To provide your children with the best living, breathing example of love, I would like to recommend that you leave. With your spouse.
Of all the gifts you can give your child, loving his or her father or mother ranks close to the top. For your child to daily bear witness to laughter, friendship, kindness, respect, empathy, and passion, parents must make it a point to stay connected—outside of the kids.
This past Thursday through Sunday, Steve and I kept Ava while her parents spent a few glorious days in Cabo, San Lucas. Celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary, Shauna and Adam took the opportunity to be gone.
Over the long weekend, Pop and I listened intently to every song she sang (Ava has a constant song in her heart—often adding new, interesting verses to old standards). We watched in awe at every dance step she took (on Sunday, Nordstorm’s doubled as a disco as Ava broke into fancy dance moves—complete with shoulder scrunches) and we laughed until our sides hurt (she has a wicked sense of humor for a 3-year-old). By visit-end we were totally exhausted. Come Monday morning, as we sat in bed, we enjoyed something that had evaded us for the past 72 hours: conversation. Which made me wonder, when you have kids, when do just the two of you ever have the opportunity to talk?
Keeping a marriage alive under normal circumstances is difficult. Couple the typical strains with stressful jobs—or losing a job—and managing even the sweetest of kids can suck the romance right out of the relationship. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Marriages most often die a very slow, painful death—one day at a time. Typically, neither of you even see it coming until it’s too late.
Let’s face it—kids are a whip! For a marriage to thrive while raising wee ones (ugh—or teenagers), couples must prioritize their relationship over everything and everyone else, even that precious little brown-eyed blonde sitting on your lap. So . . .
Call the sitter and schedule a date night for next Friday. Trade off with neighbors and plan a walk (without tricycles in tow) on Saturday morning. Email your mom (she’ll love it) and make reservations for a long weekend in July.
Make your marriage a priority and be gone.
Loving the thought of you … loving on each other,