Are you finding it difficult to connect as a married couple? Are you so busy with your children that you barely have the time to just relax and enjoy being a couple? That’s not unusual at all. That’s all part of the dynamics of raising a family. As a matter of fact:
• 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)
But it’s important to note:
• Marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the foundation of society. If we strengthen marriage, we strengthen the family. And as we strengthen the children and we strengthen the community. However, if your goal is to help improve the world, marriage is as good a place as any to start. (Diane Sollee)
So here’s an important tip:
• Never allow your children’s wants take precedence over your spouse’s needs. (Dr Todd Linaman)
Yes, your children will have pressing needs. But their wants can be sorted out so they aren’t totally invasive for your relationship. However, it’s difficult to juggle all of that out. So, how do you do this?
To help with this problem, the following article is an excerpt from the fun book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love. (There is also a link to an additional article below this one.)
Children CAN Come Between You
We love our children more than words can say. We want the best for them, and to a large degree, we 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, or just be quiet. Both of us are partners, for life.
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. We’re two people who prioritize one another and look forward to being together —even though we have a family to nurture and care for.
Our Love is Evident
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. 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?” Sometimes they’ll say, “Who gets to baby sit us tonight?” They assume we are going to go somewhere together. 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.
We’re All Different
Every set of parents is obviously different. And they 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. We do this 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, but their relationships as well.
We know many parents who, even years after having children, rarely go out alone. We have 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. Do this at the very 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.
Prioritize Time with Children
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. You also spend time at work, doing chores, shopping for “stuff,” and in front of the television. Why not with spend time with your so-called loved one? Is that what you would hope for with your child. Would you want him or her to grow up and never spend time alone with their spouse, once they had children?
Send the Message That Your Relationship Matters
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 [marriage] 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 –
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:
If you have additional tips to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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