Saturday, July 17, 2010

#1. Mother or Wife?

A few years ago, long before I met my spouse, I was listening to a sermon given by a pastor of a large church in Texas. Ed Young, senior pastor of Fellowship Church, was talking about the child CEO-- what a child becomes when their wants and desires take top priority in a family, even above fulfilling the needs for a strong marriage. I remember thinking to myself that I would never allow this to happen. I was well aware of what Scripture has to say about marriage, I had read Ephesians 5 and was determined to use those words as an outline for my future marriage. I was going to do exactly what Ed said, have a date night at least once a month (no matter what was going on with my children) and remember at all times that my children would one day leave my home (as Ed puts it, parenting is simply "training your children to leave") but that I would be with my spouse for the remainder of my life.

It seemed easy enough. Then I got married. And I had children.

Our children are still young. Our oldest will be three next month and our youngest is just 13 months old. I couldn't have imagined then how much I would love these two little people. I would do anything to protect them, even giving my own life if necessary. Now that they are here, I cannot imagine a world without them. And I understand fully how they can quickly become the top priority within the family.

Jimmy Evans writes in his book, "Twelve Steps to Resolving Stress in your Marriage", that we must protect our marriage from lower priorities, whether these are good (children, friends, family) or bad. I will admit that this is difficult for me. I have to work at keeping my marriage my top priority, directly below my relationship with God. It's easy to allow myself to slip into caring more for my children when they are completely dependent on me for their every need. And they are so darn cute. Not that my spouse isn't, but it's a different type of cuteness. They look like me! :)

The book also gives four tips to making your spouse-- and your marriage-- your top priority (the only exception being your personal relationship with God). The first is to be willing to sacrifice lower priorities for the sake of your marriage. The second is giving your spouse a protected and dedicated amount of your time. Third, making marriage your first priority with an attitude of pleasure and delight, not an attitude of apathy and obligation. And fourth, you must be willing to give the energy it takes to maintain a healthy, functional marriage.

Sacrifice, time, attitude, energy. Four things I'll admit I falter with from time to time. Such as, I don't have the time because of how busy I am taking care of the boys and keeping a clean and comfortable home. That translates into a less than enthusiastic attitude about seeing my spouse at the end of a long day and a lack of energy to enjoy spending time with him after the kids are put to bed.

This is a particular area that I know needs work and I pray that God will give me the wisdom, strength and desire to change.

Comments? Am I alone in this struggle of Mom vs. Wife?


Sassy Granny ... said...

My struggles as a mother ended many years ago, but I will never forget the days of exhaustion that often left me wondering why I'd had children to begin with!

You're not alone. But this I know: anyone as concerened as you are about your mothering effectiveness is already doing something very right.

I also know it's easiest when you have fun with it; and with being a wife too. Laughter is fuel.


He & Me + 3 said...

You are not alone at all. There are days that my kids take every thing from me and hubby gets home & I have nothing left to give. I need to learn to save some me for him. Make sure that my wife compartment is full & was not emptied by the day or the kids. It is hard and I am with you. I totally understand.

RCUBEs said...

Juggling between work and raising even just one child, then with the house chores and yeah, we got a hubby, too! It's hard sometimes. By God's grace, He answered our prayer that I am able to work part time and that was when I was able to give full attention to my child and hubby. I can see why it's important for us to truly make time to nurture our marriage. By His grace, we can...May the Lord continue to guide you and protect you on this aspect. Blessings.

Beth E. said...

You are definitely not alone! Back during our child-rearing years, hubby and I both had a tendency to put the children first. It took us a few years to realize we had our priorities in the wrong order!

You are on the right track with your priorities. God will give you that strength, wisdom and desire to change.


Avery's Mommy said...

You are SO not alone! Between my hubby, toddler and work I am stretched thin. I think I'm realizing if I keep God right in the center it's easier to realize how unimportant work is and how my toddler NEEDS me to have a strong relationship w/ my husband, even more than she needs that relationship from me. It can get very confusing and hard, but keeping God right in the middle is keeping me grounded. GREAT POST!