3 Ways Children Can Drive Wedges in a Marriage
By Jennifer Waddle
Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. - Mark 10:9
Our children are the sweetest blessings on this side of heaven. With each birth and milestone of growth, we give thanks to the God who made them. But as our families grow, certain challenges may arise that can actually cause wedges in our marriages. The good thing is, these wedges can be prevented or removed once we are aware of them.
Here are a few ways our children can drive wedges in our marriages:
1. They take first place.
It’s human nature to have a “me-first” mentality and want the world to revolve around us. However, when parents give in to the human nature of their children, and place them in the center of their marriage, a deep wedge may be formed.
There is only One who deserves first place in our lives, and that is the Lord. The Biblical order of things is God first, marriage second, and family third. Here are some Scriptures to consider:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:18-20)
While it’s tempting for every parent to put their children first, it’s much healthier for the family unit when the Lord is at the center and the marriage relationship has priority. Not only does this strengthen the bond between husband and wife, it builds a child’s security.
For more about this topic, check out this Focus on The Family article, Putting Your Spouse before Your Kids.
2. They play one side against the other.
Kids are smart. They pick up on things easily, especially inconsistencies in parenting. If they are able to get what they want out of one parent, they will often try to play one side against the other.
Fortunately, husbands and wives can quickly put a stop to this behavior and make it known that they are a unified front. They can teach their children the value of the marriage unit and let them know there won’t be any game playing.
Here’s an interesting article on how parents can respond to their children.
3. They consistently cause upheaval in the home.
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
Raising children is one of the biggest jobs on earth, and each family has their own set of challenges. Whether it be medical issues or behavioral issues, consistent upheaval can drive a wedge in marriage.
No matter what your family challenges are, it’s crucial to keep a Godly perspective and do everything possible to prevent an irreparable wedge to be formed. This might mean you need to get outside help. It might include setting some serious boundaries.
In any case, come together with your spouse and discuss ways you can prioritize your marriage in the midst of the chaos. Work together to nurture your marriage despite ongoing issues in the home.
Then My people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places. (Isaiah 32:18)
Children truly are a blessing from the Lord, and we are grateful to have the privilege of raising them. However, let’s guard against anything that might drive a wedge in our marriage. Let’s be strong examples for our children by showing them the Godly order of things and letting them see what a strong marriage looks like.
Jennifer Waddle considers herself a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage women everywhere. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, Abide, and Christians Care International. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com where you can find her books and sign up for her weekly post, Discouragement Doesn’t Win. She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth.
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