We've got to remember that before we were mothers, we were brides. It can be so easy to forget. Not that we can extend the natural novelty of being newlyweds. But I think that being a bride is representative of the miraculous and holy union of a man and woman under God.
What is a bride but a woman who has decided to devote herself to one man? So much so, that she abandons her former name to possess his name. It signifies her new identity and devotion to him alone.
But after children come along, oftentimes the bride disappears and the mother sort of takes over. Motherhood is a beautiful and wonderful thing. But if we focus on being a mother and forget that we are first and foremost a helpmeet, problems develop. There are a lot of moms out there who are now on their own because they forgot they were first a bride.
Naturally, children will take every waking hour we give them and their needs are legitimate and constant. But a wise mother will be able to distinguish between needs and wants and remember that her husband was there first. And his needs have not changed. He still needs his sweetheart, partner, friend, lover, buddy and playmate. He needs his bride. So how in the world does she do it all?
The famous Duggars have shared how they cope as a couple with the constant additions of babies to their lives in their books. They said they made an agreement to take a break from physical intimacy for the first 2 months or so after each birth. Michelle says this gives her a chance to heal after the birth and put her focus on the new baby. They both count on and anticipate drawing close again at the agreed upon time. I think this is such a great idea. Kind of takes the pressure off of a new mom.
What is also smart about that arrangement is that it's prearranged so they each know what to expect eliminating the chance for friction or disagreements later on.
Another way to make room in your day for your husband is instigating a regular nap/quiet time each day. As they got older, they outgrow the nap but they can read during that time instead. By that time the routine is set and gives mom a chance to catch up on whatever she needs to and feel rested and refreshed for her husband in the evening.
Prioritizing your time is going to be key to investing into your marriage. Keep your golden anniversary in view and romance and togetherness a priority. I think the high rate of divorce comes from couples who lose sight of the goal. The destination is to live happily ever after. Maybe the "after" includes "after having children"? ha.
Special Needs Are No Excuse
Some of our children have had medical issues that kept us in and out of the hospital so I know what busy means.
But through it all, my husband and I clung to one another, reminding each other that "this too shall pass". And it did. And we are still here. A little worse for wear, maybe, but we're smiling and kissing and loving one another till death do us part.
But I want to encourage those of you who may have it rough right now with special needs issues and remind you that you and your husband are going through it together as a team.
Regardless of the challenges of parenthood, finances, medical issues or anything else, being your husband's sweetheart can still be near the top of your priorities. Remember that the love between you and your husband is what brought you those kids in the first place. Do all you can to keep your marriage healthy and thriving. Because one day those kids are going to leave and get lives of their own and your life return to just the two of you.
If you plan for it, expect it and look forward to it, you will keep your heart ready for when the time comes. I'm always shocked when I hear of marriages that end after, like, 40 years of marriage, like Al and Tipper Gore's did. God hates divorce no matter who it is. And no matter how many in Christendom try sanction it.
Be Your Husband's Sweetie
Remind yourself often of why you married your man, how wonderful living happily ever after is and that you have made a covenant between God and your husband.
In the tough times, pray. Some people inwardly roll their eyes at the suggestion to pray as though it just weren't practical enough. But thinking that way is a mistake and reveals a disproportionate view of God and a prideful heart.
When we humble our hearts to the Lord, hand him the keys to our lives and seek him in prayer we are partaking in a miracle. Prayer is the miraculous connection between the creator of the universe and little ol' me.
Thank God every day for giving you the life you have, and the husband you share it with. You can protect your home, your children and your marriage by never neglecting what started it all - once upon a time you became your husband's bride. :-)