I love the old Abbott and Costello baseball routine, “Who’s on first, What’s on second and I Don’t Know’s on third.” It’s three minutes of zaney comedy as you realize the players are actually named, Who, What, and I Don’t Know.
I have noticed that many Christian moms are similarly confused about who is first, second, and third in their lives. Most Christians know that God is supposed to come first in their lives -- that's a given. It’s usually the second and third places that are blurry for them. Just so you know, it’s God first, then your spouse, and then your children.
We marry Prince Charming (or not) and we begin meeting his needs. Then the little tykes come along and we are so busy meeting their immediate needs that the Prince temporarily gets put on the back burner to simmer. It happens in spite of our best intentions. But the problems begin when we become so engrossed in our children that we leave our Prince on the back burner and the flame starts to flicker. When we neglect kindling the fires in our marriage relationship for too long, we are in danger of losing our romantic connection -- our spark,
I hear about more and more couples who are devastated when the children become adults and leave home. Even though the water bill, laundry pile and trips to the grocery store are drastically reduced they don’t enjoy their empty nest years. Somewhere along the line, they’ve lost their connection with each other -- or maybe the connection was trampled on by small feet
As mother to a quartet of kids, I know how hard it is to put the big guy first when the little guys need you so desperately. But, I also know that husbands have physical needs that must be met. After the little ones become big ones and fly the coup, you and Prince Charming are going to be spending lots of time together, so it’s a vital that you keep your love alive and the home fires burning.
Love and M&Ms
I will be honest and admit that maintaining a physical relationship with four kidletts in the house was difficult. By the time I had nursed, nourished, and cared for little ones, I was tired. My marriage vow to love, honor, and cherish my man went up in smoke. I’m ashamed to admit that when he reached for me, I would reply with variations of, “You must be kidding,” “Not in this lifetime,” or “You should of thought of this before you gave me all these kids” Then, I’d turn over and sprint toward Slumberland.
As the children got a little older, and I got a little smarter, we became ingenious at finding ways to spend time alone together. After ensuring their safety by locking up all razor blades, lethal weapons and blow torches, we planted the kids in front of an animated video and plied them with a bag of M&Ms. That maneuver could usually buy us a few minutes alone -- until they fought over who got all the green candy.
Now, with a house full of teens, videos and sweets don’t work as well anymore, but sending them to the movies does! The key is: Be creative and find ways to meet your husband’s physical needs.
Behind Closed Doors
There’s an old country song, “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.” I don’t want to know and your kids certainly don’t need to know what goes on in your bedroom. Privacy is an issue. This is not rocket science. First, teach your children to always knock on closed doors. Then, purchase a lock for your bedroom door and install it. Finally, buy a second latch for piece of mind. Do your children a favor and don’t scar them for life with a visual image they shouldn’t see.
Find out what the experts say about keeping the romance alive. Nancy C. Anderson’s book, Avoiding the Greener Grass Syndrome: How to Grow Affair Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage has a whole chapter that deals with satisfying your mate. She says,
“If either you or your spouse constantly hum the Rolling Stones’ tune, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, you might be in trouble. If you ignore each other’s needs, one or both of you will be more tempted to seek affection/sex elsewhere. Not having needs met is no excuse, of course, for bad behavior, and going after sex outside of your marriage is sin; the Bible says — to both of you — be satisfied with the wife/husband of your youth. That verse indicates that we should be trying to remain satisfied with our mates, and be satisfying each other’s needs. If your marriage is well-watered, the grass on the other side of the fence will not look greener than your own. “
With wise counsel from authors like Nancy out there, I recommend you buy a good marriage book and make time to read it.
Grow Old Together
Remember, keep God first, what’s-his-name second, and the kids third. God’s plan is for children to leave home and cleave to someone else. Then you’ll have plenty of time to spend with your husband. You may be too old to care, but at least you’ll like each other as you drink warm milk and play Scrabble. And even if you're kids don't seem to care now, they'll be grateful you worked on keeping your marriage in tact later.
Tonya has a wealth of information to share. She is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom, and grandma. Check out her parenting and homeschooling blog at: http://parentingandhomeschooling.blogspot.com/
And her website at www.TonyaRuiz.com