Do you remember the early days of your relationship? There was hardly time for anything but each other. Lisa and I brought on a good deal of eye rolling but that was fine with us. We were making up for lost time!
In those intense, invigorating days, it’s impossible to believe that one day, there might come a cooling of passions and a perspective that includes more than just your tight relationship.
Not us. Our Love is different than all the rest. We’ll never stop loving each other, about 100% of newly married couples say.
But Life is Love’s determined adversary, committed to humble her naive pretentions. The endless evenings of early marriage’s unscheduled passions gradually yield to the exhaustion of the third trimester, expanding bills, and the busyness of normal life.
Do you remember when your first child was born? Just amazing . . . like staring at the Grand Canyon for the first time – your mind simply can’t absorb it all. Psalm 127 brought to life. Yes, indeed, Children are a blessing, an inheritance, from the Lord.
But a wonderful inheritance is only wonderful if it is kept properly in its place. And what was intended as a blessing often becomes the very instrument of relational distance until, over time, a couple can’t even see each other from where they are.
Babies and children are part of what makes life rich but if we’re not careful, they also can diminish the depth of love we were meant to have for our spouse. Children will use up exactly 100% of all available parental attention and energy if they are allowed to.
It’s subtle and we often don’t see it coming. After all, it’s just a little baby, right?
For a new mother, it’s easy to become so focused on loving and caring for the new child that her husband (remember that guy you used to be crazy about?) becomes a third party – present but not really important to what is going on.
New fathers often become so focused on protecting and loving the new baby, “mom” can begin feeling neglected, too. Doesn’t he notice that I need loving and caring, too?
And it doesn’t stop there. As the years go on, marriage often becomes all about the kids, effectively making the marriage second place (too commonly a very distant second) to all the activities that make up the lives of children.
It may look good to someone who doesn’t have the inside story but, it’s not good. It’s bad. Placing an increasing focus on “loving the kids” is frequently a cover for that large and growing empty space between Dad and Mom.
We can make it all about the kids but, it’s not all about the kids, unless something is badly out of balance in the marriage.
Does this, to one degree or another, resemble your marriage? Has your marriage become “all about the kids”? If so, you’re missing out on God’s best for today and creating a bleak tomorrow that will come sooner than you anticipate. Your kids are growing up. What will you and your spouse have when the kids have moved on and started their own families? It will be just the two of you. What will you have, then?
It’s time to stop loving your kids . . . it’s time to stop loving your kids more than you love your spouse.
Your relationship with your spouse is a first priority.
Don’t allow (stop encouraging) your kids to become a distraction from the most important human relationship you will ever have.
Do you want happy, secure, emotionally healthy, confident children? Then put them in their place – a close 2nd, just behind the 1st place priority of loving your husband/wife. There’s nothing like Dad loving Mom or Mom loving Dad to make a child smile on the inside, even if they’re rolling their eyes on the outside!
Hugs in the hallway is a great technique to start getting the children to blush. (Trust me, I’ve done the research). And, best of all, without any training, any couple can do it!
Joking aside, this is a serious matter. Giving your kids a priority they should never have will diminish them by encouraging a false understanding at the same time as you diminishing your marriage by keeping your spouse from his/her proper place in your heart.
Is your spouse first in your heart (yes, of course, after God) before your relationship with your kids?
These things are offered for your consideration.
God bless you as you seek to honor Him in your marriage.
If you could use a little help in getting back on track, check out the books at the end of this article. They were designed for husbands and wives who desire to enjoy the close, loving relationship God intended.
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).