I love our boys. They are out of the house now (well, the one in college comes home for the occasional weekend :-)) and it’s just me and the pretty girl. Empty nesters. I’m ok with that…and so is she. Don’t get me wrong, we miss them, and it was sudden as they both literally left within two months of each other. But we don’t mind the quiet. I hear stories of parents who are devastated when their last (or only) child leaves the house.
What is the difference between us and them?
We never centered our marriage around our children.
Wow! How cruel is THAT?? For many the prevailing wisdom is that the purpose of marriage IS children. It’s not. Ah, but didn’t God say that was the reason for marriage? Let’s look at a couple of scriptures.
What is the purpose of marriage?
In Genesis 1:28 we find the following, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
That seems like a command to have children. Or at least a command to raise children (a nod to all of my amazing friends who have adopted a child :-)). But it does NOT say the purpose of marriage is children.
How about this one, ““Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6
Did you catch it? The purpose of marriage?
In the passage Jesus says, “”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” What is “this reason”? Because the Creator made them male and female. God’s purpose in marriage is simply to allow two people, male and female, to share in a unique bond of body, mind, soul and spirit. Marriage is a shadow of the bond between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It also is a picture of Christ and the church.
This means children, although dearly loved, are secondary to the marriage relationship. If everything in your home is centered around the children then what will you do when they are gone? You might want to develop some shared interests. Focusing FIRST on your marriage will benefit you as a couple and your children in the knowledge that they are safe from the pain of divorce.
Here is a rule of thumb I learned from an odd source (ask me if you care). “The children knew from a very young age that some outings were for everyone in the family and some were for mom and dad alone.”
Leave your children every once in a while with someone you trust and get away. For a date or an evening, a weekend, but go take a vacation…just the two of you! You need this time alone together.
Love your children, nurture and care for them, but don’t center your marriage around them. It’s not healthy for anyone in the home.
Now get out of here and go somewhere with your amazing wife!