JMaking it through a mom day in this culture without feeling guilty is quite an accomplishment considering the ridiculous expectations we face. Mom guilt plagues us as we spin our wheels and lose our minds in an effort to not just raise our children, but bring them up in a comfortable, successful environment, ensuring they become “well-rounded.”

What in the world does that mean today anyway? I would settle for respectful and kind.

We could spend days talking about how our culture has  become child-centered, but I am here typing these words to cheer on your marriage.

Before our children were even a glimmer in our eyes, before their first cries in the night,  there were couples who loved each other so deeply, it hurt. Who acted like fools to just spend another day together. Our love for each other helped to create or adopt these little ones who now demand our attention beyond what we ever imagined.

Parents, I’m watching marriages crumble as we allow our children to take the place of what God ordained as priority, as holy. We all know friends who are in marriages held together by the  children who were meant to fill our quivers, not take over our hearts and lives. Amazing miracles, whether by birth or by adoption, but the first miracle was marriage.

Two messed up people coming together and saying, “I choose you for the rest of my life” is indeed a beautiful miracle. It is a covenant, a holy agreement that somehow has been pushed to the background as we raise our children front and center stage. I wonder what these children are learning about marriage as we give the best of ourselves to them instead of to our spouses.

We have bought into a lie that goes something like this, “if you are a good parent, you will sacrifice everything for your children.” What? Once we believe this, we have invited guilt to live where romance should be thriving. We struggle to make a choice to invest in our relationship whether it’s just shutting the bedroom door, going on a date, or saving for an anniversary trip of our dreams.

What about the children? They NEED me.

In the words of Elsa, “Let it go!!!”

More than anything, your children need to see you and your spouse love each other deeply in a friendship that stands up under change, stress, and aging. They need to see you kissing on the couch. And on the porch. And in the car. Putting our marriages before our children is not something to feel guilty about. Ever.

We are giving them hope and truth that love done God’s way is fun and it can last. Instead we have told them by putting our relationships on the back burner that marriage starts with a cute wedding picture but then becomes something that you try to survive until your children are grown. Then you’re old and plant a garden and sometimes sleep in separate beds.

I want you to be free to pursue your marriage. If you give into the guilt, you are denying you and your spouse the gift which has already been given to you.

If you shut your door and tell your children not to knock unless there’s fire or blood, they will survive. If you get a sitter, leave them home with PB&J’s while you go out to dinner, don’t you dare let them give you a hard time! It is okay in the midst of raising kids to save money for an anniversary trip. Trust the One who gave you these kids to take care of them while you’re at Olive Garden.

As I said, I am watching marriages hanging on by a thread because life somehow became about the children. We may see ourselves as martyrs as we give it all up for our children, but God is not honored.

Stop and ask God what your marriage needs today and what your children truly need from you as parents. It’s not too late to have a great marriage, to fall in love all over again with your spouse. Think about the security that would give your children.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12