I love my kids – I love the spouses who my kids married – I love my grandkids. I’m telling you…when I hear a church message about “idols”, sometimes I have to stop and pause. In the most important places of my heart – I envision eleven little pedestals where these people reside…Steven, Ashley, Payton, Cooper & Finley – Dylan, Nikki & Eli – Taylor, Greg, and Reese.
Ridiculous? Surely I am kidding? Sort of – but not completely. I think about them, worry for them, and pray for them. They make me happy and they make me laugh. My life is better because of each and every one of them.
So with how much I love those little “idols” of mine…it begs the question…is there still room for my husband?
My kids used to be my most important responsibility; but my husband has always been and always will be my most important relationship.
It doesn’t mean that I love my husband more than the kids – I love them all the same. But he is the one I promised to love and to cherish until death do us part…he is the one who is still by my side after my kids did the “leave and cleave” thing. ( I stole the “leave and cleave” phrase from Genesis 2:24 where it talks about a man leaving his mom and dad and cleaving to his wife) – Yep. My kids left, but my husband is still here cleaving to me and has been my best friend for over 40 years.
My kids are no longer my most important responsibility. In fact – they are not my responsibility at all anymore. My role has changed. My kids have all grown up and they have their own children. Now they are the parents. My role is simply to support, encourage, pray, and to help with babysitting. It is a role that I cherish.
I have seen a shift in today’s families and it causes me great heartache and concern. I have read many blogs and articles where it seems that wives place a higher priority on their kids than on their marriages. I have also heard about young women who sleep with their children instead of their husbands and I have heard about women who sleep with their husbands and their children. I get it – I really do.
When I was a young mom I thought that being up in the night with crying babies was really, really, hard. To this day I am not a “baby holder” which means that I am not interested in holding your cute, adorable, bundle of joy because I know that little bundle = sleep deprivation for the young mama who wants me to hold him/her. Nope – can’t do it because I am still damaged by those long, hard nights.
Back in the day…if I had heard about co-sleeping and family beds I bet you a penny I would have signed up for that gig in about two minutes flat. Yes! Sleep – anyhow and anyway – sleep!
I wouldn’t have had that peaceful alone time with my husband wrapped around me after a long hard day of mommying. I wouldn’t have been able to have that late night conversation with him that I desperately needed to have. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the pure bliss of not having a child attached to me – if only for a few hours – so that I could be refreshed before the next day. I wouldn’t have been able to fully appreciate the blessing of laying beside the man who means the world to me and makes me feel safe. I wouldn’t have been able to leave the babies with their grandparents so that we could get a much needed weekend away. I would have missed out on some intimate moments that were extremely important to our relationship.
Let me ask you a question – would you want your daughter to have a marriage like yours? How about your son – would you be pleased if his wife treated him the way that you treat your husband? The model we set for marriage has a tremendous impact on our kids’ future marriages. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we gave them something to aspire to?
I challenge you to ask your husband this question – Do you ever feel like you play second fiddle to the kids?
Dear moms..please hear my words. I am not judging you. It’s hard trying to be both a mom and a wife – to be everything to everyone. But with a great deal of prayer and with the Lord’s strength it can be done.
What works for your marriage might look very different than what works for mine. Maybe you can manage that co-sleeping thing and carve out other moments to be alone with your husband. Whatever you are doing or not doing – check in with your husband to make sure that it’s working.`Listen to him. Make agreements…and as the kids change and grow, make new agreements.
Your kids will have a better chance of being secure, strong, happy, and resilient if your marriage is secure, strong, happy, and resilient. The most important thing you can do for your kids is to have a happy marriage.
I will share with you my little family secrets. You can take it or leave it – but this is how it happened for me. None of these steps came easy. Having a strong family and marriage requires that you don’t give up or give in. It demands that you prioritize your responsibilities and your relationships. And it is imperative to be intentional and prayerful as you seek the Lord’s wisdom and direction in all things.
Here we go!
#1 Marry the boy of your dreams…Next to becoming a Christian this is the single most important decision of your life. Make sure it’s the right decision.
#2 – Protect your marriage by making it your most important relationship… Do everything in your power to keep your love strong. Be willing to sometimes say no to your kids – your extended family – and your friends – so that you can say yes to him. Date nights, vacations, having an adult conversation while the kids play by themselves, and cuddling in bed…these are a few things that contribute to a happy marriage. Kids don’t mind – they like it. Kids love having a home where mom and dad are still in love.
#3 Knock yourself out raising kids…Train up your kids. I believe in the two D’s – discipline your children and also delight in them. Kids need both.
#4 Raise your kids to leave…Kids are supposed to leave. Our goal as parents is to prepare them to stand on their own two feet and to walk their own path. It is a parent’s greatest privilege to watch their adult children live their own lives. We need to be willing to lay down our role as “mommy” so that we can enjoy the blessings of being “mom” and “friend”.
If you have success with #1-#4 …when the last child leaves your nest it won’t be the end of your life. You will still have that young boy who you promised to love and cherish a very long time ago… only now he’s a little more gray…a little more wise…and your love is even stronger than when it first began.
In addition to that, your family will very likely become bigger and there will be more people to love and it’s really quite wonderful.
It’s a very good plan.
Remember when… the sound of little feet
Was the music we danced to week to week
Brought back the love, we found trust
Vowed we’d never give it up
Remember when… thirty seemed so old
Now lookin’ back, it’s just a steppin’ stone
To where we are, where we’ve been
Said we’d do it all again
Remember when… we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won’t be sad, we’ll be glad
For all the life we’ve had
And we’ll remember when…
Excerpts from Alan Jackson’s song – Remember When
Until next time,
Love your wisdom and insights! Thanks!
Thanks for reading, Wendy!
Such wise advice – if only more young parents could hear it! Fortunately God started showing my husband and I these things when our kids were in their early school years, and I know it gave them a sense of security. And guess what – the oldest is now a dad of two who just stole away for the weekend with his wife while Nana and Papa watched the kids.
From one Nana and Papa to another…we are four peas in a pod! My hope is to help the kids in any way that I can in hopes that it will help to keep their marriage and family strong. I know that your weekend will be wonderful and exhausting. When the little ones leave we are always ready to have a rest – and a few hours later we miss hearing their voices and their little feet. We are blessed to be a part of their lives.