Recently I was with a couple that were struggling with their marriage. They had been married quite a while and there was no evidence of abuse that I could see, but there were words that were exchanged that were not pleasant after so many years. They were feeling hopeless for their marriage, not knowing where to turn, they asked me for some help. As I have looked at theirs and many other marriages I see a challenge that happens and I try to warn so many parents, but they never think it will happen to them.
When a new baby comes into the picture, the focus is no longer on the couple it’s on the baby. Babies demand a lot of attention. They need it! But the challenge comes in keeping the balance. After the first six months and the baby is doing well, I start encouraging mom and dad to go out on a date. Some take my advice and they are doing well. Others say, we are doing fine and I don’t want to leave my baby. I have to work all week and we don’t get much time with him/her, besides, we go out with her. Nope it doesn’t work. Both mom & dad need attention from each other as well as from the baby. It all seems to be working well, until the babies leave the nest, and sometimes before.
Children are a delight, and they need attention, but your marriage needs to be nurtured! You can’t take it for granted. You don’t talk about the same things and you don’t talk the same way or give the attention that is needed to your spouse when the children are in the same room.
I remember my husband getting very upset when we would have a conversation and my attention would quickly go toward a child’s need. He would tell me “they can wait, I’m talking to you”. Boy, did this irritate me when I was going through it. But later I realized, there are several good things that happen with a dad saying this. The child learns discipline and they also learn that they are not the center of the universe.
Children need to see healthy skills in a relationship. Going on regular date nights are a skill that you want to pass on to your children. They will then hopefully repeat it in their own marriages. If they do not see this they don’t know to copy it.
I’ve also found that over 30 years in studying my families, the families that let the mom & dad have a life that’s fun together with and without the kids tends to stay together. I will be honest, most of the time it’s the women that want to be with the kids cause they feel guilty. but not always. I have seen the same things with co-sleeping. I am not against co-sleeping, but there’s got to be a limit to it, if one spouse is not keen with it. But whomever is not wanting to date or sleep without the kids is usually totally shocked when the other spouse seems unhappy in the marriage and the marriage seems to fall apart at year 25-35.
You see date nights, or just spending quality time together is important to keep the marriage intact. If you’re not having FUN together why stay together? The kids won’t always be there to keep you together. Believe me at the end of your life you don’t want to be alone!TED Talk