It was about a year or so ago that I realised I had let my children become my whole world. They were everything that mattered to me and my day revolved around every little aspect of their emotions, activities, sleeping, eating, and playing. There was little room for anything else in my heart or mind.
Including my husband.
In the years before I had children, I saw many child-centered families. And I vowed not to become one of them.
In my mind, I knew that the safest and healthiest family my children could grow up in would be one where their mom and dad put each other first. After all, as you’ve probably heard, you and your spouse were a family before you ever had children. And, when a child sees the love, devotion, and priority given between their parents, they can rest easy and feel completely safe in their role as the child of two parents who are in love and totally dig each other!
But I lost sight of this. And one day I had a complete epiphany as to why I was allowing this and how I got there.
Giving my children all my love and only needing theirs in return was safer.
At this point, with two little girls under three, their love was completely unconditional. They admired and loved me without requiring much of me. They loved me because of who I am. Mommy.
No matter the times I messed up, they were still there. There was no chance they were going to abandon me, say heart wrenching things to me, or decide I wasn’t worth loving. They weren’t going to tap into my deepest fears.
And their love and acceptance healed some of these fears. So, I tried to stay there.
But when I tried to stay there, I gave my husband significantly less of me and I looked for significantly less of him. This isn’t what marriage is to look like. This isn’t what would change me into the person God was working in me to become through my marriage. And it certainly wouldn’t allow me to be they kind of wife I want to be to be to my husband. It left me closed off, scared, and devoted elsewhere.
And I know this can happen so easily, really. Our little ones’ cries are loud and their demands are even louder. They need our attention during their every waking moment, it seems. It is no wonder that our care of and for them becomes full time, all encompassing, and leaves others out. It seems we have to actually guard against this, then. And it isn’t easy. It requires intentionality, awareness, and purposefulness.
I still love my children with all my being. I can’t help it. I’m desperately in love with them, in fact. They rock my world like no one else ever can or every will. I think that is just how God made my heart for them. You feel it for your babies as well.
But I can’t love these little people I am blessed to grow at the expense of loving my husband. And of letting him love me. Because he rocks my world, too. Like no one else ever can or will. He did it first. And he’ll do it last. This man has my heart in a way that is special and sacred. And when I put any other relationship on this earth above that, we will both suffer.
So, the day I realized this, that I was choosing a safe love over the love my husband had to offer and I had to give him, I made a change. I decided to give a good amount of the emotion and energy I was putting into my kids into my relationship with my husband. This hasn’t created some perfect marriage. But I am happy knowing that I am trying to give him all that he deserves and I am not hiding behind anything, even something as wonderful as the love both for and from my children.
After all, we were a family before they joined us. And we will be a family when they leave our home and adventure out with God someday. Who knows where they will be and what they will be doing. But, I know I’ll be proudly watching them with Justin at my side.