Adam and I get a lot of criticism for having “too many date nights”. We whole-heartedly feel like by taking care of our marriage first, we are doing what is best for our kids. One of the essential things that children need is a loving and secure home and to us that need can be met only by making sure the relationship between Adam and I is strong.
Expectations today are high on parents! It’s not enough to raise a nice kid-she’s got to be ahead of the developmental curve and involved in every activity under the sun, too. A lot of couples think, after the kids are gone, we’ll get to be a couple again…but by the time the kids are off to college so much distance has crept in that sometimes couples hardly know each other anymore. If you are thinking that you are doing what’s best for your child by putting your spouse on the back burner, you are sadly mistaken. The best way to protect your children from these things is to keep your marriage a priority.
We look to Scripture for prioritizing our family relationships. God obviously comes first: Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Then we find your spouse comes next…A married man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Christ’s first priority—after obeying and glorifying the Father—was the church. A husband should follow: God first, then his wife. When God created marriage, he gave a foundational rule for relationships between a husband and wife: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
If you listen to what society says, you will believe you aren’t being good parent unless your home is “child-centered.” This is when mom and dad are absorbed in their children and spend their parenting years being entirely child-focused, making that the center of their world. But I don’t want to feel like I’m just a mom- or maid, or chauffeur, or cook! You cannot expect to put your spouse on hold for the next 18 years, then just pick up where you left off. Making time for our marriage is a PRIORITY. I realize sometimes this can be difficult, but with some effort it can be done. The biggest challenge is managing your time. Healthy couples don’t find time, they make timetogether. To do this, you must put your “couple time” into your busy schedules FIRST – and write it down!
So, we want to challenge you to take some time to talk with your spouse about how you two can make your marriage a priority. Pull out your calendars, and see when you can set aside time for just the two of you. You may have convinced yourself that you simply don’t have enough time to schedule each other into your day, but I’ve found you have the time to do whatever you want to do. And if you don’t spend the time with your spouse, then you’ll just fill it with something less important. My advice is to set a regular date night and get your babysitter scheduled ahead of time… then figure out what you’d like to do later. We sometimes don’t even know what we are doing for date night until we get in the car. Because the most important thing is that we are actually getting out the house alone together. When your children see you making time for one another, it will model for them how to be with their future spouse.
When the Bible says we leave our father and mother, it’s really saying that we reprioritize our lives. The moment you get married, you “cleave” to your spouse and your spouse comes first.
Love your children and meet their needs, but remember that one of their most important needs is to have parents who really love and care for each other.