A couple of weeks ago Roger and I went to a marriage conference. It was just a two day event based on the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. If you've never read the book, I highly encourage you to do so. It deals a lot about communication and needs between men and women. In fact, the principles can extend to other male/female relationships as well.
Not only was the material covered by Dr Eggerichs great, but it was also a vital reminder of the differences between a husband and a wife. We learned how to work with those differences, not by avoidance, but by acceptance. Throughout the conference he reiterated: "Not wrong, just different." The conference was also a great reminder of how important it is to work on your marriage, whether it is your first, second or even third. In fact it brought me back to the origin of our family, and by origin, I mean why Roger and I and our kids live under the same roof. The reason is simple and easy: because Roger and I fell in love.
So often if you are married with children, you get so absorbed into the day to day dealings of kids, bills, and just stuff, that you forget what started it all. For us, it was love. We brought our families together because Roger and I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We weighed the odds and felt that our families would do better as one than as two separate families. Although we are not perfect, I certainly think we have all benefited from being together.
As parents, since we do get so caught up in all of the day to day child minutia, we need to take time to prioritize ourselves and our spouses. To you, maybe that means a marriage conference or retreat, or maybe that just means a date night. Perhaps it just means a half an hour of uninterrupted adult time in the evening (we've had those times too). Whatever stage of life you are in make time for each other. Your kids will be here for a period of time, but you and your spouse are together forever. Roger and I are in that stage now. Our kids are away at college. We spend most of our time alone, and its been wonderful to rekindle and remember how much we enjoy each other's company. I feel like I have my best friend back!
If you are a single person/parent reading this, you make think this doesn't apply to you. I would beg to differ. You many not be sharing your life with a significant other right now, but there is still an important person in your household that tends to get neglected. That would be you! It is just as important that you take time to appreciate yourself in a single person/parent household as it is to appreciate a spouse. Picture what that means to you. If you're a woman, you may enjoy getting your nails or hair done, if you're a man, maybe its time with the guys watching a game. Whatever it is that refills and refreshes you - do it.
Whether you are married or single, you are the most important person to your children. If you don't take care of yourself and/or your marriage, you won't be fully strengthened to take care of your children. You are the foundation they depend on for security. Make them feel safe.