In this blog I wish to comment on a common situation I find in marriages these days: couples who don’t find time for each other.
In years past when the norm was for the father to be the breadwinner off at work while the mother stayed home and kept house, parents didn’t have much worry about the children having time with their parents. Usually, at least the mother was home when the children got out of school, so they at least had one parent home with their children and felt comfortable that their children had sufficient parental attention. Now, however, with both parents often out at work during the day, I hear frequently from parents that they feel a greater burden to make sure they spend time with their children. They must make a conscious decision to make plans that involve their children so as to spend time with them. Sadly, many parents fail to do this, and their children often grow up without their parents’ regular presence and involvement in their lives. It is certainly commendable when parents realize the real need to spend time with their children, and that they cannot use the excuse that they’re busy making money in order to provide for their needs to justify their absence. But I see another need that is frequently ignored, and that is for the couple to spend time alone with just the two of them.
Your marriage is the glue that keeps your family together. Families don’t fall apart when siblings fight or a mom & her daughter don’t get along; families fall apart when the husband and wife can no longer live together peacefully. Too often, the need for parents to be alone just the two of them, is ignored, and parents often feel guilty leaving their children with a babysitter while they go out on a date. I even see couples who take their children with them when they go out to celebrate their anniversary! This is not good. When I was first ordained a married man gave me advice that I have never forgotten. He told me, “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.” How right he was! And of course, the reverse is equally true, that a mother’s greatest gift is to love their father. I therefore find it of utmost importance for husbands and wives to take time for themselves just to be together and strengthen their marriage bond. You are not slighting your children if you go out for dinner and leave them with a babysitter; on the contrary, you are doing something very important for them. My mother and father used to go out every Friday or Saturday together, and they told us it was “Mommy and Daddy’s date night.” Maybe that’s part of why they are celebrating 56 years of a happy marriage this month! There were plenty of family events in our household, including dinner every evening together, so we never felt abandoned when our folks went on a date. By all means, make time to spend with your children so that you are a part of their life, but don’t forget to take appropriate time just for the two of you. Your family will be stronger if you do.