Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our Married Life After We Had Children

How can having kids not have an affect on a marriage? Consider:

Today, I yelled at my kids and then yelled at my wife for yelling at me for yelling at the kids. Meanwhile, the kids shed tears that could turn even W.C. Fields into a Mr. Rogers. Yes, having children has a way of changing the tenor of the home environment—and that’s understating it.

But, though having children does present various challenges to a marriage, it can also provide opportunities to grow even closer as husband and wife. For example, each weekday morning we rise together to get the kids fed, dressed and prayed up for the day. If memory serves, Heather and I rarely ate breakfast together before we had kids (because we didn’t have to).

Of course, now that the kids attend school, that also changes our marriage. On the one hand, marriage becomes more difficult as we have appointments, homework, and school bills to worry about. On the other hand, marriage is easier with older children because you’re not having to worry about things like who is going to change the next diaper.

I must say, I’m glad Heather and I agree on parenting style issues. I shudder to think the toll our marriage would take if we were constantly battling over how to discipline the kids.

All in all, I’m glad we have kids and can honestly say I hope we have grandkids someday.

This week I’ve been a “single” Mom while Troy has been in Holland, and my life looks a lot different than it would had I been home alone. Sure, I’ve had to get up every morning on time, have breakfast with the kids, take them to school, keep the house running, do my church work, pick them up, do homework (although, there was that phone call to Dad to get his help with math homework….), feed them, do the bedtime routine (few giggles when Mom is reading), spend the evening doing whatever, and then repeat.

But I’m glad I’m not home alone. I have two other souls in the house with me that also miss Troy, so burdens are halved. They are old enough to help now, with dishes, tidying up, walking the dog and that sort of thing. Again, burdens halved.

They are also good conversationalists. Walking home from school, I have to make them take turns processing their day, or they will just talk over each other. Yesterday Nic had a “bad time” during second playtime when “some older boys thought I was bothering the girls, but I was just PLAYING with them, and they were hitting me. When the teachers saw me crying, they said the boys would be punished. But I forgave the boys.” My kids teach me to always be looking for something to learn, to be resilient, to forgive again and again and to not guard my heart even in repeated onslaughts.

My kids make me a better person.

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