There are times in which the two seem at odds–marriage and motherhood. With only so much time in the day and often with competing values, marriage can feel like the great enemy of motherhood. And motherhood can feel opposed to marriage.
But the feeling isn’t reality. The two are not at odds, but instead, are meant to dance together in a beautiful–although imperfect–tandem.
Sadly, many women put undue pressures on themselves because they do not see the two roles as complementary. By seeing marriage and motherhood as competing tasks, they continually feel as though they are failing both. (See: What Every Mother-in-Law Should Know)
However, when a woman weds the two together viewing marriage as an integral aspect of motherhood and seeing motherhood as a common byproduct of marriage, the self-imposed stress can begin to lessen. Consider what a healthy marriage provides a child.
A happy marriage:
1. Creates a secure environment.
2. Models a good relationship.
3. Leads to more affection between parents which produces more affection with kids.
4. Reduces stress for both parents and children.
5. Removes pressure from kids to be the source of joy for their parents.
6. Gives a sense of community.
7. Empowers the child to leave the family unit as they grow.
Few things are better for a child than a healthy marriage between their mom and dad. This isn’t meant to create guilt on those whose marriages have ended. It doesn’t imply that children from single-parent homes are forever hindered. Marriages end for a variety of reasons and the last thing many women need is added guilt.
But these facts should remind us of the importance of marriage in the lives of children and motivate us to make wise choices regarding relationships. More than anything, it should empower women to invest in their marriages without guilt regarding their children.
It’s in your child’s best interest that you create the strongest marriage possible. It’s, in part, for them that you choose to spend time, energy, and effort in protecting your marriage. It’s an act of your motherly love that you place your relationship with their father above your relationship with them.
A central role of motherhood is marriage. It’s not the only aspect or even the most important aspect, but it’s one of the vital roles of being a mother. Because of this, a woman is free to let go of the guilt she is tempted to experience whenever she feels as though she is choosing her husband over her child.
Date nights, vacations, conversations, and a variety of other things are important elements of a healthy marriage. To choose them is not to choose your husband at the expense of your child. It’s to choose both your husband and your children. The two are not at odds. A healthy marriage is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. While they might not like it in the moment, they will thank you for the rest of your life.
At the same time, raising a child doesn’t have to be at odds with marriage. It’s a central role to a married couple who has children. While a woman must be careful about putting her child before her husband, she should not be guilted because her children take time from her husband. Loving the kids is an aspect of loving her husband. A good husband will not only understand, but expect his time with his wife to diminish during certain seasons of life. (See: Motherhood Is Not the Highest Calling)
If both parents are partnering well in raising their children, feelings of jealously will greatly diminish. They won’t disappear. At times, we all get out of rhythm regarding priorities. However, many wives spend too much time with the kids at the expense of the husband because the husband is not playing his role as parent. She is having to pull double duty. If they partner well together, they will have more time and energy to spend on each other.
As a man, I can’t begin to imagine the pressure many women feel. A good amount of that pressure is self-induced and not useful in being successful as a mother or wife. Marriage is many things, but it is not the foe of motherhood.