For those of us with kids, you totally understand that sometimes a successful day is just keeping your kiddos alive, and that’s ok. Despite our valiant attempts to raise the most perfect, well-rounded little humans we possibly can, we fail. We fail because it’s not our duty to raise perfect children. It’s our duty to be Godly parents and as a result, we will then raise Godly children. If that sounds like a big responsibility, it’s because it is. Children learn by example and what better examples for your children to learn from than you! Unfortunately many families have what is called a “child-centered home” which simply means your entire world revolves around your children. I get it, children take A LOT of time and attention and we are instructed all throughout Scripture to love our children and to provide and care for our children. But where in Scripture does it teach us to focus more on our children than our spouse? When did it become popular to have daddy-daughter dates and not daddy-mommy dates? When did it become the norm to make time for friends and family (even church family) and not have time for our husband or wife? Daddy-daughter/Mommy-son dates are awesome and I love nothing more than to spend time with family and friends, but why is it that the one person that used to be our world is now just a part of our world?
It’s so easy to put your marriage on cruise control and focus on your job, your children,
and everything else life throws at you but we must understand that Satan is out to destroy our homes and that starts with your marriage. Marriage was consecrated by God and because of that, Satan wants nothing more than to destroy that which God has created and he will use whatever means necessary to accomplish his mission, even your very own children. If the enemy can distract you from your spouse and convince you that your children are the most important people in the home, then he has successfully started to drive a wedge between you and your spouse. You see, a “child-centered home” leaves very little room for a loving, nurturing marriage. James Dobson said it best when he said, “If all of your efforts as parents are spent exclusively on your children, they will cause a vacuum of intimacy in your home and turn great parents into boring, lousy lovers.”
Do you feel more like a maid, cook, or taxi driver than you do a parent? Does your home function more like a hotel than a home? You may be a great parent but a lousy lover if your kids sleep in your bed more than you do. Perhaps your idea of a great date night is swinging by Burger King on the way to a ball game. If this sounds like you and your spouse, maybe it’s time to invest more in your marriage. It is God’s will for you to be head over heels in love with your spouse! Your friends and family need to see you madly in love with one another and so does your children. It takes far more than just intimacy to become a great lover to your spouse. A great lover knows how to laugh a lot, play a lot, and touch a lot.
Proverbs 17:22 teaches us that a happy heart is good medicine. When is the last time you and your spouse laughed together? Renea and I find ourselves laughing a lot and while she is probably laughing at me, I will continue to think she’s laughing with me. Life is too precious and short not to enjoy your spouse. Keep things fresh and exciting at home and refuse to become the boring couple that you swore you never would become! As you learn to laugh together, you will be surprised how contagious it is with your children. Your children need to see you laughing and enjoying life together so they won’t take life so serious as they grow older.
All of us have hobbies that we enjoy and we all grew up enjoying a time for play. Now that you’re older, has the time for play and fun been dominated by the demands and stress of life? When is the last time you and your spouse had a time to relax, let loose, and just played a little? I highly recommend a weekly date night for a reserved playtime each week. In addition, one of the books I’m reading encourages a get-away with just you and your spouse at least once per year. Don’t give me the “it’s not that easy” or “we can’t afford to” excuse. You can’t afford not to! Play came easy when you and your spouse were dating. It’s time to rekindle your marriage with some of that fun you used to have together.
Most of the men reading this couldn’t wait to get to this last point of touching more. Calm down, touching more doesn’t necessarily mean more intimacy. Studies show that your spouse needs to be touched at least 8-10 times every day in a non-sexual manner. When is the last time you and your spouse hugged, cuddled, or held hands in front of your children? The simple act of holding hands is a powerful way of saying “I love you” and that simple act speaks loudly to your children. Yes, I’m giving you permission to gross out your children by showing them how much you love your spouse. Lastly, don’t neglect the power of a kiss. I’m not talking about kissing like you pray before eating….often quick and lacking in meaning. I’m talking about slowing down and smooching that spouse like you used to when you first got married. Men, I dare you to surprise your wife tonight and plant a big one on her. If your kids are in the room when it happens, all the better! Leave no doubt in your children’s minds that mom and dad are crazy about one another.
It’s time we as parents take back our marriage and our lives from the child-centered philosophy. It will undoubtedly be the greatest gift you will ever give your spouse and your children. Let’s face it, our children are here now and will be off to college and adulthood before we blink. Your spouse was there before your children and by God’s grace will be there when they are long gone. Invest in one another every day. Learn to laugh, play, and touch again…your children are watching and waiting!
P.S. Starting in May, the student and college ministries of RBC will be implementing a
monthly “Parent’s Night Out” as a ministry to our parents and families. More details will
be posted in both the bulletin and church website within the next couple of weeks so be
on the lookout!
Praying for you always,