There is a common saying that “Once you have kids, your life is over.” And while that statement definitely is not true, the reality is that parenthood surely does change things up, especially in the marriage department.
Like those times when you are running around the house in a frenzy, scrambling to get the kids ready for school, and it suddenly dawns on you that your 5th anniversary is tonight, and you have NOTHING planned.
Or when you haven’t gone on a date with your spouse in months and when you finally do, all you talk about is the kids.
Yes, having a life consumed by children can be beautiful, but it can also create a disconnect for you and your significant other. It doesn’t have to be this way, however.
What if we told you that children thrive in an environment where they are not always the center of attention? Researchers all over the country have come to a consensus that parents that have strong bonds produce healthy, pleasant environments and happy families.
But how? When you are in the constant throes of toddlerhood or struggling with a jam-packed schedule, how do you make time for you and your partner? What are the benefits of having a healthy, happy marriage?
You take time for yourself and your spouse. You do this not only because it will feel excellent and refreshing, but it will also model essential life skills for your kids.
Model Life for Your Children
For kids as young as infants, actions speak louder than words. As a society, we are very concerned with teaching our children verbally, but we may forget that they are always watching and learning from us even before they learn to speak.
How we act with our partner, what we say, and how we show our emotions has a real impact on how we teach our children to live their lives as they get older. As adults, we should act in the ways which we want our kids to behave as well.
If we want them to grow up to be emotionally healthy, happy, and self-motivated adults, we have to do things intentionally that will show them how to do the same.
There is an enormous amount of literature on the importance of modeling for our children and its impact on their adult behaviors. From dividing up labor to showing your kids what it looks like to have constructive conflict and resolution, a healthy marriage will help create a healthier child.
Date Nights Show Togetherness
When your life becomes centered around your children, it’s easy to forget to spend time together. And even when you do spend time together, you might feel guilty about taking some alone time. But what if I told you that regular date nights and having time with your spouse helps your kids?
Feeling renewed as a couple after a date night can help make your marriage stronger and happier. And having a healthy relationship with your spouse can provide a strong sense of security for your children. Emotional safety is what helps them feel free to be themselves and to thrive.
Showing your kids that you actually chose and want to be together will give them guidelines for what caring relationships look like and will help them have appropriate connections and boundaries when they get older.
Teach Your Kids Responsibility
One of the greatest lessons you can teach your children from your healthy marriage is that of shared responsibilities. Parents and child together have a responsibility to help around the home, help their fellow family members, and to strive for the common good of the household.
How do you do this? Start with your significant other. If you guys split up chores around the home, it shows your children that they should share in tasks rather than let everything fall on one person.
Also, take this opportunity to demonstrate that labor is not divided by gender. This understanding can be very fruitful for them in the future. If dad is doing the dishes and laundry, and mom is outside doing yard work, this can show your children that spouses can split up responsibilities in a fair manner.
Scott Coltrane, a sociologist and author of Family Man: Fatherhood, Housework, and Gender Equity, argues that when both parents share in family chores, not only does it create a healthy marriage, it also shows children what cooperation and democratic family values look like.
Coltrane has collected data that shows that children who do housework with their fathers are more likely to follow directions in school, get along with peers, and tend to be less withdrawn.
Resolving Conflicts Healthily
Some people grew up with parents only fighting behind closed doors. Their parents probably thought that being discreet would protect their children. But it turns out that having arguments and disagreements with your spouse out in the open and in front of your kids is good for them if done under the right circumstances.
These circumstances require couples to agree to specific terms:
- No name calling
- No yelling
- No walking away while others are talking
If parents can follow these terms and come to some agreement from the conflict, they show their kids how to have healthy conflict and to compromise.
Listening to your spouse and showing empathy as you do so can also teach your children about unconditional love. They will learn that you can disagree, try to come to a compromise, and still be okay in the end.
Fathers Eve Helps Support Healthy Marriages
If you are in a child-centered, crazy schedule, dazed and confused time of your life, Fathers Eve is here to help foster healthy marriages. We firmly believe that strong familial relationships that are intentional create excellent foundations for our kids.
Happy marriage, happy kids. If you are looking for a program for parents or one-on-one advice from people who are going through the same things, join a Fathers Eve group close to you.
You can go to www.fatherseve.com to find a group and join us on our big day. We will celebrate fatherhood on Fathers Eve, June 15th, 2019, at 8 pm.