Many couples live in a world that is completely child-centered. Their relationship revolves around the childrens’ needs and activities. Of course, it is great to see a couple working together to raise a family. However, some couples fall into the trap of making their entire marriage only about the children.
There is research that shows that putting your marriage first may actually be healthier for children. It is definitely healthier for your marriage. However, many parents would fear they were being selfish if they dared put more stock into their marriage rather than focusing only on raising the children. They may fear they are neglecting their children or that they aren’t being good parents.
It’s tempting to focus solely on the children. The danger becomes that a couple can become more like roommates who happen to be raising children. It is hard to keep the spark alive when you find yourself discussing toys, soccer practice, and homework issues.
Society tends to put a lot of pressure on parents to be selfless superheros who live and breathe childrearing. Check out any television commercial or magazine advertisement. You’ll find pressure to buy kids more toys, help them join more activities, and offer them more attention. You’ll rarely ever see much information about the importance of growing a stronger marriage though.
If your marriage becomes completely child-centered, there are a few drawbacks. One of them is that you will likely become quite stressed out. If you spend all your spare time racing children to various activities while trying to work enough hours to pay the bills, keep the house clean, and manage all of your household responsibilities, you may get burned out quickly. It can lead to your marriage taking a backseat, which doesn’t allow you time to relax and enjoy life together. This can compile the stress.
It is important to have a healthy marriage aside from having just the children in common. Remember that long after the children have left the home, you’ll still have each other. It is important to have activities you enjoy doing together as a couple.
If your marriage is stressful, it can have an impact on the children. Children are very in tune with a family’s overall stress level and when things aren’t right, children take notice. Children may take on some of that stress as a result. Having a strong marriage helps put kids at ease.
It’s also important to examine what you are teaching your children about marriage. If they rarely see you and your spouse spending quality time together, they may think that is how relationships are supposed to be. If you show your children the importance of parents loving one another, they’ll be able to see what a happy and healthy relationship looks like.
There can be some confusion about the family hierarchy when children become the center of a couple’s existence. Kids can grow to expect constant attention and there can be an imbalance in power. This can lead to them feeling insecure about the family. Kids need to know the parents love each other and that the parents are in charge.
What can parents do to make sure that they are making their marriage a priority? Plan date nights. If you haven’t been on a date together in years, don’t expect that you’ll be able to plan a date night every week. However, make sure to start planning them and start scheduling them. Agree that when you are on your date nights, you will talk about things other than the children. Remember that spending time with other couples can be good sometimes too.
Find activities for the two of you to enjoy together. Having hobbies and interests is important. Try something new together as well to keep things fresh and exciting. An evening walk, a weekend of hiking, or taking a class together can be ways to stay connected.
Find ways to connect as a couple. This might mean calling one another during the day or sending text messages. Spend time together after the children have gone to bed. Even if you are doing the dishes together, find time to talk about your day.
Consider making your bedroom a kid-free zone. For many, this idea may be horrifying if your children tend to crawl in bed with you. However, there’s nothing more likely to interfere with your sex life than having toys and crayons in your bedroom. If you make your bedroom a place for just the two of you to spend time together, it can help your intimacy, which is often lacking when people are focused on parenting. Improving your intimacy can be a great way to improve your relationship.
Remember that one of the best things you can do for your children is to love your spouse. In a world where most marriages are ending in divorce, keeping your marriage healthy is a wonderful gift to your children. Don’t be afraid to put the priority on your marriage.