Thursday, January 17, 2019

#parentingtruth No.2 - Your traveling partner

parenting truth, marriage, your traveling partner

Today’s #parentingtruth is about partnership. I want to spend some time focusing on your traveling partner for the journey: your spouse. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in the day to day issues of life and forget that this is supposed to be a partnership. God did not design us to raise children alone, although I know a lot of you are currently in that situation. So let’s start there: how do you raise children when you are a single parent? Hopefully, you can find family and friends who work as your support group. While you won’t have the same relationship with them that you would with a spouse, they can be your traveling partners and make your childrens’ lives much richer, and yours a whole lot easier. Don’t do this alone!

The first part of this #parentingtruth I’ve learned is that your traveling partner is just as (or more) important than your destination. In this case, taking care of the relationship you have with your spouse is actually more important than where and when your children are grown and ready to move out. Why? Because you said “I do” to a lifetime, not just a season. Although it seems like you’ll be raising your kids for-ev-er, it really isn’t as long as you think. 

It is important to choose wisely how you spend those precious alone times you have together with your spouse. And just a word of warning - you will have to fight to keep them alone times. Feel free to put a child-proof lock on your bedroom door. It is worth the effort it takes to go on a date with your spouse. But, you need to make sure it is a date, and not just a gripe session. There will be years when you’re thankful for two hours away just to talk and walk through a park. Other years you may get to take an anniversary trip, or at least have a night away from home when no one calls you for anything. Wives, there will be days when you will have to dig deep and remember why you married him in order to summon up the strength to stay up late and enjoy married life. Husbands, there will be days when she absolutely cannot stay awake to enjoy married bliss. So if today is that day, remember why you married her, and then pull the blanket up over her and just let your lady sleep.

The second part of this #parentingtruth about partnership is learning to walk together. There will be times when one of you wants to run ahead, and the other lags behind. There will be days when you walk beside each other well, being that iron that sharpens iron, and other times when you will have to do a lot of self-sacrificing to not speak what is on your mind, especially if it is unpleasant. That is part of adulthood, learning how to lead, how to follow, and how to walk beside someone. It is a big part of marriage because each of us has strengths and weaknesses. Our traveling partner should be encouraging both when we succeed, and when we struggle.

If you are wondering how you are doing as a traveling partner in this parenthood journey, then you need to ask the tough questions. The toughest might be this: Will my spouse and I still be together when the children are grown? In order to have a relationship after the children are grown up, you have to cultivate a relationship while they are growing. Way too many couples, even Christians, put their children above their marriage. They spend so much time and effort trying to be the cool parent, or doing everything for their kids, that they neglect to see that their marriage is failing. If you have chosen to homeschool, remember that your marriage comes before grading math papers or teaching your child how to read. You would not have the freedom to homeschool unless your spouse was supporting you, so do not let it overwhelm other areas of your life.

We live in a tough world. It takes real work to keep a marriage strong. It takes trusting God to work out all the things we cannot do on our own. It takes a lot of self sacrifice and putting the other person first. It takes a whole lot of “I’m sorry” from both of you. Being a Christian does not guarantee your marriage will last, but it can give you the right perspective. That perspective shows us that God is the One who fulfills us and gives us our value. God is the One who meets all of our needs. If we try to find our value in how our spouse treats us, what they say to us, or think that they should meet all of our needs we will get a warped outlook on life. Yes, your spouse should be loving and kind, but guess what? They are also human, just like you, so they are bound to fail at times. Give them the grace that you know you will someday need for yourself.

There is one more part of this #parentingtruth about traveling partners that I want to share with you. You need to find interests that you share, and ones that you do not. Every mom is going to have a day when she just needs to get away from the family for a while. If she has no outside interests, what will she do for recreation? Wandering the aisle at the grocery store alone might be a nice change of pace, but it’s not actually a hobby - I’m talking to you moms! Every dad is going to come to a day when he wants to hang out either by himself or with other men. If the only interests he has are ones he shares with his wife, it won’t look like he is having some recreational time, it will look like he is purposely leaving his wife at home while he goofs off. Have shared interests, but also allow your spouse to pursue an activity or hobby on their own. Your marriage will be much stronger if you have both. 

Your spouse might come along with you to events or activities that are mostly just your interests, but hopefully you sometimes go with them to things they enjoy that you really do not care much about. You might be surprised and find a new shared interest.

Life is too short, and parenting too hard, to do on your own. Make time to spend with your traveling partner. Cultivate your marriage. After all, they are the reason you are a parent in the first place. 
(Wink, wink!)

parenting truth, marriage, your traveling partner

No comments:

Post a Comment