By Kyleen Baptiste
Recently I was catching up on some podcasts and I listened to a Marriage on the Go episode: Marriage-Centered Family. It was so good! Sabrina and Matt shared about the biblical truths of modeling a Christ-centered, marriage-first family and how that creates emotional security for children. They talked about simple ways to do this so children experience a secure home, and how it, in-turn, promotes a strong foundation for positive self-esteem and secure children.
If I’m honest, though, I struggled with living this out in the beginning of our blended family. I was struggling to know how to have a marriage-centered family while learning how to navigate blended family life, in general. I love my husband and stepchildren deeply, we were all just in unfamiliar territory trying to find our way.
So, trying to do our best to help our children adjust, we focused on them. Our calendar was packed full with sports activities, sleepovers, the visitation schedule, and running businesses. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, because it allowed me to forge precious bonds with my stepchildren by being present in parts of their lives that were important to them. Still, by default, adulthood mixed with parenthood means seasons when there’s little to no time left over.
Until one day still very early in our marriage, my stepdaughter said something that immediately reset my perspective. She’d had an argument with her group of friends, and she was talking about change and how friends come and go, and just in passing said, “I mean, we’d keep in touch if you and Dad don't stay together, wouldn’t we?” In that moment I realized our attempts to help them by prioritizing them was actually robbing them from experiencing important truths about what God was doing in our family. Redemption. Grace. Security. They needed to know the marriage they were surrounded by was rock solid. Covenant solid.
That statement from my tender-hearted stepdaughter helped me understand the power of purposefully demonstrating a Christ-centered home with a marriage-centered family for our children.
It’s vital to be intentional to help our children experience life within a healthy marriage. Even in those hectic seasons of parenthood, it’s still possible to prioritize our marriage in fun ways for our children to see. They need it. We need it. And while prioritizing our marriage isn’t just about prioritizing time, time is an essential component.
Here’s a few tips to help get started:
- Decide. Decide you’re going to carve time out for one another. No more left overs.
- Schedule. For some of us, this will require scheduling time to schedule it… schedule it! Then protect the time.
- Simplify. This can be super simple. Sabrina and Matt talked on the podcast about how they committed to go on a walk together weekly and they had it set on their calendar. Their kids asked to go from time to time, but they used that opportunity to explain the importance of their marriage and it helped show their kids how their parents chose one another, even in the little things.
And for the couple in a blended family? You’re not alone. We often schedule our date time on the weekends our children are with their other parent, don’t we? I get it. We’ve done it, too. However, we run the risk of not showing our children what a healthy marriage looks like. Let’s be tender, but be purposeful about demonstrating a marriage-centered home.
No matter the family make-up, we want our children to end up in loving, healthy marriages where their spouse cherishes them and chooses them over and over again. So, while they’re young, let’s show them what that looks like.
Kyleen is a mom to four amazing children and one super spoiled Great Dane in her blended family. She gained her three oldest “covenant” kids through marriage to her awesome husband, and they have one little girl together. Kyleen was a child life therapist for over 10 years and is now a Tippi Toes® Franchise owner, founder of Foreign Soil Ministries, and passionate about helping blended families thrive in light of redemption. She provides coaching calls and online support to help families navigate the tricky stuff in a godly way. A Kentucky address with a Florida born heart, her fav’s are Florida State football, traveling, as well as being home with the roar of her kids and company. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.