Marriage Missions International

Don’t Let Your Children Come Between You

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If a married couple with children has 15 minutes of uninterrupted, non-logistical, non-problem-solving talk every day, I’d put them in the top 5% of all married couples. It’s an extraordinary achievement (Bill Doherty).

Marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the foundation of society: if we strengthen marriage, we strengthen the family, we strengthen the children and we strengthen the community. If your goal is to help improve the world, marriage is as good a place as any to start (Diane Sollee from Smartmarriages.com)

Never allow your children’s wants take precedence over your spouse’s needs (Dr Todd Linaman).

The above statements give us a great springboard from which to discuss the subject of not allowing your children to come between you as husband and wife. To help you with this problem, the following article is an excerpt from the fun book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love, (plus we will have links to additional articles below):

We love our children more than words can say —we want the best for them, and, to a large degree, have dedicated our lives to them. They make our lives complete and there is no question that they are our top priority.

Yet, we love each other too. A ton! And we don’t just say this —we mean it. We’re great pals and best friends. We love to spend time together —to share, laugh, love one another, be silly, hang out, or just be quiet. We’re partners.

We decided long ago that nothing —not even our children —would ever come between us. Furthermore, we realized, early on, that one of the most important messages we could give our children was to set an example as two parents who truly love and like each other; two people who prioritize one another and look forward to being together —even though we have a family to nurture and care for.

It appears to have worked really well. Both our children know how we feel about each other. They realize, on a deep level, that we have a mutual respect and admiration for each other, that we stick up for one another, agree on most fronts, and, most of all, that we love each other. There is no question in either of their minds.

In fact, it’s so clear to both of them that, when Saturday morning rolls around, one of them will usually say something like, “Where are you guys going tonight?” or “Who gets to baby sit us tonight?” They assume we are going to go somewhere together because they know it’s important to us —just as it’s important for them to spend time with their best friends. To them, it would seem bizarre if we didn’t.

Every set of parents is obviously different and will have different values and degrees of comfort where this issue is concerned. Our goal isn’t to get other parents to prioritize their lives as we have. Yet, for us, we are positive that we are doing the right thing, not only for our relationship, but for our kids as well. Our guess is that their expectations regarding their boyfriends and future husbands will be fairly high. Our hope is that they will eventually seek partners who value not only their children (if they have them), but their relationships as well.

We know many parents who, even years after having children, rarely go out alone —and a few who never have. It has always seemed to us that, even if you didn’t like each other very much and if your only goal was to send a good message to your children about relationships —then you’d prioritize your relationships, at least once in a while. Otherwise, it would seem, they would grow up believing a “normal” relationship neither requires nor deserves any time or effort the relationship would be seen as secondary, if not dispensable.

It’s been said millions of times before —but worth repeating one more time: If you want a loving relationship, you must prioritize it and treat it as important. The truth is, you vote with your actions. You can say, “My marriage is really important,” but your actions may be saying something entirely different. You may virtually never spend time alone with your spouse, or go out alone with her. Hardly the way you would behave if your goal was to appear loving.

After all, you spend time with the kids and as a family, and you spend time at work, doing chores, shopping for “stuff,” and in front of the television—so why not with your so-called loved one? Is that what you would hope for with your child —that he or she would grow up and never, ever spend time alone with their spouse, once they had children?

Finally, when you spend time together, even though you have children, you send a powerful message to one another that each of you matters, so does your relationship. It’s harder to sweat the small stuff with your partner when you both know that you are important to the other. So, however you do it, and to whatever degree, consider the importance of putting your relationship first. If you do, everyone wins.

The above article comes from the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love, written by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. and Kristine Carlson, published by Hyperion. This is a good little book. And although it isn’t a Christian book we’ve found it to be very enjoyable and clean with a lot of great information.

-ALSO-

To help you further on this subject, please click onto the following Todayschristianwoman.com articles:

ARE THE KIDS PULLING YOU APART?

PARTNERS OR PARENTS?

Kathleen Kohler and her husband know all too well how a “child” who is leading a troubled life can turn your life and your marriage upside down. Please click onto the KathleenKohler.com article below to read what she learned that hopefully will help you in your situation:

HOLDING YOUR MARRIAGE TOGETHER WHEN YOUR FAMILY IS FALLING APART

In this article, the message is how “wayward children can push you apart. Norm Wright explains how to keep your marriage strong while helping your kids get back on track.” Please click onto this Todayschristianwoman.com web site link to read:

MARRIED, WITH PRODIGALS

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Comments

10 Responses to “Don’t Let Your Children Come Between You”
  1. Velda says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA)  Hello. I’d like to know if there’s anything on blended family(children). I’ve got big children and my youngest (20yrs) is a drug addict who left home and I’m mothering his small ones, 2 teenage girls and a 7yr old son. But one of the teenagers (15yrs) is standing up to me now while I "fight" for him to love his daughters cause according to him he don’t know how to do that, but he knows how to love his 7yr old son. He has never accepted my children…none of them are at home any more.I lost them due to my new marriage.Crazy as it sounds I love these children. We’ve been married now for 4 years,we were both widowed.

  2. Shawn says:

    (UNITED STATES) I’m going through a little situation with a step daughter trying to come between my husband and I after we have been married for 23 years. What should I do about keeping my peace and not having a nervous break down?

  3. Bonnie says:

    (UNITED STATES) I have been married for 15 years and my step-daughter is a thorn in my side. My husband and I hardly have any disagreements…until she comes around or talks to him in private…just to find out our business so that she can spread gossip about us.

    My husband thinks I’m the problem. I’m not a “wicked” step-mom. I just want peace in my home…HELP!!!

  4. Leon says:

    (UNITED STATES)  My new wife and I have a child together. I have been married before and have two boys with my previous wife. Both boys are ages 21 and the oldest is 25yr. My second marraige with my present wife we have a 3yr old Girl. This is my wife first child and only child that lives with us currently. I am experienced with kids but my wife is not, being that this is her first child. The problem that I am faced with is that she is trying to pin on me that I am not giving her any attention and how can I when she is giving her dauther most of her time.
    I dont come in between the two of them when they are together. I love my little girl just as much as she does, however I would not allow my daughter to come in between the two of us. The problem is that she does. Even when I am trying to have a simple conversation between the two of us it gets interrupted by the little one trying to get her attention. So when that happens my wife turns away from me and act’s as if I was not even talking to her. This causes me to shut down and not even try to communicate with her whenever the little one is in the same room.

    The second problem is that my wife is allowing our daughter to sleep with us in the same bed. I tried to talk to her about this as well, but she keeps doing it as if i dont have a choice. Now she is saying that we are not having sex. Hardley because of the llittle one being in between my wife and I. Now she is trying to turn it around back at me as if I am a fault because we wont be together in bed.

    I know that my wife loves her dauther very much but she is forgetting that she has a husband that wants attention as well.

    I dont know what to do please help to save our marraige.

  5. Debi says:

    (UNITED STATES)  My husband has children from his first marriage. They range in age from 23-32 yrs. old. His kids ALWAYS come first, and are extremely needy. He Is NEVER interested in me, and my world. When I ask him to pay more attention to our marriage, he tells me he will not abandon his kids.

    My gosh… they are adults! Some have spouses and kids of their own, but call my husband for everything! They have all been in some kind of trouble with the law, he bails them out, pays for fines, and attorney fees! I ask him to let them be adults, and take care of themselves. I suggest that he is enabling them by always tending to their needs, and bailing them out. He tells me it’s his duty as a father! I cannot reason with him. He tells me I’m the most important person in his life, yet has no idea what my needs are, because he has no time to listen or do anything about it. HELP!!!

  6. Terry says:

    (USA) I am in search of help. My husband and I have been married now for 31 years. We have worked very hard to keep it a solid relationship. I came into the marriage with a 3 yr old son who now has a solid family with a wife and 2 sons. My husband has always treated him with respect and like a son of his own. After a year into our marriage we had a little girl… who is now 30. If it wasn’t for the fact that I know she is mine and she looks exactly like my husband I would think someone changed babies on me in the hospital. She is nothing like me (characteristics, commonalities, looks, tastes… anything). She is very intelligent but very immature in a lot of ways.

    We currently are paying off 6 years of student loans with nothing to show for it and she just moved out (in July) and when I say moved out I mean thousand miles away… punishment I guess because ‘I’ cut her off. She wouldn’t help around the house; she worked a mediocre job, I did her laundry, cooked, did the dishes… basically we were a hotel with a maid service to her. My husband keeps saying she can’t make it on her own – well, I wonder why.

    As you can see I have a lot of pent up issues but don’t have anyone to talk to them about… I feel like I am the worst parent in the world for having the feelings I have. Sometimes I just want to disappear. My husband’s family is the ‘blood thicker than water’ -children ALWAYS come first; mine is the more ‘learn to be independent and sustain yourself’ after the kids grow up they are on their own not a money tree. I know what the right thing is to do… but as a parent I am not able to let go. My husband’s family will not let it go either -it’s my fault she left ya know. They do not know the whole story as we are keeping things from them because of their ages (70’s – 80’s) and it would break their hearts or worse.

    My husband of 31 years and I are constantly bickering over the amount of money he is giving her and we have spent throughout the years. At 30 I was raising 2 kids and one of them had been on my own for 3 years… never asked my parents for a dime. But that’s all we do is shell out to one and not to the other. I love my husband, my kids, my grandchildren, I am just so tired of tring to hold it all together. The truth of the matter is somedays I don’t even want to be alive so I don’t have to deal with anything. My daughter is a boomerang kid with no goals in life and has no clue what she is doing to her parents. To her we are the bad ones.

  7. Tony says:

    (UNITED STATES) My marriage is falling apart. My wife doesn’t realize that she places the children from her first marriage above all others and some of her adult daughters walk all over her and our marriage. How do I make this blended marriage better?

  8. Vicky says:

    (INDIA) Hi, I have been married for 5 years and have been living separately since past two years. I have come to this site keeping in mind that I get some real advice, which will work out for me.

    My problem now is I have a girlfriend and who is willing to marry me only if I forbid my previous life, which I am ready for. However she is clear in her thought of abandoning my kid who is 4 years of age. Though I am not in touch with him since past one year I love him and am emotionally attached to him. My ex wife will never let me have my kid; that is for sure. But at least I have faith that one day my kid will come back to me asking for his father and then I am ready to accept him.

    Now my real problem, which I am looking an answer is, do I need to go ahead and get married to my girl friend? Yes, I do love her but I feel I cannot compromise such a thing for her. Please suggest to me if I am wrong and also please let me know if I have any further solutions for this issue.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Vicky, Anyone who could ask you to abandon your own child –especially when you are still legally married and this child is yours from this marriage (even though you are living separately) is asking too much. What will she ask for next? You can never be sure. But you can be sure that your child needs to have the hope that eventually he will have a father who will be there for him when it is allowed by your wife for that to happen.

      Even though you are separated, you are still legally married. This woman shouldn’t be considering marrying you anyway, just as you shouldn’t be considering marrying her. Whether your wife is living with you or not, she is still legally your wife. And married people should not be with anyone else… period. You made a vow.

      And even if you didn’t pay attention to what I just wrote (which I hope you will), I have very bad feelings about your “girlfriend.” For her to “forbid” you and try to erase your “previous life” and ask you to fully “abandon” your child, does not show good character on her part. This child will forever be a part of you. To deny him is to deny who you are. If she wants you to erase this child, personally, I would erase her from my life, even if “love” or no “love” is involved. You need to keep the option open that someday your son will be a part of your life. He deserves no less. He didn’t “separate” you and your wife, so please don’t put things in place to “separate” him from your life permanently. That is so wrong. He doesn’t deserve this. I see BIG trouble down the line if you marry this woman. Anyone who would make such a self-centered request of you does not really love who you are but instead loves what she wants –whether it hurts an innocent child, or not. This is how I see it. …I hope this helps.

  9. Dan from Ghana says:

    Thank you for this piece

Marriage Missions International