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Raising Great Children As You Build a Great Marriage
"A couple can be successful in both marriage and parenting if they give their marriage priority and if they remain united in their parenting"
Maintaining a marriage and raising children is hard work, but it is possible to succeed at both simultaneously. Three important principles can guide you to success:
1) a couple's marriage has to take higher priority than their children.
2) parents must be unified in their child rearing.
3) your marriage creates the level of health and success that your children can attain.
Priority: while it may seem odd or even cruel to say that your children must take a back seat to your marriage, it is really true. There are three reasons for this. First, God's law of priority is sacred-marriage comes before other family relationships. Second, our relationships with God and our spouses are what enable us to be good parents. Third, our relationships with God and our spouses create happiness and security for our kids.
If you forsake your marriage for your children, several problems will result. You may fall into despair when your children leave home. You may become overly dependent on your children, setting you up to become a problem in-law. Your children may become overly dependent on you, setting them up for problems in their own marriages. And putting your children before your marriage creates resentment in your spouse and prohibits you from building intimacy in your marriage.
You can have a strong family bond with your children and still maintain proper family priorities in your marriage. To do this, you must establish healthy disciplines and traditions, such as an evening walk for just the two of you. Budget your time and energy, putting God first, your spouse second, and your kids third. Protect higher priorities from lower ones in practical ways, such as by not allowing your kids to interrupt you when you have gone into your bedroom.
Unity: when parents speak with one voice to their children, it makes all the difference in the quality of both their marriage and their child rearing. By nature, children will try to divide parents, but we must never allow them to do so.
Four essential practices will help you to promote unity and success in your marriage. First, always agree in front of the children, using " we" and "I". Second, always honor each other in front of the children and make your children respect your spouse in the way they speak and act toward him or her. Third, never allow a significant difference to develop between you in how you express love or enforce punishment. Fourth, go outside your marriage for counseling and input when you reach an impasse.