I wonder if parents have a similar experience? All preparations and classes and workshops tell us that the marital relationship is the core of every family, natural and step, and it must be the first priority of a couple to care for their marriage above all.
Kids have needs though, and adults should be able to put emotions on hold (for a reasonable time) while more immediate needs are taken care of. I wish it was as easy as it sounds. This summer my stepkids were with us for a month, and as a newlywed, this was by far the longest I’d been together with them under one roof. If the kids could be with us for much of the year, as my oldest stepdaughter is, then I like to hope family life would be “normal” enough with their presence that our natural marital priorities can be kept in order. By contrast when the younger ones come, which is for longer, fewer stints of time, my husband has to (also wants to, and it’s right to) cram a lot of attention, reassurance, learning and teaching into these chunks of time. Every time that they come and go, he worries that a tragedy will make this the last time.
It’s humbling, a real challenge for someone like me who lived on my own for 12 years, to realize that in our home, I’m just not always that important! It’s very good for me spiritually I know, and probably long overdue. i’m sure parents feel the same challenge in other ways. I guess God found His way to remind me that I should be more humble, not presuming or expectant. Now to live down to it.
- Michelle Gracia
P.S. I write from Las Vegas, where I’m staying for a business meeting this week. My husband’s food is light years better than anything I’ve tasted at the restaurants here!