Wednesday, April 20, 2005

a word to the mothers of the world

It seems that when many women get married, they are extremely excited to really make the marriage work. They think of fun date nights and couple-type activities that will promote the health of the marriage. They really care about increasing intimacy with their husbands. But then kids come along.

The typical response, initially, is to try to work together as parents to raise the kids. But after a while, the focus of the wife turns from husband to child. For some marriages this happens over time. For others it happens as soon as the baby gets home from the hospital.

Now, I can hear the women out there protesting already. They say, "Well if the husband would change a diaper or two then I would have more energy to give to him." And that is true in some cases. But ask around...even the best fathers become neglected husbands. Why is this?

I think it has something to do with the transfer of intimacy. For the wife, her main source of intimacy was her husband. But when the kids come along she begins to find her primary worth, identity, and intimacy in her relationships with her kids. She tries to be super-mom rather than super-wife. She feels needed. She feels like those kids wouldn't make it without her, and she loves that feeling. Sure the husband needs some attention too. But she is just "so tired" by the end of the day that things like sexual intimacy go out the window.

This shift in intimacy, in my mind, is a subtle form of adultery. She falls more in love with her kids than she is with her husband. The same can happen with husbands, only, it usually involves his work. The husband tends to dedicate all his time and attention to work and it too acts as a subtle form of adultery.

Shouldn't the love between a husband and a wife be the primary relationship in the house? It's kind of like "seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added as well." Making God the primary relationship in our life helps us to love others better. It seems like this is how things work in marriage as well.

When the husband and wife make sure that their intimacy and their relationship is healthy, the kids then have a safe and secure home to live in. I grew up knowing that my parents loved each other. I never had to worry about them getting a divorce. I knew that my mom and dad put each other before me. This didn't make me feel neglected. It made me feel safe. I knew they loved me too. There was never a doubt about that. But I found out early on in my family that life wasn't all about me. My parents gave me love and affection, but their lives weren't all about me. This was a very important lesson to learn early on. Many kids aren't learning this and we are seeing some problems in our society because of it.

So to all you moms out there, I salute you. You are doing the hard work of the Kingdom by raising your kids well. My hope is that you would put your relationship with your husband before your kids. Teach your kids that they are loved unconditionally but also remind them that they are not the center of the universe. Love your husband. Pay attention to him. Have sex with him for goodness sakes. Don't take from him the chance to be a great husband and great father. And be super-mom by being super-wife first.


At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Christina said...

Does anybody else know that you stole this from Oprah?!? ;-) hee hee

At 6:03 PM, Blogger The Table Guy said...

That does not suprise me...


At 10:07 PM, Blogger Mark said...

I so did not get it from Oprah. I did watch Oprah, however, which prompted these thoughts. :)

At 2:47 AM, Anonymous Graham Doel said...

Strikes me that this post contains massive and sweeping generalisations. Although what you say may be true in some aspects you would appear to be more balanced if you had something challenging to say to the men.

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Allison said...

I'm with graham...sounds like alot of generalizations. I do agree that the husband and wife relationship is most important, but having kids is not the only reason that a husband and wife may not "seem"as close as they used to be.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Mark said...

graham and allison,
I appreciate your thoughts. The point of this post was to address this specific issue that many women face.
Husbands have their own issues, one of which I did mention. But this post was addressed to mothers specifically so some generalizations were necessary.

At 10:29 AM, Blogger brendar said...

Chapster, you had to know that you were going to take just a little heat for this one. I think your comments are on the money. There has to be open communication on the point of keeping your relationship with each other set apart and above the relationships with children and occupations. As a husband and father I can say that the best way to do this is to lead by serving and submitting. Show your wife that you can even love her unlovable ness and stand with her as her advocate. I have had to sit both of my sons down and have the whole, "Don't mess with my wife..." talk. They know where we stand with each other.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Good word Brendar.

At 12:37 AM, Blogger tali said...

so . . . does this mean i get to tell married men how to handle their problems?

(sorry - that's part of that "heat" brendar mentioned you should anticipate taking)

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Sure, but do it on your own blog. :)

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Also, do you disagree with my observations or do you just think I should keep quiet because I am neither married nor a mother?

At 2:44 PM, Blogger tali said...

i don't think you should keep quiet - it'd be total hypocracy for me to advise anyone else to do that.

neither do i diesagree with what you said - in point of fact i think you're absolutetly correct.

but (forgive me for this, i'm stepping over the line and i know it) there really wasn't any humility in your statements. you made sweeping generalizations and never once mentioned that you had no personal experience in the situation. ::shrugs:: your blog, your perogative.

but, IMHO, the best advice in the world will not sink in if the delivery renders it unpalatable.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger brendar said...

Mark, just because you're not married doesn't mean you're not a "mutha".

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, I had some humility in the blog entry earlier but after reading it over once I decided to edit it all out.
It adds to the drama of it all. :)

At 4:07 PM, Blogger tali said...

you poke at caged animals, too, don't you?



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