It’s February; this means that we are all a little more focused on love and relationships, right? It was not too long ago that I realized I spend more time pondering and discussing parent-child relationships than I do my marriage relationship. It’s not that I don’t recognize the importance of marriage; it’s just that the demands of parenting seem louder and more persistent. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, you know? Needless to say, having my eyes opened to this unbalanced ratio has been a good thing. In the process of reorienting my focus, I have come to a few conclusions which I hope will be of benefit to you as well.
The first is that the Golden Rule does not exclude spouses. There are days when I have been so busy caring for our children that I simply see my husband as someone who is there for my benefit: help me, pamper me, listen to me, serve me. I have a set of expectations for him that aligns with my personality and I can get impatient or frustrated when he does not meet them. This tendency of mine is not a righteous one. My husband lavishes me with such grace: rarely suggesting any improvements to my character and encouraging me to flourish in the way my personality is inclined. These are such gifts and are attributes that I would like to cultivate more in how I treat and respond to him. He is a master of the Golden Rule and is truly leading by example.
The second is that spouses are not children. With the bulk of my day being spent providing childcare, there are times when I probably forget to revert to adult mode when my husband gets home. In some ways, it could be easier to just group him in with the kids in how I talk to him, respond to him, and care for him. If and when I do this, it is by no means intentional; however, it is something to which I need to be alert. Not only would treating him like a child disrespect him it would also demean him in front of our children. They need to recognize the pivotal role he has in our home and family and respond to him with utmost respect and adoration. Again, my husband already leads by example in how he treats me and encourages the children to respond to me. Husbands and wives set the tone of the home and are living models of what children can expect from marriage. Both marriage partners should be loved and respected by one another.
Finally, the marriage must be the center of the God-fearing home. After faith, the marriage must be both spouses’ number one priority. Everything about the family is linked to the health and vibrancy of marriage. Once the honeymoon stage has ended, it is all too simple to slip into a monotonous routine when it comes to one another. Work consumes, children arrive with overwhelming needs, life throws bills, break-downs, and social demands. Pretty soon marriage can be a mere box to check on an insurance form. But it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be that way. If we can manage to make everything else a priority, we can most certainly make time for the one we once knew we couldn’t live without. We have become one flesh with this person and, just as our spirit craves that Creator-creation connection, our hearts long for a consistent connection with our soulmate. Time with our spouse is not a luxury; it is a necessity.
Marriage is a God-given gift worth cherishing. It should not be treated lightly. It is upon a healthy marriage that a healthy home is built; within that home new lives are created and nourished. When these lives are fully matured, they leave home of their birth to establish families of their own, and so the cycle of society continues. When marriages disintegrate, society crumbles.