each chapter, thus:
Chapter one: “Crisis At the Crossroads.”
Chapter two: “Broken Circles.”
Chapter three: “Together Forever:”
Chapter four: “The Weaker Vessel.”
Chapter five: “Home Wreckers.”
Chapter six: “Stop The Clock.”
Chapter seven: “Home Security:”
Chapter eight: “Fathers of Our Flesh.”
Chapter nine: “Mother: The Heart Of The Family.”
Chapter ten: “Children: An Heritage of the Lord.”
Chapter eleven: “To Spank or No To Spank.”
Chapter twelve: “Goals and Priorities.”
Chapter thirteen: “Parenthood and Patterns.”
Chapter fourteen: “Crisis Psychology.”
Chapter fifteen: “Home, The Vestibule To Heaven:”
God made the human race for the family circle, and He made the family circle for us! If it were not so, we would grow up like the animals of the field and the forest, without benefit of the love, the security and the mutual benefits that we not only gain but that we also share in the family arrangement. Let us study the succeeding chapters with the hope that they may help us to enjoy life more, live it more abundantly and utilize it more fruitfully, all for the glory of God.
Truth Magazine XXII: 2, p. 34
January 12, 1978