My husband and I have wonderful children. They truly are a joy to us, but as each one was born, I found myself spending every waking moment thinking about them, nursing them, and nurturing them. I worked extra hours at my job to afford more lessons, clubs, and toys for them, and eventually, I chose to homeschool them through 6th grade.
They were my entire world and I made the foolish assumption that they were my husband’s world too. I remember a woman from my church telling me a Biblical principle that my husband should still come before the children. No way, I thought. They needed me I rationalized. I never imagined that by putting my husband on the back burner our marriage would begin to crumble, brick by brick.
My sex drive was low, as I was so consumed by being a mom. Our finances were pitiful from all of the children’s activities and I could not rationalize spending money on date night when that money could be spent on new ballet shoes for our daughter or for skating lessons for our son.
I could not figure out why my husband would want to spend his only night off from his job with me and miss out on family time. At some point, I ended up sleeping in the children’s room. I guess it was because they each breastfed for so long and my husband got tired of the kids in bed with us. To keep the peace I basically moved into the kid’s rooms at night.
Soon I found myself fighting with my husband all the time. We wrote nasty notes to each other when we really didn’t want to speak face to face and the time we did spend together was at a swim meet, ballet recital, skating competition, or other child-related activity.
I had the occasional girl time with my mommy friends and he had his guy time with, well, the guys…..or so I thought. When we still had two children living at home I caught him texting another woman and found that he had been having an affair for about 5 months.
What a wake-up call. We went to our pastor and eventually made our marriage better than it has ever been. That story is covered in the book Stronger Than Broken – One couple’s decision to move through an affair .
Ah, but I digress. The lesson I learned was that although my children did need me, they also needed to see two happy parents.
I now realize that they were always watching us and I pray that they never fall into dysfunctional relationships as they date and marry. I pray that they don’t remember the loud arguments as much as they remember the trips to Six Flags. I pray that they don’t remember the nasty notes on the kitchen counter as much as they remember the love notes I now write to my husband. I pray that they don’t wonder why I slept in their rooms for years as much as they remember that we are now a loving couple that turns the radio up nice and loud when we retire to our bedroom (wink wink).
Do you love your children too much and put them before your mate? I get it. I was there too. That woman from my church who spoke truth to me made me realize that our children are with us for a season (because they grow up and leave) but your husband or wife will be with you for a lifetime.
Show your children what a healthy and loving relationship looks like and they will remember.
Proverbs 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.