Marriage is hard, I don't care who you are. That's why we write this blog, and that's probably why you're reading it. The fail rate on marriages is way too high. How did things get so screwed up? How do we build a better "us", rather than letting our marriage take the slow slide into a hole we can't climb out of? We propose this: we have to put "us" (our marriage relationship) first.
The biggest obstacle to keeping our marriage a priority was our wonderful kids. It wasn't their fault. Our obsession with them and every detail of their lives left little time for us. There were times during their middle and high school years when the calendar was so full that we didn't know if we were coming or going. On our WorldWide Marriage Encounter weekend, we heard the idea of "keeping our relationship a priority" by using the tool they called "Re-evaluation". (Click here to find some helpful info on how to Re-evaluate together as a couple.)
It's become a foreign concept... that we, as a married couple, should come first. But we should. "We" should come before the kids, and their sports, and their music activities, and sleepovers, and.... "We" should come first before guys' and girls' nights out. "We" should come first before finishing the last things on my to-do list.
We had to stop and re-evaluate what was going on in our lives. We had to find a balance. Our kids didn't need to be involved in every extra-curricular activity available. They needed - we ALL needed - to have some down time: time to be home together as a family AND time for OUR marriage relationship.
It was easier said than done. We limited our kids to one sport at a time. They were a little mad at first, but they had the security of knowing their parents loved each other enough to fight against the peer pressure of doing what so many other parents were doing.
Now, when young couples ask us for advice, we say... Slow down. Simplify. Stop running 100 mph trying to please everyone. The two of you come first.