In my last post (How Partnering Can Improve Parenting,) we looked at how improving your marriage could improve your parenting. It stressed the importance of making sure your partnering takes precedence over your parenting. (If you’ve not read that post, I encourage you to go back and read it.)
Now, we need to answer how parenting can improve partnering, and the answer is simply this…
“Your parenting should instruct your partnering.”
Yes, your partnering should take priority over your parenting, but your parenting can teach you to be a better partner. Here’s what I mean by this. If you listed the things you do for your kids, your list would look something like this…
- Showing interest.
- Spending time.
- Spending money.
- Confronting and correcting.
- Sharing hopes and dreams.
We do these things for our children, because we love them. But even though we say we love our spouse, we often fall short when it comes to doing these things for them. (Except that confronting and correcting thing. We’re pretty good at that!)
This is where our parenting should instruct our partnering. What would your marriage be like if you consistently showed these same acts of love to your spouse, like you do to your children? What if you showed your spouse through your actions that you love them as much as you love your children?
Perhaps you’re thinking, “But my spouse is a grown adult. They don’t need this as much as my kids do. My spouse can take care of themselves.”
This sounds logical…especially to a mom. But that’s akin to saying, “Now that the kids have come along, my spouse really isn’t that special any more.” And even if that’s not what you mean to communicate, I assure you it’s the way it comes across to your spouse. Many a marriage have come apart because a spouse was edged out by the kids and left to “take care of themselves.”
Remember what we said in the last post. Your spouse was there before the kids came along. And even if yours is a blended family situation, hopefully your spouse will be there long after your kids leave. So you should show your spouse you love them as much as the kids…and even more.
Sacrifice for them. Listen to them. Show interest in them and their interests. Spend time with them. Spend money on them. Encourage them. Comfort them. And share your hopes and dreams for them.
Note, I didn’t mention confronting and correcting them in the above paragraph. There may be times when you need to do this, but make sure you’re doing all the others things well first. Then your correction will come across as supportive, rather nagging and parental.
So in short, your model for being a good parent should be your model for being a good partner…at least if you want a good marriage that goes the distance.
If you’re brave, take each of the above bullet points and rate yourself on a scale of 1-4 as to how well you’re applying them to your spouse. (1=lousy and 4=great.) If you’re really courageous, show your evaluation to your spouse and ask them to weigh in.
Copyright © 2018 Bret Legg