Married with children

There are many things that can distract you from making your marriage a priority. In this busy world, it seems like there is always something else that needs to be done and it can be very easy to put your marriage on the back burner. If you are a parent, you have an additional hurdle to overcome. Few parents look at a newborn child and anticipate that that child could be the future source of marital discord.

Of course, children are not personally responsible for marital problems. Children do not deliberately set out to destroy marriages. In fact, children have a great need for the sense of security that comes from having parents who have a strong relationship.

However, children are demanding and it is very important to meet their needs. Because they are so important, it can be easy to justify putting your obligations to your children before the needs of your relationship. It is imperative that you realize that one of your children’s greatest needs is security that can only come from knowing that their parents have a strong, loving, and committed relationship. That is, you can better serve your children if you put your marriage relationship first.

You have to give yourself permission to spend time nurturing your relationship without feeling guilty about neglecting your children in any way. If you put your relationship on hold to focus on your children, you risk seriously damaging your relationship, and the insecurity of a wounded parenting relationship can negate much of the effort that you put into your children.

If you have a child with special needs, the already enormous demands of having children can increase enormously and it can be extremely difficult to find the time to nurture your relationship. If your child requires constant care, you may wonder how you could find time to be alone with your spouse. However, the need for a secure parental relationship is also very important to your child and I encourage you to do your best to spend quality time alone with your spouse.

All married couples should take the time to build intimacy. You should set aside frequent and regular time to spend together as a couple. Time spent paying bills and discussing things to do doesn’t count. If you have a shared faith, take the time to pray together. Take time for meaningful conversation. Do something you like to do together and don’t underestimate the importance of taking the time to make love.

If you can’t get out of the house, you may need to get creative. My husband and I have 4 small children and we have no family around. At some point we’ll buy restaurant-quality packaged food, put the kids to bed, light some candles, and have a romantic dinner together. If we dim the lights enough, we can forget for a moment that the house is a mess.

Whatever you do, do it about yourself as a couple. Do something that allows you to express your love and appreciation for each other as you deepen your relationship. If you do, you will find that the whole family will be stronger. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go find my husband.