Having children is a wonderful blessing in a marriage, but somehow in the process of becoming a family, married people often lose the feeling of being lovers. We start to think of ourselves more as “mom” and “dad” rather than “husband” and “wife.” Instead of discussing our hopes and dreams for the future, our conversation revolves around whether little Tommy went “poo-poo” today or whether preteen Erica needs a training bra. Our hands are too full of toys to hold hands with each other, and our eyes are too busy watching the kids to gaze longingly into each other’s eyes.
My friend Monica grew up in a family with six children. Her mother gave up her nursing career to devote herself full-time to raising the kids. Not surprisingly, she spent a lot of time running them to and from their various activities. While Monica’s mom was caring for the kids, their father, a police officer, took as much overtime as possible to be able to cover the expenses of such a large family. While the children prospered, their parents’ marriage floundered. Monica’s parents rarely spent time together, and whatever free time they had was devoted to the children. One day Monica’s dad devastated the family when he left Monica’s mother for a woman he had met on his bowling team. He told Monica’s mother they no longer had anything in common except the children.
Experts say that couples with strong marriages make better parents. The peace and love they feel from a successful relationship spills over to the entire family, benefiting everyone. Therefore, couples should not feel guilty about taking time away from the children for a “date” or even a vacation together. Maybe if Monica’s parents had hired a babysitter and bowled together once a week, they would have continued to enjoy some “couple” time together and would not have grown apart.
God intended marriage to be the core of a happy family. Find ways to continue to grow in your love for your spouse. Attend a couples’ retreat weekend. Take a trip together for your anniversary while the grandparents watch the children. Schedule a “date night” once a week. Make your marriage a priority. You won’t be neglecting your children; you’ll be preserving your family.