Marriage generally starts with a central focus on each other, and again in the golden days of life together, the spouses will provide companionship and support for one another. However, in the middle, those cute little kiddies come along and may create a distraction from the main show.
When the children become a higher priority than the marriage itself, danger lurks ahead. The relational pyramid of the family is turned upside down, with the children at the apex (the point), leaving the marriage flatlined across the bottom. Couples often come to counseling at this point, when their relationship has been neglected in favor of investing primarily in the needs and wants of their children.
Obviously, in the first few years, children must have their basic survival needs met. Later, however, the couple should ask these questions: Where is the energy of this family directed? What ratio of time, energy, money, and emotion is spent on keeping our kids happy and busy compared to the time, energy, money, and emotion invested in growing our marriage?
A well-tended marriage benefits the kids, whereas the opposite is not always true. Children actually feel more secure when they know that their parents love one another more than they love their children! They may cringe when parents are caught in PDA (public display of affection); however, later in life they’ll proudly share that their parents showed affection! On the other hand, kids who must spend emotional energy wondering if their parents’ relationship is breaking, or trying to navigate the tension in the home, may suffer socially, academically, mentally, and spiritually. Or, a young person looking for loopholes in discipline may take advantage of the conflict between parents.
Here are just a few ideas for investing in your marriage:
Take a walk
Have daily conversations about the day, including asking about highs and lows of the day
Give 3 kisses per day
Experience sexual connection
Get up and go to sleep at the same time as each other
Open your social media/email/phone to each other freely
Express appreciation often
Weekly date night
Monthly “business” meeting (to manage life!)
Annual anniversary overnight getaway
Every 5 years plan a longer time away, if possible.
The investment will yield great returns!