Children, whether through pregnancy, adoption, or marriage are a welcome addition to our families. Yet their presence affects every part of married life. Just when we’ve found balance, kids throw us off kilter. In a child-centered world one of the most important things to focus on is God and each other . . . even with the little ones wrapped around our knees.
Of course, when John and I got married, Cory was nine-months-old, and we had a ready-made family. Two more kids in the next three years added to the fun.
Needless to say, when John and I got married we all had some adjusting to do. For example, Cory liked to sleep with mom. He didn’t like the idea another guy would take his place. On nights when Cory found his way into our bed, he’d turn sideways and kick against John with all his might. And who said babies were innocent?
This wasn’t our biggest struggle, though. Instead it was my belief that I knew best when it came to raising kids. After all, I was a stay-at-home mom and around the kids all day. How dare John come home from work and have his own ideas of how things should run? Let’s just say it caused more than one moment of conflict.
“No matter how many children God gives you, it’s important to operate jointly in parenting,” say Dennis and Barbara Rainey, authors of Staying Close. “Again and again, I see families where the woman is expected to raise the kids. Contrary to male expectations, women are not made physically, emotionally, or spiritually to rear children by themselves”.
Over time, and after a lot of frustration, I figured out three things. 1) John sometimes knew what he was talking about. 2) I benefited from listening to his ideas. 3) The kids benefited from having a close relationship with their dad. He was firm, but loving. And he was fun.
Oh yes, and by raising our kids together, instead of trying to balance marriage and solo parenting, my life became easier in all aspects. Hmmmm . . . maybe that’s why God designed children to be raised by both a mother and father?
“Marriage is a purposeful relationship. All research indicates that an intimate marriage provides the safest and most productive climate for raising children,” says Gary Chapman, author of The Four Seasons of Marriage.
When two people work together two things occur: a plan and a purpose. The more time parents spend talking about issues, taking parenting classes, and providing a united front, the more purposeful their parenting. They decide on a plan and help each other to fulfill it.
Do you have children? How has that challenged your marriage? How has it drawn you and your spouse closer together?
© Tricia Goyer author of Generation NeXt Marriage