Actually, your marriage is your top priority, not your kids. This is true for one big reason: If you pay more attention to your kids than your marriage, you’ll lose your partner, physically or emotionally, and your kids will suffer. The following will help you say, “YES, I know how to save my relationship.”
If you don’t have a thriving relationship with your partner, on an unconscious level, you might want your daughter or your son to fill that void. It happened to my brother and me in an intact family. My brother and I felt responsible for our parents’ emotional happiness. Kids are not born to take care of their parents’ wellbeing.
Single parents must be particularly vigilant that their children don’t become emotional surrogate husbands and wives. Children are not confidants or best friends of their parents. More and more children are being required to fill the role of bringing up their parents, and this is not appropriate or fair.
Your kids need to witness the example of your healthy and vibrant relationship so that they can grow up, leave you, and create the long-term relationship that you’ve modeled for them. This is your greatest gift to your kids. And, in giving this gift you learn how to save a relationship that you and your children will treasure.
But how can you give them a gift, if you’ve spent most of your time with your kids, not with your partner? Do you and your partner go out on date nights, take romantic trips, eat dinner together, or have sex on a regular basis?
Being a great parent is important, but make sure you nurture your relationship with your partner while your kids are still living with you. Otherwise when they take flight, you won’t know what to do and it might be too late to find the answer to the question how to save your relationship after decades of neglecting it.
Take an inventory of your list. Is it too much or too little? Is there a balance? Don’t forget the kids AND don’t forget the relationship that conceived them. Don’t sacrifice one for the other!
I’m a Mom and I know this is easier said than done. In my classes, I’ve witnessed great parents on the verge of divorce because it’s been years since they’ve nurtured the needs of their adult relationship. This isn’t fair to their kids.
Cathy Thorne, the cartoonist that represents my concepts is also a Mom. She knows what it takes to be both a mother and a wife. Her insightful marriage cartoon above lets you know that your kids will be OK when you are.
How do you balance being a parent and a spouse?