Marriage Staff Meeting: Your Spouse Can’t Wait!
Kara is a great mother, and her husband, Keith, is a good father. So what’s the problem? In this couple’s zeal to be super mom and super dad, they're neglecting one another, and their own relationship is beginning to suffer. Keith and Kara often rationalize the problem by thinking, "My partner's an adult. The children need me, so if I have to choose between the two, my spouse can wait." What Kara and Keith don't realize is that the quickest way to damage the kids is to weaken the marriage. One of the best ways they can love their kids is to love each other.
It is vitally important that children see mom and dad prioritize their marriage relationship. Children feel secure when they see a strong level of intimacy between their parents. This principle is even more critical in blended families when there's often an internal pressure for parents to "make up for" a broken home by prioritizing the children above the new marriage. Just the opposite is what is needed!
Here are practical suggestions on how the parents' relationship can be developed, protected and prioritized.
- Reserve certain topics that will be private among parents, such as: marriage goals, personal goals, educational plans, ministry ideas, sexual intimacy specifics, unhealed personal feelings, or financial business.
- Reserve some time to be private among parents, such as: weekly staff meetings, sexual intimacy times, and date nights.
- Acknowledge the uniqueness of your relationship in front of others. Greet your spouse first when entering the house, use pet names for each other and avoid calling each other "Mom" and "Dad." Allow the children to "catch" you hugging your partner, physically stand with each other during family gatherings, hold hands and sit together while watching TV.
- Allow children to see signs of caring such as the giving of small gifts, flowers, opening doors, serving each other, or doing chores for your partner. Give praise, encouragement and appreciation for your spouse in front of the children.
- Support your spouse when they discipline the children. Confer together in private if you do not agree. Support your spouse's parenting policies when they are absent. Support the rules that have already been set. If rules need to be changed, both parents should discuss the changes together and privately. If a child asks you for something, see to it that the child has not already asked the other parent first.
During your next marriage staff meeting, discuss these items. Ask your spouse to honestly share with you, ways in which they have not felt prioritized in your marriage relationship, specifically ways in which the children have been chosen above the marriage.
Ask forgiveness for times when the relationship was hurt because of neglect or wrong priority. You might even need to talk to the children, explaining to them how you have been wrong and how you intend to correct the situation.
The well-being of your marriage AND your children will be strengthened as you prioritize the intimacy of marriage.