If you have not read our previous post How to Prepare for an Empty Nest – Part 1, please click here.
A well-structured family will have many memories to share in the future. Children will be born or brought into your safe environment; they will grow in rapid speed right before your eyes; and one day mom and dad will be left to themselves, sharing a new season in life (for many, the scariest)—an empty nest.
Before you reach that season, there is much work to do. Intentional work. It’s the kind of work that should have been started at the moment you said, “I DO.” We are talking about fostering a healthy marital relationship from day one.
Children require much time and attention. Many parents, in their best efforts to show excellence in the noble vocation that is parenting, end up forgetting that father and mother came first and that they also need to be cared for. Some people become so passionate about their new parenting status that they require the whole world to revolve in a new orbit in order not to miss how great their kids are. Dare not to comply with their expectations and you will find out very soon how many friends you are left with! That’s the power of parenting! Well, let’s say unhealthy parenting.
So what’s the deal?
A marriage relationship is top priority in God’s agenda and it was started with a sacred covenant between God and man. Nothing less than that, like the world pursues today, but a holy, committed and intentional relationship that goes much beyond a diamond ring.
Marriage represents God’s covenant relationship with His people; thus, a relationship between husband and wife should also be considered high priority and cared for as God cares for us.
As a couple that once fell in love and decided to share a life “until death do us part,” we should frequently evaluate the status of our relationship and make every effort to keep it healthy for God’s glory and for our own enjoyment.
Make an assessment of how you and your spouse have built the foundation of your marriage relationship over the years. In doing so, you will have a great opportunity to list and evaluate the values and strategies adopted by each one, as part of your commitment. Making such a list is not a 100% money back guaranteed kind of ordeal. It’s not DO IT AND DONE, either. Prayer needs to be present in every relationship.
If you find out that now is the time to rebuild a solid relationship and you need a starting point, use the following list as ideas, where applicable.
You and your spouse:
1. Continue to have a date night (or time together without kids); discuss topics NOT related to your children.
2. Discuss family problems together and then present to your kids what has been decided in agreement by both husband and wife.
3. Always listen to your spouse’s version before taking the side of your child in an issue between parent and child. Kids can intentionally manipulate us against our spouse.
4. Discuss finances and work together to promote financial stability in your family. Many times the answer is not in “where am I going to get the extra job,” but in the “where am I going to do the next spending cut.”
5. Encourage each other to do other activities one may enjoy doing, as long as it does not hurt the family’s schedule, like eating or praying together.
6. Work as a team.
7. Cheer each other on in personal achievements.
8. Serve each other in various noticeable ways.
9. Intentionally affirm each other, even in moments when you feel like you have an empty tank.
10. Protect the sanctity of your relationship by refusing to accept any interference from friends or from the internet that can be characterized as flirting or adulterous.
11. Plan trips and vacations together, considering each other’s interests.
12. Pray together. Pray, pray, and pray.
Never forget: In a relationship, there is always room for improvement. Children will come and go, but parents need to work together to accomplish God’s purpose in their lives as a couple and be an example for their growing children and the generations to come.