On my fifth anniversary, I wrote my wife a fairy tale book based on our life together. At that point, we had two children and were well on our way to having our third little boy. In our fairy tale, I chronicled how we fell in love, our courtship, our marriage, and finally how our love grew and grew, until it couldn’t be contained in two people, and thus the birth of our first son.
Since our first son was born, we’ve had two more magnificent boys and a little girl. With each new child came new experiences and learning. With each new child came a new appreciation and love for my wife.
Children help us to see the best in the midst of hard things, and help us smile when it’s hard to smile.
There is so much talk these days about how to keep love alive in your marriage, even after kids, that I think we forget that kids can actually enhance and deepen love and marriage. That’s not to say that having kids will fix a relationship that is struggling.
I recommend patching up any existing problems in a relationship before inviting kids into the mix. Children can however, add to an already good thing – if we allow it to do so.
Three major ways my kids have enhanced and added new color to the masterpiece of my marriage are encouraging us to share, learn and play.
1. Share Purpose and Responsibility
When people marry, they often take a new commitment to each other. People write vows and plan extravagant parties to celebrate the union of two lives into one. When couples get married, they join their life purposes and begin to share daily responsibilities. Some couples love to travel; others share a love of work, or other passions. When kids come along, the purpose and responsibilities change and mature. All of the sudden there is a little person that is completely dependent on his mommy and daddy. This person is literally part Mom and part Dad, and the child’s victories somehow become their victories as well. When he or she rolls over, you gasp together. When your baby crawls, you cheer together. When that first step is taken, you both stand excitedly by and watch in awe. Raising this child together makes the marriage bond a little stronger, if we do it together.
2. Learn Together
Having kids of your own is a crash course in things that truly matter. It seems to give parents an appreciation for the simple things. My wife and I have always loved to ski. We love to ski fast. In our glory days, we used to do some crazy things. When my oldest son was two years old and barely walking, I took him skiing for the first time. That was the slowest I have skied in almost 20 years; and yet it was exhilarating to watch him, and each of my sons, learn to ski. They love sliding down the hill together.
Beyond that, parenting challenges couples to evaluate themselves, improve themselves, and learn new things you never knew you needed to know. Ultimately, parenthood teaches a person and a couple how to love unconditionally, usually for the first time in their life.
3. Keep It Fun and Playful
Kids keep us playing. Children run, imagine, and play every day, which is something we adults often forget how to do. Our kids can bring that back for us. Kids do and say the craziest things. They add a little comic relief to every day in the home. Their playful nature helps us to keep things playful and fresh with our spouse. They help us to see the best in the midst of hard things. They help us smile when it’s hard to smile.
The trouble that some people have is that they don’t share, learn, and play. Instead, they wait for their spouse to do those things. They miss the enhancements because they are still looking backward. When we invest in our children and our spouse, our kids become a welding link. They become strengthening additions to our relationships. So go out and share, learn, play – and ultimately grow – in your love for your spouse and family!
Question: How do your kids enhance your marriage?
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