When children come along, many parents to find the new role of ‘mother and father’ total changes the role of ‘husband and wife’ in their marriage.
The marriage vows of ’til death do us part,’ seem to change to ’til children do us part’ for many couples. Most of us know couples who decide to divorce after the last child goes off to college because the focus on children replaced their focus on each other during the marriage.
Here are three ways from Parenting by the Book to keep the husband and wife relationship the priority in the family:
- Recognize the marriage vow you made to your spouse and the Bible’s view of marriage, ‘That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.’ Genesis 2:24. Restate your vows to your spouse and affirm the other as the priority in your relationship above the children.
- Let your children see you and your spouse spending one-on-one time together where the children aren’t the center of attention. Children need to see you having a cup of coffee together or the two of you watching a TV show together without the children in the middle. In the long run, children feel more secure when they see parents spending time together. Its also a great way to model what a good marriage should be for your children.
- Keep romance alive and find a way to do a date-night regularly.
Monica and I have found these priorities to be helpful in our own marriage and have seen the same in the relationship of other couples. A couple told us one-on-one time is hard to find but the recognition and re-commitment of their priority to each other helped them during the most hectic days. We were fortunate to have grandparents nearby and good babysitters for our date-nights.
However, there were still challenges. On New Year’s Eve when our children were young, it seemed impossible for us to go out on a dinner date so we put the children to bed early and I went for take-out from our favorite restaurant. We enjoyed our New Years Eve dinner for two at home, a tradition for us for many years. We still visit that restaurant now and have fond memories of the special times when we only could do take-out.
Special one-on-one times don’t have to be lengthly or costly. Be creative. Just the fact that you are prioritizing time for the other is important.
Question: What ways have you found to focus on your spouse in your marriage in the midst of a busy household of children? Please share your comments here.