Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Diapers and the Devil

If I had a quarter for every Christian marriage that has been adversely affected by the arrival of one of God’s great blessings – that would be a baby – it would keep me in Starbuck’s Grande peppermint mocha lattes for the rest of my life. How can such a bundle of joy wreak such havoc on the relationship of a couple who nine months earlier was deliriously in love?

It’s easy, while you were working hard to become one you became three. What you brought into the world is someone who may be more self-centered than you are. From the baby’s perspective “it’s all about me.” “Hold me, feed me, change me, make more of those silly faces, and by all means keep making those idiotic sounds - is goo-goo hyphenated?” The husband, if only subconsciously, starts to think of the cost of college, and realizes he needs to work longer and harder. If the wife is a stay at home mom, she spends her time catering to every need of the fruit of her womb. Her work load has now doubled. Between feedings, changings and doing laundry she is busy reading the New York Times best sellers on raising children, and talking to friends who give her conflicting advice.

Within months the husband has either entered grad school, taken a second job, or started spending two additional hours a day on the job to impress his boss. The wife is exhausted by the end of the day. She gives serious thought to making pureed pear omelets topped with puree of spinach for dinner but Lean Cuisines win out. If the wife also holds down a job it would be wise to keep the anti-anxiety meds under lock and key.

Exhaustion, moodiness, frustration and guilt collide. The result is not a moonlit stroll, followed by a candlelit dinner with soft music, scintillating conversation and an evening of intimacy. As a couple you are on the verge of living parallel lives. It will only get worse if you let it. By the time you have signed your child up for every program that might tap their hidden potential, you will log more hours per week in the car than the Greyhound bus that goes from Pittsburgh to LA. What could give the Devil greater pleasure than to bring down a Christian marriage?

Take your marriage back. Be intentional. Put more energy into your marriage than into raising your children or excelling at your job. Build time together into your weekly calendar. Have regular date nights, have a pillow fight, put love notes in unexpected places, and learn your spouse’s love language and put it into practice. Pray together and for one another. Marriage was created by God to glorify Him and bring you joy.

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