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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How does a marriage survive?

A blogging friend suggested I write about how to keep a marriage alive in the midst of raising many small children. What a *great* topic!

Of course, this really doesn't apply to me, since Superman and I are naturally in sync, never in disagreement, and our kids never require more of us than we can easily handle. We have never desperately needed a break. We have never felt guilty about making some poor souls (namely, Superman's parents) have to watch a slough of kids so we could have some time to gaze lovingly into each other's eyes. We have never complained about the continuous flow of paperwork, social worker visits, or unending requirements we have to complete in order to be parents. Nope.

Of course, in all actuality, maintaining a healthy marriage is something that we have to continually work at . I must be completely honest, though, and admit that we have been blessed with a rock solid marriage. We disagree little, and argue rarely. In fact, I can't remember the last time we actually had an argument. But, that being said, it is still extraordinarily difficult at times to maintain my role as wife and not just mom . I think it comes naturally to most moms to put the needs of the kids first--they are, after all, clinging desperately to our legs, snot running down their faces, and crying for attention. And although our dear husbands may not be quite so obvious, they do still cry for attention.

So, here's the top 5 tidbits I've learned so far over our 11 years of marriage:

1. God comes first. Then Superman. Then our kids. Any time I've tried to move the priorities around a bit, the consequences are evident in my life.

2. Superman has only a few needs: food, love (physical and emotional) and encouragement. He needs to know that I think he's #1 and that I'm behind him no matter what.

3. I have to sacrifice. There are many times I don't want to do things, and I still have to do them. Now, just because I know this doesn't mean I always DO this. But, hey, at least I acknowledge it.

4. Superman is our family's leader. I submit to him. Ok, now before you all go getting your panties in a bunch, I'm not a doormat. I don't blindly agree with everything Superman says and just mutter to myself about how I resent him. I always let him know my opinion, but ultimately, I let him choose which path to take. I mean, in the end, he has to answer for his decisions, and as long as he knows where I stand, I'm good. It does help that I fully trust him--it would be a lot harder to follow this "rule" if I didn't agree with where he was headed.

5. Date nights are important. This is one area where I really struggle. I would love to claim a date night every week with Superman. That would be superb. But it's just not possible. I feel guilty any time someone has to watch all our kids, and I usually hate to ask unless we have some pre-arranged function to attend. I would love to hire a babysitter, but the day I trust some teenager alone with our kids is the day, well, you know.

There are many more nuggets I've learned, but I don't want this post to get so long that no one wants to read it.

Maybe I'll continue this another, for those of you out there with small kids, big kids, or even no kids, how do you keep your marriage or relationship a priority?

P.S. I must say it has been tempting at times to utilize respite care. Even though we do have the luxury of having family around, I don't ever want to burden them so much with our kids that they resent having to watch them, you know? We've never actually crossed that threshold, though. Have you? If so, how was your experience?


The Lassen Family said...

Loved your post!! I completely agree with everything you said. I wanted to share what we do about date nights. We have 2 other families that we swap date nights with. So 3 out of 4 friday/saturday afternoon or nights all 10 kids are at one of our houses. The other 2 couples get to go out. We keep it to about a 3 hour limit, but are pretty flexible as well. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE being together and if you're going to watch some kids, why not LOTS of kids? This makes it so that I get a date with my husband at least 2 times a month and don't have to pay a babysitter. Just so you know also, we have only had 2 kids (before yesterday--first foster placement :) and most of our friends have had 4-5--not going to complain when I get free babysitting out of it.

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