When I become a parent, somewhere between changing diapers and cleaning oatmeal off the floor for the thousandth time my priorities of marriage shifted a bit. I was honestly in a bit of a crisis like most postpartum moms are about our new identity as a caregiver and a mother. When our second child came along what I didn’t realize was how much more focused I was on my children and how much less I paid attention to my marriage.
A few years ago Ryan and I listened to a book together that changed our lives. “The Courtship of Marriage” by Zig Ziglar was an eye opener.
The lie: My children need all my attention, my husband understands
The truth: Your children need you to pay attention to your husband.
So often I would rationalize my tendency to neglect affection towards my husband. Baby cuddles were definitely fulfilling but the bond of marriage suffers when we don’t give it attention as well. Our children need the stability of love in their lives of course. There is no better way to model love and respect than through the relationship of husband and wife. My husband comes home and gives me affection first and when the girls ask who we love more…. our answer is always God, mom or dad, and then you!
The lie: It’s ok that mom and dad have different views as long as they love their children.
The truth: A divided marriage will create a divided family.
It doesn’t matter faith, football or food. Children model their parents’ behaviors and share their likes and dislikes for everything. Growing up my mom always took us to church raised us in Catholic school and reminded us to keep God first. I am the only one out of her three children that has fulfilled her desire for faithful children. Before my husband and I got married I was adamant that we raise our children Catholic. It was the only way I knew to raise kids with good morals. My husband was raised Baptist but did not have an active upbringing in church. When he agreed, I did not foresee what an amazing example he would become for our girls in their journey to know God. When we as parents are not on the same page in regards to anything, our children become confused. Once I told the girls it was ok to watch a TV show that their dad had said was off limits. I did not realize this and it became a source of tension. The girls could see we did not agree and asked us why we were fighting. I gave in seeing his point and apologized to him and the girls for not being more aware. I also explained to the girls that sometimes moms and dads just need to work things out. Too often parents are divided on certain subjects. Religion may seem to be the big thing, but even small things like whether or not to recycle or safely remove a bug instead of killing and flushing it can confuse children and divide a family.
The lie: My children have fulfilled my life
The truth: Children should enhance your life and marriage.
So often we believe that we can be fulfilled by the special moments that we share with our children. These moments are so special because we are creating beautiful memories that will last forever. Those moments are a happy blessing that should enhance your marriage not define them. When our children are grown up and starting lives of their own, will you know your spouse? My husband and I have come to discover how little we use to talk and communicate with each other. We never asked how the other was feeling. Even though we were in bad moods from time to time we never stopped to figure out why. As a woman and a mom I rarely know or understand my own thoughts and moods, let alone my husband’s. We mask pain through other avenues like working out, drinking or spending money. Neither of us were out of control……. but we numbed the feelings and stuffed them down for a later breakdown or fight.
The lie: Being a good parent is placing our children first
The truth: Being a good parent is placing God and marriage first
There is no faster way to raise a spoiled child than to make him or her believe they are the center of the universe. God has not always been center in my life and during that time I only thought I was happy. When I realized that everything that I valued and loved was a gift that could be taken away, I was humbled to strengthen my faith in Jesus and follow him along side my husband. I’ve always been on this journey to raise my children as strong Christians but I didn’t really know how to do that. I thought taking them to church every Sunday was enough. I started to realize how much I needed to work on my own faith in order to lead my family in the way of Christ.
The lie: Marriage is easy, children are hard
The Truth: its all hard
Marriage and parenthood is this awesome club that we were so excited to join and now the we have become members we are wondering when the heck the handbooks are going to get passed out. Having children is a challenge and at times can seem like a sacrifice. When we focus on loving our spouse and constantly work on communicating our feelings and desires we are find ourselves in a better condition to journey through parenthood. Learning how to parent together no matter the circumstances is the greatest gift we can give our children.
When our children are grown, forging careers and raising families of their own will you know your spouse? How will you fill your time with each other when there is not anyone else in the house to occupy your time and attention? Did you spend your time involved in every aspect of your children’s lives that you forgot to make plans with the one you vowed “to death do us part?”
These pictures are from our recent cruise without the kids except for the stowaway. Below are a few more pictures of our babymoon.
Thanks for reading!
Love and Blessings,
The words expressed in my blog on my own opinions and viewpoints on marriage and raising children based on my own experience.
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