Remember when you first got married, and it was just the two of you? I know, it’s hard to remember the days without most of the distractions that come with kids and raising a family, but try. Remember how you were able to put time into your marriage pretty easily? I mean, you still had to be intentional, but it was easy to set date nights, and have romantic interludes at any time of the day, because it was just the two of you. If you wanted to go somewhere, you went. Wanna do something together? Let’s go do it! Yep, all that went out the door, when the kids came along.
Now some people would say “come on man, that’s just life!”, and to a point, I guess it’s true. But “life” and all the things that come with it – kids, extra jobs, meetings, school outings, dance classes, baseball practice, band camp, you name it – can be just as deadly to your marriage as a full-blown affair.
It might not be as fast an effect as an affair, but let me tell you, if you allow all those “life things” to sneak in and take over, without really even noticing it, it has just as big an impact.
Your marriage goes from “the two of us are the priority”, to “now that we have kids, we can’t be the priority right now”. And you might even convince yourselves that “it’s only for a little while”, or “when the kids are gone, we’ll pick up where we left off!”, but it’s not, and you won’t.
When all that “life stuff” starts taking over the priorities, you and your wife start what I call a “slow drift” apart from each other. Slowly but surely, “life” starts to sit in between you and your wife, and before you know it, you realize that you haven’t had sex in two weeks, and you’re crabby with each other, but you don’t really remember why, and the kids are acting out, because they’ve noticed something’s up with mom and dad, and life just seems miserable. Ever been there? I know we sure have. And you know what the cause is? Life. Plain, simple, boring, LIFE.
We have not made our marriage the priority. We have not put in the energy required, to stay close to each other. At some point we stop caring as much. We start thinking “marriage must just get like this after a while”. Without even noticing it, we let the “what’s important needle” slowly creep from the “our marriage” mark, to the “life” mark on the gauge (so I’m a car guy, sorry). We’ve bought into the lie the world keeps telling us that says “You won’t be in love with your spouse your entire marriage!” and “After a while the romance goes away.”. We start to believe it. We start to quit trying.
I have four kids that I love DEARLY. I would lay my life down for any one of them. But they are BLACK HOLES when it comes to sucking the energy out of your marriage. They will ALWAYS need something. They will ALWAYS have an issue they need solved. But you know what? It’s OK to GET AWAY every week for a date night, even if it’s for a few hours! It’s OK to sneak away for a weekend when they get older than the “infant stage”. It doesn’t make you bad parents! It actually makes you BETTER parents, because you’ll come back recharged, closer to your spouse, and ready to face “the life stuff” again! Kids are GREAT, and family time is great, but you can’t make them the PRIORITY over your marriage! If your kids always out rank your marriage, you will NEVER have a close, intimate relationship as a married couple. It’s just not going to happen.
So next time you get home from a 10 hour day at work, and as soon as you walk in the door, you start in on the “life list” that need to be done, helping with dinner, the lawn, washing the cars, playing with the kids – I don’t need to keep going – REMEMBER – what you put time into, there your priorities lie.
Grab your wife’s hand, look at your ever packed calendar, and find some time – no MAKE some time, to be together. To date. To have sex. To be that life partner/lover/friend that you promised you would be, way before the “troops” showed up. Be the example that they need, to have a good marriage of their own someday.
Don’t let “LIFE” sit between you and your wife. Kick life out, and get back over there next to your wife again. “LIFE” has been sitting there long enough.