Sunday, April 13, 2008

Married with Children...Part 1

Children are a welcome addition to families, but their presence unquestionably affects every aspect of married life. In our child-centered society, it is important to focus on is God and each other…even with little ones wrapped around our knees. Of course, Cory was already nine months old when John and I got married—we had a ready-made family. Having two more kids in the next three years added to the fun.

Needless to say, we all had some adjusting to do in our first years of marriage. For example, Cory liked to sleep with mom and didn’t want another guy taking his place. On the nights when he found his way into our bed, he’d turn sideways and kick John with all his might. And who said babies are innocent?

But this wasn’t even our biggest struggle. Rather, it was my belief that I knew best when it came to raising kids. After all, I was a stay-at-home mom and around the kids all day. How dare John come home from work and have different ideas about how things should run? Let’s just say it caused more than one moment of conflict.

“No matter how many children God gives you, it’s important to operate jointly in parenting,” say Dennis and Barbara Rainey, authors of Staying Close. “Again and again, I see families where the woman is expected to raise the kids. Contrary to male expectations, women are not made physically, emotionally, or spiritually to rear children by themselves.”

Over time, and after a lot of frustration, I figured out three things: 1) John sometimes knew what he was talking about, 2) I could learn from his ideas, and 3) the kids benefited from enjoying a close relationship with their dad.

John was firm but loving. And he was fun. By raising our kids together, instead of trying to balance marriage and solo parenting, my life got easier in many ways.

Hmmmm… maybe that’s why God designed children to be raised by both a mother and father?

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