Someone once said that the greatest gift parents can give their children is to show them that they love each other more than anything, even them. After all, the love we have for each other is the reason our kids are here. It is the foundation of our family, the firm footing and warm embrace in the strong arms of which our children feel safe, secure, and truly happy – deep down happy. Kids shouldn’t be worried about their Mom and Dad splitting up. Instead they should spend their time and worries on kid-level things, like schoolwork, making funny noises, and keeping pesky siblings out of their stuff. They know we love them not only because we show them and tell them, but because the love for each other that MADE them in the first place is placed at the head of our family, right under our love for God who gave us life and the gift of life eternal.
Most people agree that the family is the cornerstone of society, but too many parents make their kids the center of their family. There are times when we are guilty of it too. Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of life and the pure exhausting WORK that goes into raising four small children, we find ourselves doing everything for our kids and neglecting each other.
This is why it is so important to schedule a ‘date night’ on a regular basis – no kids, no parenting, no guilt – just you and your spouse and a couple of ribeye steaks, medium rare. It’s no panacea, but let me testify it sure helps. Many years ago, before our children were born, Kim and I made a commitment to always ‘date’ each other. And so we try to schedule one at least every other week – sometimes more, sometimes less (depending on grandparents’ schedules). We are blessed to have family near (the grandparents love spending time with the kids, the kids enjoy spending time with them, we enjoy getting OUT – win, win, win!!), but even if we had to pay for a babysitter it would be worth it. Couples need that time alone, to have ‘adult’ talk with each other, to be a ‘couple’, to remind each other that when the kids are married and gone, when the house is quiet again, the love that brought your children into the world is the love that will be with you when you grow old.
Proverbs 5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
Sometimes Kim and I might be in the kitchen working on dinner or cleaning up. One or the other of us takes a notion to have a hug, so we’ll stand there and do just that. And then the magic happens, because inevitably we’ll feel little hands embrace our legs, look down and see little faces looking up at us with big smiles and giggles. When they are older they will remember those moments, remember the rock they stood on that made their childhood a happy one. They’ll know that we loved them all the more because we loved and put each other FIRST.
So schedule that date night, get a sitter, go out and do something you both like. Enjoy each other. Recharge your batteries. Communicate. Relax. Love and put each other first, and you will love your kids all the more for it!