Tuesday, October 22, 2013

31 Days to a Fruitful Marriage Day Twenty: Having a Fruitful Marriage in the Busy-ness of Being a Parent

Kids take a lot of time and energy, don't they? If we aren't careful they can overtake our entire lives. I do think that's what they are supposed to do, but it doesn't mean they are more important than our marriages. Sometimes, they are. But not all the time.
Just for starters, to get this out of the way, I personally don't ever feel like it's one person's sole responsibility to raise the kids, even if that person is a stay at home mom/dad. When both parents are home, they are both responsible for the day to day stuff, like getting kids fed and bathed. And I don't think that just because one parent doesn't work outside of the home means that 24 hours a day, their lives should be dedicated to the job of raising kids. That's just my perspective. For one thing, it's ridiculous. For another thing, that person deserves to have 1) A life outside of the home from time to time, with other friends, and 2) They deserve to have a life where their spouse makes them feel like more than just a parent.
All marriages need to have their own identity, where they are not "the mom and dad of..." but they are "Jason and Jenna." All marriages deserve time without kids. It's worth the money you'd spend on a babysitter. Or even, after the kids go to bed, to spend some time together. Don't let kids' needs always trump your needs as a couple or as an individual. As women especially, we allow the guilt of leaving our family override our need to get out of the house by ourselves. That guilt will eat you alive and make you very resentful.
My husband and I don't get out together much, but we do spend a lot of quality time together at home. Our daughter goes to bed promptly at 7:30 each night because that gives us time to hang out and have some kid-free, work-free time. We've spent countless nights out on our patio talking, just to get out of the house and away from the TV/cell phones, after our daughter is asleep. We've rented movies that do not have talking animals in them and saved the candy and popcorn for us, after the kids' bedtimes. I don't usually do chores after 8, just on a matter of sheer principal. Now, if it needs to be done, of course. But most of time, that time is reserved either for me or for us.
We also find time to have discussions about God and quiet times, too. We discuss our spiritual life when kids aren't constantly interrupting. You have to find time for this somewhere in your day.

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