I've been to two different parenting presentations and told by two different Marriage, Family, Life Therapists that you have to take time out for your self (happy, recharged mommy = better mommy for the kids) and time out for just you and your spouse. This as we all know is so much easier to say than to put into practice. But in all honesty I've noticed that in the 14 years I've been married I feel like my spouse and I have drifted the farthest apart in the last 4 years (post kids). This is not his fault and it is not my fault. Life just happens.
This weekend my husband and I attended a marriage seminar at church titled The Art of Marriage, and guess what. There it was again, this idea that the marriage has to be before the kids. WHAT?! But here is why and it makes sense. The kids will grow up and leave when they marry their own spouse. They will Leave their mothers and fathers to Cleave to their own spouses. This is God's design and how wonderful that is. Our spouse is God's Gift to us. Our spouse should be valued above all others with a certain reverence that demands our attention, our love, our understanding and patience and our forgiveness. Our loyalty should lie with our spouse. So often I hear other women talking negatively about their Husbands- his short comings, his latest offenses etc. I too am guilty of taking part in this. But NO MORE. I get it now. My Spouse is the one person who is a true confidant, the person I can be myself with, the one person who will cheer me on to be a better person always, the one person who will be there- ALWAYS.
Now I LOVE my children, they are the world to me and I want all sorts of happinesses and successes for them. But the GREATEST gift I can give to my children is to love their Dad first and always. This will give them confidence, security and a great role model of what a healthy loving relationship should be. When I think of the marriage I want for them (happy and loving, with attentive and forgiving spouses) I realize that I need to first have that and model that. I can not do that if they get 95% of me and my Husband gets 5% of me.
I don't want to find out in 15+ years as my children leave for college that my spouse and I have grown so far apart that we are really strangers with little to nothing in common because I was so busy taking care of the kids that I neglecting his needs. I am living intentionally in the present making time for my spouse and I to reconnect often. It might just be making a special dinner once a month for just the two of us after the kids go to bed, or taking the time to walk into his office and rub his shoulders for two minutes while he's working. I make sure to kiss him before either of us leave the house and to acknowledge him as soon as one of us return home.