Hello there. I am continuing where I left off from yesterday. To recap, I’ve been reading “For better Or For Kids” by Patrick and Ruth Schwenk. If you want to catch up before reading today’s insights, go here Marriage with Kids Part I and Marriage with Kids Part II. I will be sharing tidbits from Chapter 9 to Chapter 11.
Chapter 9 is basically about what to do when you are running on empty. It happens! It’s well known that parenting takes a lot of energy. It definitely changes your life and your marriage when kids come into the picture. Patrick and Ruth share that “a marriage that is healthy when kids are in the house is a marriage in which each spouse protects the other” (145). Basically if your spouse is low on fuel, you can fill them up with love, respect, att4ention and support. It’s stressed that it shouldn’t be done only as an “emergency”. It should be given on a daily basis, even before they get to “empty”. There are various ways that are simple that you can do for them like making sure they sleep, make a meal, encouraging them to exercise, tending to them when unwell, let them see friends, do a chore for them, having sex, praying etc. My husband is awesome with being a loving spouse. That is who he is. It’s one of the reasons why I love him and married him. I personally try to do all that for my husband as well. Because there is more to life than just being a dad. I have to allow my husband to be “him” and that includes outside of workforce too. I do respect and admire my husband because he is the breadwinner. He makes enough where I am blessed to be at home with my kids and care for the house. We chose to marry young and be parents young, but I do love time for us, time for “me” time (both him and me individually) and also time for God.
We are called to cherish and protect each other. Protect one another from the enemy which is Satan, not your spouse. We are to carry this verse in our hearts from Galatians 6:2 which is carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Sharing the load is honoring God! It’s noted to refuel your spouse with things like making coffee, do dishes, take the kids to the park, do laundry, taking out the garbage, give the kids a bath, shoveling the driveway, mowing the grass, etc. My husband is awesome. He knows when I need a break and he always asks me everyday if there is anything else he can do for me, even if it’s just one simple task. Like pick up the kids from school or pray for me. I also do the same for my husband. Because my husband does have stress-filled days too and I try to light up his heart and mind with ease. Patrick and Ruth remind us to listen to our spouses and that is an act of love (153). Bring them words that uplift them. Prayer is a powerful source that you can do for them. God handles more than we can. We can pray for joy, strength and wisdom to press on for us and for our spouses. Patrick and Ruth define loving spouse as one who provides support, refreshment and encouragement. They give the effort to stay close together. They face life with you. I aim to be that for my husband. I am and will continue to be. He is my anchor and I want to be his too!
Chapter 10 is about communication in chaos. Parenting is a busy ministry to have in life. You are to share this wonderful blessing with your spouse. Communication fuels relationships. We are to talk and listen. This is how intimacy builds up in your marriage. Talking about life opens up your heart more for them to be let in. Words truly belong to God. Patrick and Ruth remind us that we are to bring goodness, beauty and creation into our marriage. They share this verse that “lips that speak life are like gold and rare jewels“. Jesus can help us find words that have grace and goodness to share. It’s suggested that we make time to share what is in our hearts. For certain conversations, we are to save them when we are completely alone and the kids are in bed. It’s our job as parents to be responsible to control our tongues in what is said, how it is said so that it creates safety and security in both marriage and family life (175). The best communication to have done with your spouse is face to face because it provides how you are listening, talking, understanding and engaging. This skill to communicate with one another takes a lifetime. It needs a lot of grace, proactive effort and love.
In our early dating days, years before we married… A lot of those conversations would take place in the car. And sometimes that fueled to a fight too. But it’s a lot of how our hearts were revealed of who and how we are to each other. And our communication was also done through emails and those “get to know you” surveys things and that helped tremendously in how to pursue one another as a couple. We had started to date when I was about to graduate from high school so we still had a lot of growing and maturing to do as individuals and as a couple. And we found a lot more of each other when we moved in together 4 years later and also engaged at the same time, and we worked a lot. Somewhere along the point of our relationship and marriage, communication was reduced. We also text too. And then we got pregnant after a year and half of being married, and stress was high on my husband’s job. I don’t think we really had a heart to heart check in a lot because we couldn’t really be together a lot and when we were home, we were on our own doing something else. There wasn’t really a lot of “in tune” togetherness for the longest time. So even with kids in the picture, it was still incredibly hard. But we’ve learned to communicate better with each other now especially within in the last three years to really check in more with each other in how we are feeling on day to day basis, to see if there is anything extra we can do for each other, and more. We try to be really listening and talking (and go beyond the “general” conversations too) together. And we do more of that on date days/nights too especially when we are doing something new and adventurous. We are in this together. We are to chase life together. Chase our dreams together as a couple, as parents and as individuals. I want to keep feeling like our home is where we want to stay. I enjoy my husband’s company more now than I did when we were first dating. Our intimacy has grown with communication. It is so much more emotional, and spiritual invested aside from physical. I connect with him in all areas of our life together. Not only I want to love him but I want to respect him too, even with our kids. I want to model to our kids that our marriage should be the marriage that they should want to have when they are older, should they choose to marry. We’ve allowed our marriage to be more Christ-like. We’ve allowed Him in our lives, not just at certain times. He’s there for us every day. We open to him all the time. My parents are still together, 40 years as of July and that’s amazing, despite their differences as individuals, as a couple and as parents. I want US to soar for eternity like them, living out the vows to honor our marriage and to God (and to our kids!). It’s okay to be crazy together as long it’s holy and pure! 🙂 I love the life I chose. I’m thankful that I am a mom and that I am a wife. I am thankful I have such an supportive husband. He truly has my whole heart!