Recently, my youngest son watched as I cut my hair. Half way through, he asked "Daddy, what is that brown streak in the middle of your head"? Unfortunately, he was referring to my receding hairline. I paused for a second and said "That's where my hair is falling out." He responded "Oh" and walked away.
I felt like I was on an episode of "Kids Say the Darndest Things". And if you have kids, you can testify to the truth of that title.
Just last week, I decided to start teaching my youngest child to read. We grabbed a book and started sounding out the word dog. D –What sound does the D make? O – What sound does the O make? G – What sound does the G make? And then when you put them all together and you have D-O-G. Shayla looked at me with an exasperated facial expression and said "Just read it". Stunned, I could do nothing but laugh. She was not interested in a reading lesson. She just wanted me to read the book. As we said earlier, Kids Say the Darndest Things.
Our children can be such a joy; but, they can also be a source of pain and frustration. From the terrible two's to the question everything stage to the rebellious teens, they can drive you up the wall. They can also drive a wedge into your marriage if you let them.
From an early age, they unwittingly start their divide and conquer quest. They cry and one parent wants to pick them up while the other parent considers it spoiling the child. One parent wants to put the child in daycare while the other parent wants to keep them at home. One parent wants to put the child in private school while the other parent prefers public school. One parent wants to put the child in sports while the other parent wants to sign the child up for piano.
If that is not enough, the children mature and learn who they can manipulate into giving them what they want. If they want clothes, they ask momma. If they want junk food, they ask daddy. If they want to hang out with their friends at the mall, they ask momma. If they want to stay up late and watch the game, they ask daddy.
With our personal desires for our children along with their manipulative ways pulling at us, it is imperative that we remain united. When they ask one of us for something, they are asking both of us. We are a team. Sure, we love our biological and step children. However, we cannot allow them to become a wedge between us. The bible says "what God has put together, let no man put asunder." (Matthew 19:6) We cannot allow anyone to separate us, including our children.
If we are not sure what our spouse would say, we cannot be ashamed to delay the decision until we have talked with them. Our first commitment is to our marriage not our children. We are the leadership team of the house. The children and there self centered erratic desires are not in charge. It is our job to establish and enforce the house rules. More importantly, it is our job to show our children how to be great husbands, wives and parents.
At times, that will require some intense negotiation between us – the parents. But it is worth it because our marriage and children are worth it.