My hubby (of 19 years!) wrote the below post. He is as "into" living intentionally as I am. Below, Rob shares one area that we are intentional about when it comes to parenting. Here are Rob's words:
My son, Jonathan’s preschool recently held a Donuts For Dads event. The kids served breakfast, sang songs, and celebrated dads. The kids also presented their dads with a picture they drew of their father and a filled out question and answer sheet.
One of the questions was “What is something your dad always says about you?”
Jonathan answered, “I’m a good boy.”
Another asked, “How does your dad make you laugh?”
My favorite question was "What makes your dad happy?”
Jonathan’s answer. . .“Mommy!”
Not pizza, not skateboarding, not work, not tools, but Mommy! When I read this, tears came to my eyes. I was filled with joy for two reasons. First, I loved my wife, and second, my child recognized it.
I have always felt that the greatest gift I could give my kids was to love their mother and model a strong marriage. I want them to look at me and say, “My daddy loves my mommy.” I want them to look at me and think, “I don’t ever have to worry about Daddy leaving Mommy.” When Su and I fight (yes we fight too), I don’t want my kids to wonder and doubt.
The irony of this is you have to put your kids aside some (well a lot). I don’t mean you ignore the kids completely, but you do have to say no to them. You do have to say with your actions and your words, “I am sorry but you cannot have all my attention. I am going to give some to your mommy.”
One way I put my marriage first is by
giving Su the first 30 to 45 minutes of my evening. When I come home from work, I say hi to the
kids and then I immediately focus on Su. Most of this time is spent talking. We sometimes go out on the deck, or sit on the couch. Other times we prepare for dinner. Wherever we are, she is my focus. We talk about the day and connect. Then, after dinner, I will be with the kids. The kids and I play or do homework or read
books. This evening pattern is not something
that just happened; it was an intentional decision. I want my kids to know, “I care about you, but
your mother comes first."
|I drew this heart on a tree in our backyard |
so Su (and my kids) would see it when we were out on the deck
Well, Jonathan obviously got that message, at least in part. He knows that Mommy makes Daddy happy. She is the object of his desire. What comfort it brings me to know that not only do I love my wife well, but my kids see and feel it.
Note from Su: Rob has always given me the first part of his evening, even when the kids were little. When Anna (our 14 year old) was a baby, we trained her to play on the floor with her toys (you could have special toys that come out just for this time) while Rob and I sat on the couch and connected. We taught our little ones to not climb into my and Rob's lap or up onto the couch. We taught them not to interupt. We called it "Mommy and Daddy's time."We felt like this was a tangible way to show our kids that Daddy and Mommy love each other. Oh, how that makes kids feel secure! Therefore, we made sure we had this time together when the kids were awake.
When we were first training our kids about this special Mommy and Daddy time, we sat on the couch for 3 minutes and then when the 3 mintues were up, Rob played with the kids and we praised them for not interrupting. And then we gradually increased our time to 5 min, 10 min, and then 15 min. This was when they were babies thru about age 4. Now that our kids are 5 years old and older, Rob's and my time is 30-45 minutes.
I'd love to hear your ideas of how you teach your kids that your marraige is a priority.
I shared this post over at my favorite linky parties: Women Living Well, We Are That Family, The Better Mom and Serenity Now.