Parenting is a lot of work. It creates a lot of change in your life. Most of the change is good change. Some of it is difficult.
Good parenting is important and a lot of work. Have you ever stopped to realize that your spousal relationship is as much work and as important (if not more.)
During the early stages of parenting it’s easy to throw all of your energy into this new life situation. The baby is so cute and so precious and so helpless. How could it possibly contribute to something negative? It can’t. But, if you let it, it can eventually cause you to lose touch with yourself as an individual. This can happen to your spouse as well. And then you’ll find yourself in a fine mess.
The couple bond is what keeps the family together. Foster it. Protect it. Love yourself and your spouse. On purpose.
Now in our 40′s, I’m hearing more and more of my friends lament the difficulties of marriage. Children are getting older and more independent, life situations are changing, and couples are finding it hard to come to mutual mindsets on difficult problems.
I can see in hind sight, because it’s always 20-20…the problem didn’t just begin now.
The problem started several years ago when the individuals in the relationship stopped looking after their personal adult needs. They sacrificed their needs and wants in the name of the children. They let issues, small ones perhaps, go unresolved, pushed under The Rug. Over time more things got pushed under. Some his, some hers, but the rug started to get pretty lumpy and bumpy. You could still walk on it though.
Enter the pre-teen and teenage children.
Now we’re at at point in our lives where our career has reached either a pinnacle or a stalemate,our marriage has lost its shiny newness, our identities have been diluted by raising a family, our body hormones have started a decline, and our children are branching out and asking for more. Still we can cope. It’s not easy, but we have fortitude and we can cope.
Then, a new stressor presents itself…like a sudden loss of job, or trouble with teenage defiance, or one partner’s illness…suddenly The Rug is pulled out from under you.
Remember The Rug? The one you’ve been pushing things under for all those years, the one with all the little problems crammed below it. Well, problems are bit like dust, they don’t stay small if you don’t look after them, they find ways to grow from dust in the wind into dust bunnies rolling in the corners. So all those small problems that got ignored over the years have amalgamated themselves into a big mess.
And there’s you and your spouse to deal with it.
You, who has lost her identity under the guise of being a good parent and a good employee; and your spouse who has done the same thing. And the two of you who have lost touch with each other. The two of you are almost like strangers. Only worse. There’s some seed of resentment that the other person is responsible for where you are now. At least a stranger doesn’t bring any baggage along with them, well none that they have unpacked just yet.
Here is my advice to you at every point in your life. Whether you’ve reached a breaking point or whether life is going on just fine.
- Make positive choices every day, and when in doubt choose the option that will create your best future. Live today, but with an eye to the future.
- Protect your happiness and the happiness of those you love. Do this daily.
- Communicate. Communicate your needs and wants, and find out what the needs and wants of your spouse are.
- Don’t wait until the rug is gone, start to pull out the dust from under there and clean it up.
- It’s never too late until it’s too late. And you’re the one who decides that.
- Life is a choice.
If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy:
- Eye Contact
- Love and Rules
- What are you Paying For? Allowances for Young Children
- How Much Help?
- Three Piggy Banks
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