I would have to say about a week or so ago, a friend of mine posted a question on Facebook. It had to do with kids and how you handle them when you are married.
The comments were varied, and sounded great. I even heartily agreed with some of them..but. Of course there is always a but when I write but this time I have to say but because while many of the ideas and ways to handle your children were exactly what you should do. Reality must be acknowledged.
I like the idea of telling kids that there are boundaries, I agree with the principle of putting your spouse first. It’s true that a healthy family is one that has love, nurturing, discipline. Kids need to know that they are not the only person in the world, that there are times when they have to not get what they want. Kids should understand that mommy and daddy need time together too. Telling a child no should be the end of it.
All of the things that people wrote and commented were true…in theory.
Any real study of this issue, has to have a few things at it’s core. Before we can answer the question of how a family maintains balance, how a husband and wife keep things fresh, and all that stuff.
The first thing to figure out…Why did you have the kids anyway. I know that this seems like a strange place to start when it comes to figuring out how to keep the balance right in all family relationships, but lets sit down and be honest here. We have children because we are selfish, full of ourselves or a mixture of both. We are looking for someone who has to love us that can provide more than a puppy, we want the world to have more of us, we are looking for a bit of immortality. We also think we have something to give a child, we have so much love, so much intelligence so much to offer a child we would be denying the world our progeny and we would be denying someone the opportunity to benefit from our vast knowledge, love, and expertise.
Now that we realize why we have kids, and believe me those are, deep down the reason most people have kids oh wait I forgot to add the ever popular to see if I can, or to prove I am something, but those fall under selfish.
Now that we realize the reasons we can answer the how’s of my buddies question. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you don’t balance things right, sometimes you don’t put your spouse first, sometimes the kids win, and why shouldn’t they. They are kids. They are by very nature going to suck up large sections of your time, energy and love. They should they are kids. I think it’s unrealistic to expect a 2 year old or a 7 year old or even an 11 year old, to “give me mommy and daddy our space.” They are kids. They have needs that far outweigh our own.
This doesn’t mean that we neglect our spouse, it doesn’t mean that we can have a pass to not communicate with them, and it doesn’t mean that we can just decide that intimacy in any form will just have to take a back seat till the teen years, on the contrary the amount of time and attention that children require, and deserve makes those things all the more important, all the more precious, and all the more cherished. I know that I don’t always get the time I want with my wife, I know she doesn’t always get the time that she wants with me, we don’t always get to have the deep conversations that we would like to. There are day’s that we both fall into bed exhausted, look at each other and fall right to sleep. There are days that we have to remind each other why we had children in the first place…another selfish thing on our part because on those days we are thinking of all the time we used to have, the time we had no clue what to do with so we thought adding a child to the mix would be fun and of course all that other we have so much to give mess. There are days that we would like to just throw in the towel and let them fend for themselves…then one of them cries, or calls or needs and we get up and are there for them, even if we were in the middle of a conversation, even if we are in the middle of mommy and daddy time, no matter what they come first, but I digress. See the times that we do get together, the times we can sneak away, the nights when we are driving a long distance and the kids are asleep in the car and we can talk are awesome. The other night Jo was awake and making noise, I went over to get her to rock her to see she was okay, J had fallen asleep, it was one of those nights when the street light came through the window at just the right angle and I saw the most beautiful thing in my world covered by the sheet and I just smiled and looked at her for a while, (for the record she thinks it’s creepy when I watch her sleep) I realized that I was blessed with a wife that would stick with me for all the reasons she should and through all the reasons she shouldn’t. My wife is beautiful, and intelligent and always has my back. She thinks about me first even when she has to put the kids first. That is what counts.
I may not be first all the time, she may not be first all the time because reality dictates that with three children that’s just not possible, but I am her first thought and she is mine. In the morning I think of how lucky I am to get to sleep next to this beautiful creature, how cool it is that she gets me, how awesome it is to feel her support, how much she gives to me even if she can’t give me what she wants to. I hope she feels the same way when she thinks about me.
It comes down to this: When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind. (1 Cor. 12:11 The Voice) Children haven’t put away the needs, they still have to come into our bed at night, they still need to be held they still need to be hugged during the day, they will talk over you they will make noises that drive you pretty close to insanity, and that’s all part of thinking and speaking and reasoning like a child. As parents it’s our job to help them through those times, it’s our job to mold them, to train them up and then let them go.
The thing is, we have them for 18 years. We’ve been married for 19, the time went so fast, one moment we were newlyweds, and the next moment we were not, and if what I am seeing is true, one moment we have kids and the next moment we won’t, so yeah they get the majority of our attention, and yeah sometimes I get a little jealous, and sure we don’t get as much sleep as we would like, but we chose this, and I can say without reservation, that it was the best choice of our lives.
So there’s my 2 cents. Kids suck up all of your time, energy and love, but they give it back to you, and well I’m able to be content in being first in her thoughts, and even with all the selfish reasons for having them, I pray that they grow to share their light and life and love with the world, I want them to be Jesus to people. I want them to know that they are important and special, and that they can live and move and have their being in someone that made them for all the right reasons. We may have kids for selfish reasons, but he gives us kids for our good and his glory, after all how else are we supposed to learn how to approach God?