By: Kermit Rowe, Encompass Relationship Facilitator
Ahhh February- a month of ROMANCE! Each week in February we’ll be sharing about the seasons of romance in marriage. Last week we visited the pre-marital through honeymoon seasons. This week we’ll talk about romance while the children are at home. Next week will be for the empty nesters and finally we’ll finish with the golden years.
Parent or romantic partner … which comes first?
What is the most challenging time in a marriage? When the honeymoon is over.
The trick of course is to be able to keep the honeymoon attitude alive. But no matter how romantic the two are, that comes to a screeching halt when the two who became one, turn around and become two again, and three, and four, and … well, you get the picture. There are a lot of challenging ‘hoods out there, but none more challenging than parenthood.
My wife and I, and some of you I’m sure, have been there and done that. Our nest is empty, and we don’t mind at all (most of the time). But many of you homemakers are in the eye of the storm, and those winds can howl. As an Encompass relationship facilitator and pastor, I’m constantly seeing the shrapnel produced by kid-induced, divisive war on the home front. It is heartbreaking as it is home-wrecking!
Here’s how it happens: priorities get skewed. The kids’ needs, wants, and desires get higher priority than that of the spouse. This is not to say that our kids’ needs, wants, and desires shouldn’t be met. What I’m saying is kids have a way of monopolizing our attention and focus. Adding to the problem is that they haven’t had nearly as much experience dealing with the debilitating handicap of inborn selfishness as we “older people” have. When that happens, our spouse can feel ignored, undervalued, and unimportant. And the inmates run the asylum, so to speak.
We are parents, not genies. Their every wish is not our command. Making them happy is a loving goal, but teaching is the main duty of a parent. They aren’t ours. They are just on temporary loan. They are God’s. He has given them to us to love and guide. When the inexperienced voices and unchecked desires of youth reign, the results are chaotic. So, what are a mother and father to do? Practice the truth, and it’ll set your home free. Put your other half in the No. 2 position of priority, under no one except God. Love your kids by loving your spouse. Love your spouse and kids by loving Him. Allow His blessing and power to trickle down - from Him, through you, into your spouse and family.
So how about you? Are your priorities properly aligned? How have you successfully navigated the choppy waters of romantic parenthood? We’d love to hear from you. Encompass Connection Center helps couples learn how to resolve issues such as parenting together. We'll help you create productive, fulfilling relationships and families. Get started today, by scheduling a complimentary 15-30 min courtesy chat with Lavern!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.