If you are new to this series, you might want to start by reading weeks one, two, and three before continuing with this particular post.
Or, maybe you're a rebel and would prefer to read them out of order.
It's a free country.
Good Saturday morning! It's a cloudy and cold day in eastern NC and I'm hugging my cup of coffee like it's life support this morning. The weather magicians are saying that we might even see more of those flakes in the next few days. This is alarming to me because as much as I really love snow days, I really feel the need to open the windows in my home for some fresh air because (dum dum dummm):
THE FLU HAS HIT OUR HOME!
Poor Christacular is laid up in the bed and the girls and I are staying far, far, far away from him. I even slept with Molly last night for fear of
the phlegm and aches creeping onto me in the middle of the night catching the flu from Chris.
I hope you are flu free at your house and I hope things have been going well in your marriage. I hope you've been taking the time to look and act decent (or going beyond "decent" to "better") as well as made time to support and do something fun with your spouse. Chris and I had a lot of fun watching the premiere of "American Idol" this week (let me pause here and say that we LOVE Steven Tyler. Love him. I had sort of gotten over AI and haven't religiously watched it the last few seasons, but this season might be different!)
This week is all about those wonderful little people who live in your home. They are cute, but very demanding. They tend to be messy and create a lot of chaos in the home. They are loving and sweet, but whoo wee do they get fiesty when it's time to eat or sleep.
We love them.
We also understand why animals in the wild are sometimes driven to eat their young.
My children are my pride and joy. Oh me. I love those little girls of mine so much it hurts. They are so much fun and loving, and I can't imagine life without them.
They are also marriage spoilers. They have needs, they have routines, and they demand attention. I can't let them fend for themselves and I have to help them do things. This gets easier as they get older, but there are still things they cannot do without the help of an adult.
And often in the food-chain of the home, the marriage falls behind the needs of the children.
And this cannot, must not, should not happen.
Now, I will raise both of my hands in guilt and admit that I let this happen more often than I should. I can think of many times that I let my girls' wants get in the way of my husband's needs. When my children were in that adorable cute baby stage all I wanted to do was hold and love on my baby, but that was about it.
My baby became the love of my life.
She was cute, she smelled good, she needed me, and I couldn't imagine loving anything more than that precious baby.
And I put her value above God and above my marriage.
You see, our spouse should come before our children. And our spouse should come after our relationship with Christ. And when those relationships get out of order, things get a little wonky. His feelings are going to get hurt when you snuggle with that baby, but want nothing to do with him when it's time for snuggling with him. She's going to get upset that you are sweet and cute with them but never do anything like that for her.
And when we take Christ out of the center of our lives, it gets that much harder.
Essentially, parents are going to resent the time their spouse spends with their children, but no one ever really admits that out loud because only mean people think things like that. And really, it's not the children's fault. Because if it's not children it's ________ (insert golf, cars, video games, shopping, decorating, friends, etc).
So, instead of blaming the children, we start blaming each other.
Perhaps start with one night a week that is your time with just your spouse. Hire a sitter, call grandma, or just put the kids to bed a little earlier. Make a rule to not talk about the children. If someone gets up and wants to potty/water/snuggle/a story, put them right back to bed once you've attended to their needs (a story is not a need). Take the time to remember that fun person you used to date and used to be married to before having to share space with more people.
I once heard that your spouse should be the first person you greet, and last person to say goodbye to during the day. Instead of giving that person a quick "hey" and then a "hey how was your day I missed you so much what did you do at school today what do you want for dinner how about a snack thanks for this picture you look like a princess" to your children.
It's not the amount of words, it's the amount of effort.
This is a sticky topic, especially for women. We feel like our entire lives revolve around these children we've been given. We feel so guilty when we don't measure up to the other super happy mommies who seem to have it all together. We feel like the more we invest into our children, the more validated we become as women.
And that is not the case.
We must remember there is an established pecking order in our lives. Being a mom to my girls is a wonderful job, but I must remember that I have two other jobs that come before them:
And I need to remember this as much as anyone else.
- I am a daughter of the King.
- I am the wife of Christacular.
- I am a mommy to my kids.
What about you?
What are you doing to make your spouse a priority over the kids?
Some of you are dealing with special situations like a sick child or tragedy, or perhaps a blended family. This is going to require more specialized attention, but it can work. I'm certainly not an expert on parenting and I haven't had to deal with those situations in particular, but I know many of you have. So, if you've got some words of wisdom in regards to either of these situations, please feel free to leave a comment below for someone who is struggling in this situation.
Photography by the lovely Lauren Thorn