Married Alone (Raising Children)
Children are a blessing (Psalm 127), but there is only one word that captures what it is like to raise them, exhausting. It takes a lot of effort and energy to raise children. Raising children, like managing money, is an area that will subdue your marriage if you do not work together. If a couple does not help one another with the children it will begin to drive a wedge in the marriage and one partner will begin to feel alone.
Troubled couples allow the duty of raising children to separate the marriage. This can happen in various ways.
1. Leaving one spouse alone to tackle the messy jobs. Kids are messy. Help each other out.
2. One spouse is the hero, the other is the villain. When it comes to disciplining children the key word is support, especially if your children are teens. Mom and dad need to present a united front.
3. Refusal of relief. Realize that both of you are looking for relief. There are times when she has had enough of the kids and he has had enough of the world. Both spouses want rescue, but instead of fulfilling a common goal together, each spouse runs for shelter. The loser usually gets a bit perturbed. Talk about a plan that will help each spouse meet the common goal. Maybe he would be a much happier man if he could just count on 15 minutes to change clothes without hearing the laundry list at the door. If she could look forward to him taking the kids to the yard for some quiet time, or uninterrupted clean up, “Honey I’m home”, may be the greatest moment of her day – which would certainly change her tune. If both spouses work outside the home, the value of relief is even higher, but the principle remains the same. In order for marriage to be successful man and woman must work together for a common goal.
4. Marrying your children. NEVER PUT CHILDREN BEFORE MARRIAGE. Many couples begin to separate at birth. By birth I mean the birth of the children. If the marriage is forgotten for 18 years, there will be nothing left to recover when Jr. moves away. Parents should communicate, nonverbally, that your spouse is your first love. Kids need to see and hear that message! Do not allow your children to disrespect your spouse. Let them see you hug and kiss. Never create teams and pick the kids to be on yours vs. your spouse.
5. Allowing children to have free reign in the home. Kids will subdue your house if you let them. Kids need boundaries, and so do their toys. Your bedroom is not theirs, neither is the kitchen, the living room, or the yard. If a child brings a toy into one of these spaces, teach them to clean it up as quickly as they brought it in. Furthermore, GET THE BABIES OUT OF YOUR BED! This is not only a proven health risk to infant children, but it kills intimacy. I should also add that if you want certain things to happen spontaneously in the bedroom – put the dog in the backyard, not between the two of you in the bed.
6. Allowing your children to overtake your schedule. The American family drank the Kool-Aid when it comes to believing that their children are destined to be professional athletes, dancers, cheerleaders, pianists, and quiz bowl champs. Sadly, when the kids get enrolled on every team for every season, most couples don’t have time to be married. The soccer team replaces the spouse. Kids need a break – your marriage needs rest – cut the schedule down and recover some time to work on being married.
7. Allowing your kids to be unruly. The phrase “They’re just boys” or “kids will be kids” should not be used as code words for “My kids are out of control, please excuse the chaos.” Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” An unruly child shames and separates a family. It takes two to discipline. Work together to train your children.
Children are a great blessing, but remember, you didn’t get married just to have children. You married one another to work together to subdue (Gen. 2:18, 1:28). Don’t allow your spouse to feel alone in raising the children and don’t allow the responsibility of raising children to subdue your marriage.