Life is hard. Life is busy. And much of the time, life’s distractions and busyness erodes away marriage’s subtle interactions (or lack thereof), bit by bit day by day. For most parents today, we get up, one or both parents get the kids up and off to school, then high tail it to work. After an exhausting day of work or chores, one of the parents picks tired children after a full day of learning in the classroom as well as learning social interaction and societal norms from their peers. From there, everyone jets around to piano lessons, sports practices, dance classes, voice lessons, play rehearsals, or whatever activities are on the schedule. Then at the end of the day, there is food to prepare and eat, laundry to do, homework to complete, baths to give, and a house to pick up. Is there even time to sleep!?
Don’t Give in to the Crazy
We live in a world where parents are pressured to let their kids try all types of activities to find their passions. We are conditioned to believe that if we don’t let our kids do all the things, that they will fall behind or that somehow we are failing as parents. This hyper-competitive environment can be so extreme that many relationships erode - between parents that are friends or even between spouses.
We get so hyper-focused on these extra-curricular “things” that the family suffers, the marriage suffers, and the household suffers. Maybe even other relationships suffer too. And many other unseen and unforeseen things are affected in the process.
But the worst things that suffer are the foundational aspects of our lives. I am mainly talking about the intimacy of marriages and our responsibility as parents to build relationships with our children - to teach them to be selfless, responsible adults that contribute in a meaningful way to the world around them.
For example, when the game doesn’t go so well and we come out asking our kid, “Why didn’t you do that!?” or “What were you thinking?” Or when meals at the dinner table stop being a priority, and kids stop being expected to do chores or get a job because sports are the new “work.” Or in our marriages when the exhaustion has set in and there is no time for yourself, let alone a goodnight kiss or quiet conversations under the covers. That very sacred moment in time is lost again to the hustle and bustle of making sure our kid participates in the buffet of life.
The reality is this… in that buffet line, real life is lost. This crazy overwhelming exhaustion that has become normal in today’s society is a very real struggle.
Reel it In
But the ship hasn’t sailed yet, and it is up to us to reel this ship in and drink a full glass of moderation. We need at least one night a week spent around the dinner table (without electronics) to break bread together and talk about life. We need at least one night a week for family time on the couch (without electronics). And we need at least one night a month for mom and dad time, so that we can parents can stop passing each other in the hallway at night, coming and going like roommates. This causes a subtle, quiet erosion of the most blessed relationship we have. If we don’t reel in the craziness, we will find ourselves in an empty, lifeless marriage after all the kids are gone, still reaching for our kids after they have moved out of the house - unable to connect with our spouse or communicate with each other.
The good news is, it isn’t too late! We can all do this - we HAVE to do this for our kids, for our relationships, and for our happiness. Marriage first!