A theme that has come up frequently in our recent marriage study has been how stressful parenting is and how difficult it can be to “get away” with your spouse. We have a nice mix of couples who have been married a variety of years – some with kids and some without. It’s refreshing, really, to have such varied perspectives on marriage and I think we’ve all learned from one another. But, this one subject hit home with all of us regardless of where we plan to be in the future, where we are now, or where we used to be when it comes to raising kids. It most certainly changes the dynamics of a marriage and can be very challenging.
I fell into this bucket as a young mother. Fifteen years ago, if Facebook was as popular as it is now, you would have seen all sorts of cute pictures of my daughter eating, sleeping, smiling, playing, or pretty much doing any thing I thought was cute . . . which was pretty much everything. I read books, made sure I had her in “x” number of play groups, bought her all kinds of cute stuff to wear, and literally doted on her 24/7. Oh, and I was working full-time, too, did I mention that?
Did you catch what was missing in that entire paragraph? Yep, my husband was not mentioned once. That is, sadly, not far off from the reality of that time in my life. He was literally shoved to the back seat the moment she was born. Did it need to be that way? No. Are things different now? YES. My pastor, years ago after my son was born, said this to me and I’ll never forget it: “Your relationship with your husband is infinitely more important than your relationship with your kids.” I remember almost becoming defensive when he said it because I thought he was “taking my husband’s side” in our relationship. But it stuck and as the years have gone by I have made a genuine effort to move my husband back up to the front seat where he belongs. And, my friends, it truly makes all the difference in not only my marriage, but in my family as a whole (and PARENTING!).
I read this article from the Huffington Post (click HERE to read) and I encourage you to do the same. Read #3 especially and make note of this quote from the article:
That is so powerful. Seriously, read #3 of that article and it says it all. Listen, I know it’s hard to have quality time with your spouse, especially when you have small children. But, I can’t emphasize enough how vital it is to your marriage and to your family as a whole that you take that time to nurture your spouse and your relationship with them.
If you and your spouse have found great ways to spend quality time together, I’d love for you to comment your tips here. Perhaps other couples can read those comments and get some valuable ideas for their own marriage!