Reflections on For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House by Patrick and Ruth Schwenk
“Parenting is hard enough. I’ll refocus on my spouse and me when our kids leave the house.”
Sound familiar? The tension between rearing great children and enjoying a fantastic marriage is real. Give your attention to one and the other always seems to suffer.
So what’s the answer? Sad to say, parents too easily rationalize away their relationship for the sake of their kids. It’s easy to do, especially when children present obvious and pressing needs daily.
Feed me. Clothe me. Hold me. Help me. Drive me around. … The growing list of needs never ends. These may seem like the sentiments of a child, but how are they different from what moms and dads need? Everyone in your home– including you and your spouse – is longing to be loved, accepted, nurtured, and launched into the world. God created you with great care, and He established your marriage in the same way. Don’t neglect your main roles when you become parents. You’re called to be human husbands and wives not super-hero moms and dads.
Fact: It’s hard to be a wholehearted parent when you’re a halfhearted spouse. And, it’s impossible to be a wholehearted husband or wife when you’re a halfhearted disciple of Christ. It’s time for moms and dads to look in the mirror and fight for their marriages. Your charge is to take 100% responsibility for yourself, 100% responsibility for your marriage, and 100% responsibility for your parenting. That’s a lot of responsibility! But good news…help is on the way.
There’s a wonderful new book out by Patrick and Ruth Schwenk from Ann Arbor, Michigan. For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House just hit shelves this year. Pat is a husband, father, and pastor. Ruth is a wife, mom, and blogger. The two of them are the creators of ForTheFamily.org and TheBetterMom.org. They’ve been married 17 years, have 4 kids, and tons of highs and lows as a couple. Together, in For Better or For Kids, Pat and Ruth dispel myths of marriage and parenting and provide practical hope for today’s families.
The Schwenk’s are strong advocates for healthy relationships and homes, challenging every couple to take their wedding vows seriously. In Pat and Ruth’s words, “Marriage is both a blessing we receive and a battle we fight for in love, commitment, sacrifice, and grace” (pg. 42). And yet, they raise the issue that a vow is missing – a vow to love your spouse with kids in the house! Today’s husbands and wives need a way to navigate the tides their marriage and home will experience once kids enter the picture.
Whether children are in your future or have already invaded your home, For Better or For Kids has practical wisdom for you. This book is filled with personal, candid, and even painful stories from the Schwenk’s. It covers everything from communication and parenting challenges to sexual intimacy and spiritual vibrancy. In this hope-filled, heartfelt resource, Pat and Ruth take on the role of marital mentors for any parents who want to grow as faithful followers of Christ, husbands and wives, and moms and dads. Their authentic take on what makes or breaks married life as parents is truly transformational.
Whether kids are in your not-so-distant future or you are well past the honeymoon phase of parenting, For Better or For Kids: A Vow to Love Your Spouse with Kids in the House will point you in the right direction. Get your copy and reclaim God’s vision for your marriage starting today.