When my husband and I were newly married, he received a phone call that I will never forget. A college friend had called to say that his parents were getting a divorce after 25 years of marriage. As a young newlywed, this news shook me up. I could not imagine what would cause two people to divorce when they had been married for that long. I thought that surely you would have figured out things by then. I told you that I was a newlywed at the time, and clearly life hadn’t been too difficult for us yet.
Over the next ten years of marriage, our family grew. And one day, we found ourselves the proud parents to four beautiful children who had quickly become the center of our world. Babies can’t help but be the center of your world. They need you for everything. They need you to feed them, to change their diapers, to clothe them, to soothe them, and basically to do everything for them! Our worlds do revolve around them, because they need us for survival!
But as the years went on, our kids got older, and our world began to look a tad bit different. We are now parenting three teenagers and one pre-teen, and if we would let it, our world would still revolve around our (much bigger) children. In some ways, we can’t help it. They can’t drive yet, and with four kids, there is always some school event, sport, party, or activity going on. Many nights I lay my head down and think about how from 3pm-10pm, my entire world actually does revolve around my kids.
That phone call that my husband received over 15 years ago still pops into my head from time to time. I don’t know the cause of that couple’s divorce, but I do know firsthand how easy it is to put our marriages on the back-burner for a time, because our kids are taking up so much of our time, focus, and energy. We can see this when they are babies and need so much from us, and we see this when they are older and have so many activities demanding time from us.
My husband and I see the dangers of having a child-centered home, and we are doing all that we can to make sure that our home is centered around the gospel of Jesus, rather than around our kids and their lives.
We know that one day these kids will all leave us, as they go on to start and live their own lives. When that happens, we don’t want to look up and realize that we have been living more like roommates or coworkers than spouses. If our lives become completely wrapped up in and solely focused on all kinds of good things for our kids, our marriage will suffer. We are committed to focusing and refocusing on our relationship with each other, knowing that one day, it will just be the two of us again. When that day arrives, we want to be more in love than on the day that we married.
Another reason that my husband and I continue to re-evaluate what our home is centered on is that we want our kids to love God with all their hearts, minds, and souls. We want our kids to see a family—a mom and dad—that is willing to do whatever it takes to love God more and tell others about Him. We desire for our kids to be world-changers for the Lord, and it could be hard for them to give themselves away for the gospel when the only example set by their parents is us giving our lives away for them.
At the end of the day, we want our home and our individual lives to be centered on the good news of Jesus—and nothing else. I’m fully aware of how difficult this is to live out in our day and age, but I’m also fully aware that my kids are watching me, and they’re seeing how and for whom I’m pouring out my life. With that in mind, there’s nothing more I’d rather strive for.
Want to read more from Jamie Ivey? Check out her other LifeWay Voices post.