choices we make

I was talking to a group of fellow mom-friends last week, a few of whom know a bit about the awakening I’ve had. I don’t remember the full context of my comment, but it had to do with my husband and how my plans for a date-night didn’t take place as I’d hoped due to overtime work. ūüėź One of my friends (I’ll call her “Addie”) said somewhat wistfully, “Maybe someday I’ll have a great sex life and want my husband the way you want yours…” and looked out at the lake.

This made me think. Yes, I’ve had an awakening, and yes I desire my husband greatly. Most of that is God’s doing, but some of that comes from the choices I’ve made. I talked about some of the things we’ve been intentional to do to create “soul-nakedness” in our lives, but there are other things, too.

Addie has chosen a parenting style that we have not chosen, and although I’m not going to condemn anyone’s particular choice in how they raise their kids, I do think different styles can positively or negatively influence the marriage relationship. For example, Addie’s kids (she has 5) are the center of their home. This has been a somewhat intentional decision on her part; her kids very much “rule the roost,” so to speak, and from my perspective (limited as it is), it seems as though she spends a lot of time putting out fires, squelching arguments, and making sure the kids have everything they want when they want it. Again, not condemning, but this is different than how we have chosen to parent.

We don’t have 5 kids, so the dynamic is definitely different. And my personality is very much a more structured and organized one than Addie’s. But we have chosen to make our son realize that he is not the center of the home — that he exists because his father and I love each other and chose to add him to the family. He is a satellite in the home, not the center of orbit for us. Our marriage comes first (well, technically second, because we put our relationship with God before our marriage). We intentionally make time for each other, and our structure includes a standard bedtime that gives us the freedom to enjoy each other’s company and discussion without the added input from a 1st grader.

For us, this is key. When my awakening started, there were discussions about how our son would not be sleeping on the floor next to our bed except in times of illness and/or thunderstorms … that his room was a better place for him to sleep than in with us. We had gotten somewhat lax in that, and there’s nothing that cuts down on marital communication and playtime than having a light-sleeping-kid on the floor in the same room. He was disappointed, but I explained to him that this was the way God intended things to be in a family — that the mama and daddy needed to have a special place that was their own (their bedroom) and that it was okay if we *invited* him to our room, but that it wasn’t a play-place or a place that he could just hang out when he wanted to. Our room is sacred (I didn’t use that word with him, though) and not a family-gathering spot. The Legos(r) can be relegated to other areas of the house.

There were other times when he would hear me refer to my husband as “a sexy husband,” and ask what “sexy” meant. Although I didn’t understand that word at his age, I told him that it was a compliment that husbands and wives could say to each other, but wasn’t appropriate for him to use. Shortly after this conversation, he asked me if I loved my husband more than him. My response was, “I love your daddy in a different way than I love you. God made it so that I would feel this way about your papa, and that’s part of how God gave you to us. I don’t love you less, just differently.” I’m not sure how much of that he understood, but he does understand that he is an orbiting satellite, not the center of the universe in our family. One of our goals is to raise our son to grow up and move out — to be a responsible adult who leads his own life. Our lives will not end at that point, and if we don’t nurture our relationship now, we’ll struggle when he isn’t around and we just have each other to look at.

I think because we set aside time for each other and make sure our son knows his place in the family, we have the ability to give ourselves more freely to each other. If we had chosen Addie’s style of family, I think I would simply be too worn out to give my husband even a fraction of the energy I have for him, much less any coherent conversation. From my observation, Addie’s husband is sometimes relegated to “being one of the kids” in order to get attention from his wife, which definitely cuts down on the romance-ability in their relationship. Clearly, with 5 kids, there is *some* romance, but pulling on my past conversations with Addie, it’s not something she ever looks forward to, because she’s just plain tired at the end of the day. Understandly, really.

Am I saying that if you have a kid-centered home that you’ll never have an awakening? Not at all. I do think that will take far more energy to be intentional with your spouse if you do have this style of home and parenting-philosophy, though. And I simply don’t have it in me to do that. I really do believe that there needs to be a pre-eminence of the marriage and relationship between the spouses to create a sense of anticipatory-longing and white-hot romance, but how that looks in individual homes is just that — individual.

I do hope that Addie has an awakening. I know her husband is crazy about her and would be thrilled, but I also know that his desire for her isn’t enough to bring her to that threshold of surrender to God and to him. She’s young and her kids are young too, but they will grow up (as kids are wont to do) and she and her husband will have only each other before too long. I want for them what we are building — a relationship that will stand the test of time and will continue to flourish when we find ourselves “kid-less” again.

His and his,
~Cori.

This entry was posted on 171001H Sep 2008 and is filed under Awakening, Path to Healing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • http://sensuouswife.blogspot.com Sensuous Wife

    Ah, I think you’re on the right track. I have friends where the kids are the center of their universe. There is an odd tension that I sense when I’m around them. My gut instinct is that some of that tension is sexual tension, perhaps sexual tension that has gone on so long it has become normal background noise. Sometimes I don’t know how much sexual tension I have until I get release after a sweaty romp with Delighted Husband. I am always astounded at how much BETTER I feel afterwards. The stresses of office and household just don’t “get to me” as much.

    One of the most sacred and needful hours of the day is the time after the kids go to bed and the we go to sleep. Hopefully we go to bed before we go to sleep if you catch my drift! ūüėČ Whether we choose to make love or cuddle on the sofa and watch a movie, that time is precious.

  • http://gakkurineko.blogspot.com Neko-chan

    Oh, Cori!! I have been meaning to write and comment on your recent posts, but I only have internet at work, and that makes it difficult…
    But I owe you so much!!! With all that I have gone through with my fiance (an improper sexual relationship, revelation of his sexual addiction, our ‚ÄďVERY– unplanned pregnancy‚Ķ), I have wanted to make things right‚Ķ For us to be cleansed of our past sin and then move forward in the commited bonds of a godly marriage‚Ķ
    Only… there were so many negative people, even within our own families, and our own church… Those who were quick to tell us that we should cut our losses and just move on with our (separate) lives.
    When I found your webpage, it gave me the most precious of all gifts: Hope.
    I have been so inspired to keep working forward in my Faith and in preparation for marriage, to a man who may be flawed, but has a heart to be healed.

    Thank you, for sharing your heart and your struggles with us.

  • cori

    Neko-chan:

    I think of and pray for you often! Thank you for your kind words — how they encouraged me. :)

    I want to continue to encourage you as you prepare to marry your fianc√©. Look to Jesus and listen to His voice — not the negative voices around you. If your fianc√© is committed to Him and to you, you’ll make it. I pray the best in your pregnancy — you’ve chosen life, and that deserves to be CELEBRATED! :) We are all flawed (me, especially), and yet God works through our flaws to encourage others and to bring glory to His Name. I am so blessed that you find Hope in these pages and writings.

    His and his,
    ~Cori