Soccer practice and games, dance class, carpooling to school, working 40+ hours per week, exercising at the gym, housework, yardwork, family time, doctor appointments – and the list goes on. Where in this hectic family schedule is there time for spouses to be alone and bask in each other’s company?
It appears that the kids have plenty of time for their activities and that family time is evident but there is little or no time left for spouses to enjoy one another. What happens when this lifestyle continues for 18 years or more while the children are at home? The short answer is that marriages become strained and spouses no longer know one another. Many marriages even end in divorce once the children have left home because the child-rearing years were devoted to raising kids and making them happy while the spouses invested little or no time in cultivating their own personal relationship.
Today’s view of marriage needs some revamping as couples drift into a state of apathy towards their relationship. So many couples appear to be content with their routine: off to work (maybe a quick kiss good-bye), take kids to school, pick kids up, attend kids’ extra-curricular activities, return home, eat a quick dinner, help kids with homework, put kids to bed, relax a bit, go to sleep. It is as though couples assume that this schedule is necessary for x-amount of years (years determined by the amount of kids they have and the amount of years in between the oldest and youngest child). Then, when the kids are grown, couples naively assume that they will return to their lives as they were B.C. (before children) – lives which exhibited moments of dating, being spontaneous, and enjoying one another.
How can couples believe this type of relationship is possible when for so many years they basically ignore one another and place emphasis upon the needs of their children while neglecting the needs of their spouse? It is only natural for relationships of any kind to dwindle or die if neither person commits effort into further developing that relationship. Couples must realize that their spouse takes priority over the kids. The children will only be at home for so long whereas the spouse has committed his/her life until “death do we [you] part.” Therefore, amidst the insane family schedule, couples must set aside time to invest in one another in order to nourish the love, excitement, curiosity, fire, and satisfaction of that relationship.
Today’s married couples are over-scheduled and thus lack little play time with one another. If a marriage is to survive, couples must return to the idea of making their spouse a priority. Little gestures such as hand-writing a note and placing it in the spouse’s briefcase or lunchbox, sending flowers to the spouse’s workplace, helping with household chores, and saying “thanks” or “I love you” are simple ways to aid in the cultivation of the marriage relationship. Couples can avoid the divorce lane if they designate the development of their marriage relationship as a major priority in their lives. Successful marriages commence with a single choice: invest in the spouse and make him/her priority.