Marcus: I Was Seeing Dollar Signs and Diapers

Marcus discusses what went through his head when he found out his wife was preganant and why his relationship with family members has been strained in the past. What has it been like for you and your wife to be living at home with your dad and family?
Marcus Tankard: Living with Mom and Dad for the summer has been great. The great thing about being in a house so big is that you hardly know that there are other people around. My mom and dad come and leave and we don't even know it. I think my parents like having us around, because the other kids are on their way out, so the empty nest syndrome is settling in. Beyond that, I think my dad likes my cooking (seeing that there's nothing healthy about it!), and my mom likes that I'm around to take out the trash and complete Dad's "Honey Do" list around the house. What was going through your mind when you found out that your wife was pregnant?

MT: Quite frankly I thought I was going to mess up my clothes. I don't think any husband is prepared to hear those words, "I'm pregnant." We had been trying to get pregnant for months, but I think the stress from a fast-paced life in Missouri hindered us from conceiving. So we stopped trying. We still wanted a baby, but we didn't feel the need to try and make something happen. We decided we would let it happen in its own time. So when she says, "I got two lines...I think we are pregnant..." I really didn't know what to say. I immediately thought to myself, "Yikes, what do I do now?" I was seeing dollar signs and diapers and all sorts of stuff. But I think more than anything, there was an excitement about finally conceiving! That moment you get something that you've been wanting so bad for so long can hardly be described in words.

I don't think any husband is prepared to hear those words, "I'm pregnant."

Marcus Tankard In a conversation with Benji, Ben talked about a time when your relationship with your dad wasn't so great. What was that like?

MT: I think every child has periods of "conflict" with their parents. I'm no different. Initially my conflict with my dad had to do with his absence in my childhood. After I met my dad, I tried on multiple occasions to come and live with him. Those attempts didn't work out, because those marriages didn't make for a healthy and safe environment for me, and they ultimately dissolved in divorce. During that period of my life, Dad was either physically absent due to his travel schedule or present and mentally and emotionally unavailable. Years later, our conflicting ideas about my career put a strain on our relationship. When I decided to go into world missions, my dad and Jewel flipped out. I remember multiple conversations that we had when I came home from college about my decision to be a missionary that were very discouraging to me. In a family of successful entrepreneurs, I felt like the black sheep in my family when I decided to do missions work. I'm a fourth-generation Pentecostal preacher, but I'm a first generation missionary. I'm not aware of any other missionaries in our family, period. So this was groundbreaking for me and my family. It took everyone a while to warm up to me doing world missions and not following in my parents footsteps as a business mogul. Do you feel that things are 100% back on track with your relationship with your dad?

MT: I believe that our relationship is 100% better than it was 10 or 20 years ago. I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to be mad at my dad or my biological mom for their shortcomings. I can't fix anyone's shortcomings but my own (and I'm limited in what I can do with mine--that's where God steps in and brings grace, grace, and more grace). You can't spend your life angry at stuff you can't change. One of my biggest hangups with Dad was that I felt like he never apologized to me for not being there. God really helped with that and asked me the question one day, "If your dad never says that he's sorry, are you really going to stay angry for the rest of your life?" That one question settled it for me. I knew I had to forgive my dad and move on--not for him, but for me. Then I met my wife, and she played a pivotal part in bringing things full circle with my dad. Latisha has never met her father, so my relationship with my dad was a huge priority for her, because she wanted our children to have a grandfather. I thank God for her and Jewel every day, because they played a crucial part in putting things back on track with me and my dad. Once I wasn't so angry, it opened the door for constructive dialogue, and one day my dad didn't just apologize, but he expressed regret and remorse over the decisions he made that affected me and my siblings. Apologizing doesn't mean that you can change the past, but it will put a relationship back on the right track much faster than being angry all the time. Why do you think your relationship with Britney has been so difficult?

MT: I wasn't conscious of any difficulty in my relationship with Britney until I came home for the summer. I was shocked to see that she "felt some kinda way" about anything. Part of me wanted to be angry, because I felt like if someone had a problem or felt hurt in any way, they should talk to me. I've always believed I was a very approachable person, so I felt blindsided by a brick when another sibling approached me about Britney. But in her defense, I have to take some responsibility for the condition of our relationship. There was a period of time when maintaining a strong bond with my siblings wasn't a priority. When I graduated from bible school, I was obsessed with world missions. I was spending nine months out of the year in Europe. So coming home for all the holidays, birthdays, graduations and such wasn't even on my radar. Had I been more invested in my family while on the mission field, maybe the feelings that Britney was harboring would have come out sooner.

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