By Vicki Little
The relationship between parent and child is such an amazing, special, and unique bond. Most parents would do absolutely anything for their children. So why don’t we, as parents, treasure the relationship that created our children just as much — if not more than — the relationship we have with our children? Why aren’t we nurturing the relationship that came before kids and will last long after we have turned their rooms into man caves or home offices? We may think we are doing what is best by putting our children first, but are we really? One day those beautiful babies of ours will be grown up and gone. They will be raising families of their own, stopping in for holidays and the occasional gathering. Hopefully they will call often. We will be left with our spouse and the relationship we spent years building — or ignoring.
1. You will be doing your children a favor.
Our babies will grow up, and when they do, they will probably realize how valuable their parents are (let’s hope!). As they get older, children want their parents to be happy and cared for. They worry about their parents just as much as we have worried about them. Knowing that their parents are happy and have their own lives helps them let go and move forward themselves.
2. A happy marriage creates a trickle-down effect.
Have you heard the saying, “If Mom isn’t happy, then NO ONE is happy?” Marriage is similar. If the bond between spouses isn’t strong, then things get tense — and children can easily pick up on that tension. Problems don’t get solved together, disagreements tend to turn into fights, and the family feels separated rather than unified. When two people are happy in their marriage, they are happier in general — particularly when at home. It is easier to handle arguing siblings if you aren’t arguing yourself. Plus, joining forces with your spouse is way more effective when it comes to disciplining children, particularly defiant teenagers!
3. Your life won’t always be sitting in the bleachers and playing chauffeur.
For as long as you can remember, you have had something on your calendar that you needed to do for someone else. Taking kids to various practices, helping with homework, baking last-minute goodies for parties or bake sales, consoling broken hearts, pacing as you wait for someone to come home, and the never-ending worrying about your kids. Once the kids leave home, the only thing that remains on your daily schedule is worry. Suddenly, the days that seemed too short now seem too long — if you don’t fill in your calendar. Now’s the time to spend more time with your spouse on your common interests and plan for great activities or vacations. Learn to cook together, play games, enjoy films — or just be together. There will be many things you’ll want to learn and explore on your own, but doing some things with the person you married will be the cherry on top of a wonderful life you have built together. Don’t take time together for granted!
4. What doesn’t get nurtured will eventually die.
Sometimes the days seem like they never end, but years fly by in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, the house will be empty, the messy rooms will be clean, and all that will be left is you and your spouse. It isn’t a time to dread, it should be something you look forward to — having time free to do what you have always wanted and to share new experiences together. Ignoring your marriage for years will result in a silent house, as the two of you become uncomfortable with each other and won’t have much to say. Focusing on your relationship will make the empty nest a time to look forward to, a time you can share with your best friend. Nurture your relationship so that when this time comes, it can truly blossom and become something even more amazing.
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers for her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time…well, she is still waiting for some of that.
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