There are many reasons (both avoidable and unavoidable) why couples might create a child-centered Marriage, which is very draining to a union. These may include:
- Raising children with special needs
- To ignore marital problems
- An effort to avoid intimacy in the marriage
- To be a better parent than their parents
- Consciously or unconsciously putting your children’s wants (not needs) above your spouse’s needs.
Unfortunately, one of the most significant marital patterns that lead to infidelity and divorce is the pattern of a child-centered marriage whether under avoidable or unavoidable circumstances. The question remains, what can we all do to thrive despite the difficulties that come with a child-centered marriage? Some strategies for achieving a couple-centered marriage include:
1. Date nights
Date nights are part of the backbone to every strong and healthy marriage and should never be neglected. Set a few nights a week where you don’t talk about the children, therapy, bills, etc. Your date night conversations should revolve around you and your spouse and not the children or any other family problems.
2. Don’t put your child’s wants above your partner’s needs
Your marriage takes a back seat and is deprived of the priority when you spend too much time, attention, finances, and resources only in your child. Parents don’t need to sacrifice their needs, wants and desires. Therefore, try and find a balance between being parents and being a married couple. Don’t forget that your children will one day move out of your household and build their own lives leaving you and your spouse. A relationship cannot survive on its own. It needs the care and nurturing of two adults, giving to each other in a way that creates a mutually beneficial connection. To foster a sincere and loving relationship, there needs to be: Kind, constant, and honest communication.
3. Share the responsibility
The responsibility of raising children, especially in a child-centered marriage should be shared between the couple. Gone are the days when house chores and child care were the responsibility of the woman. When necessary, you and your spouse should have designated roles for therapies, bills, etc. Make sure that the one carrying most of the workload gets a timeout to recharge.
4. Seek support from others
There is no shame in seeking support from others when needed. Ask friends and relatives for help and take time out to rejuvenate. When needed, use a specialized child care provider you trust, while you take a break for self-care.
5. Set Your Priorities
Never try to do everything at once. Decide on a course of action and seek balance in your life. Use a specialized child care provider when needed while you take a break.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Just as a car needs to refuel to run effectively, so do you. Take the time to care for yourself so that you can be your best for your family. Consider becoming part of a support community. Many parent groups are focusing on specific disabilities. Surround yourself with people who “get” you and your child.
7. Be on the same team
All kids thrive with consistency. Your kids more than anything, need to see you succeed in your marriage. Getting along, having conversations, making decisions together and being supportive of each other is what your children need for them to thrive.
8. Don’t Ignore Marital Problems
It is crucial to have open discussions about your marriage and marital problems but first, make sure your communication skills are on point to avoid conflict during the discussion.
What is your take on surviving a child-centered marriage? What are some of your strategies for thriving in this kind of marriage? Share your thoughts below.