What do parents say when life gets hard with their children?
“We are exhausted all of the time. I don’t know how to do this well.”
“Is there a class we can take? Can you recommend a good book? Maybe she needs counseling.”
“I love him, I just don’t like him right now.”
“It’s a season. It will get better, right?”
“How did you handle it when your daughter went through this?”
Now, what do spouses often say when marriage gets hard?
“I’m just so tired of this. I want out.”
“I refuse to go to counseling.”
“I don’t love her anymore.”
“There’s no way this can ever improve.”
“I can’t talk to anyone about my marriage.”
Why the stark difference? Why is it that as parents we don’t quit our children, but when marriage gets tough we can be so quick to walk away? Parents will pay any amount and spend so much time and energy to make sure Junior is happy, but then refuse to put any effort into the relationship that created Junior in the first place. We chose our spouses, so doesn’t it seem that we would be most loyal to that choice? I’m certainly not advocating lowering our responsibility to our children, I am suggesting that there is a very real disconnect in our allegiance.
What if we were as fierce for our marriages as we are for our kids?
The truth is that both these important relationships can be exhausting, with ebbs and flows. Realistically, in both your child’s life and in your marriage, having someone with more knowledge and experience can be a lifeline. And honestly there is always hope, even when it feels hopeless. Fight for your marriage just like you would, or do, fight for your child. It’s worth it.
I absolutely love the perspective this gives. I just forwarded it to a friend. Love your ability to communicate and state your point in a way that definitely makes one think. 🙂
Very profound, Jennifer. You made a lot of sense in your comparison of the two. Kudos.
Thank you so much. You know, you were the first person to ever make a comment on my blog. Almost four years ago! I really appreciate your willingness to hang in there!
Ohhhh!!! That is so touching to me…so sweet of you to tell me that. Thank YOU, Jennifer. You are very welcome, and a big thank you to you for your quality of work. Always enjoy reading you. Keep it up, okay?
LOVE.THIS.TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!! And I soooooooooo desperately needed to “hear” this today! I don’t have children (a step-daughter but unfortunately, she lives in another country) but it is such a great comparison! Thank you for speaking TRUTH!
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
My children are grown, in their 20s, families of their own, and tho I mostly agree with this, I do have to say that putting your marriage on the same level with your kids can be very destructive, especially in a blended family. As difficult as it was and as many tears as I shed, I have no regrets putting my marriage first. God gave me my children to love unconditionally, but not to approve and support unconditionally. The day that they each decided that the nest was no longer comfy and that they wanted to explore the world on their terms, they had to leave, but now, they are thankful for that painful lesson. It was tough to endure the “I can’t believe my own mother is allowing me to be treated this way”, when my husband made my son push the lawn mower around the yard every day of the summer, sometimes with the engine shut off, because he refused to mow the lawn when I asked him to. He is a strong man today because of those lessons, and I have a strong marriage today, because it is second only to God in my life.
I don’t believe we are saying different things, I agree that it is best not you put your marriage on the same plane as your relationship with children. My point is that parents can be so patient with their children and yet unwilling with their spouses, which seems so wrong. Thank you for reading and commenting!