Parenting is terrifically demanding. You know, think about it when you bring that child home from the hospital, that child is utterly dependent on you. This is not a pretty picture but if you would leave that child in a crib and walk away, in several days, the child would be dead. They have no ability to care for themselves to sustain themselves, and so, parenting becomes this 24/7 focus.
Now, it’s right for you to have a servant spirit towards your child, but you also have to understand that long-term, the greatest gift that you will give to your children is a beautiful, loving marriage of unity and understanding and cooperation and service. And you can’t let the demandingness of parenting get in the way of the health of your marriage relationship.
Luella and I, early in our marriage, realized that we were going to be parents and we were going to have a busy ministry life; and if we did that, we would have to protect our relationship. And we determined that we were going to spend time outside of the house every week, so that we could just be together as a couple, so that we would have time to talk about the things that we needed to talk about, to deal with the things we needed to deal with, just to enjoy one another, and remember our love and affection for one another.
It wasn’t always easy. Sometimes, we had no money and we would go to a park and just sit on the park bench. Sometimes, it was hard to find people who would watch our children for us, but we did it religiously and it was just tremendous help to us. You have got to make time for the continual development of that relationship.
Listen. You can’t have a sinner living with a sinner in a fallen world and not be working on your relationship. Maybe this will surprise you. I’m deeply persuaded that the number one reason marriages fail is not adultery. It’s neglect. Long before a person gives way to the temptation to be unfaithful, that person has been unfaithful to that marriage in neglecting it.
Marriage is a lot like planting a garden. Once you’ve cleared the land and you plant those seeds, you have committed yourself to daily work because there are weeds that will grow and it will choke out the life of those flowers. Your marriage is a garden. It needs to be weeded and you need to make sure that in your dedication to be good, loving, available, active parents, you also continue to make investments in your marriage. That takes commitment. That takes planning. That takes schedule. That takes time. Don’t let your children get in the way of the health of your marriage.