Competing For Love? The Struggle between Spouse and Kids
Here’s a crazy thought. Perhaps one reason that we get frustrated with our spouse is because we are jealous.
Perhaps we are jealous because we are insecure within ourselves.
Perhaps we are insecure within ourselves because we choose not to believe the truth.
I can vividly remember a season in our home when I felt like I was alone. I rolled out of bed each morning to fulfill my duty as a dad filling bowls with cheerios, then trudged off to work only to return to clean up dishes, diapers and doggy doo-doo.
Our children were little, all under 6 years old. Jack was only 4 years old at the time. My wife’s hands were overloaded with laundry, nursing and 5 minute siestas which were always abuptly ended prematurely.
We were living maritally parallel in a home overrun by children and the responsibility to keep them alive. We were easily aggrevated towards each other and not often encouraging. We were actually competing with each other to earn each other’s affection… but we were so single-focused on doing parental chores, we never implemented the love and caring aspect.
Have you been through a season like this?
I had forgotten all about it, like it was a bad dream that I had vowed never to go back to, until I was reading the book of Genesis and saw that this same situation also happened in Jacob’s household.
Ever wonder how Jacob came to have so many kids (the 11 that would eventually be the tribes of Israel)? It stemmed from the nasty and brutal competition for love and affection.
The story is found in Genesis… I encourage you to read it, but at the end of the day Jacob has 2 wives who are both sisters (the original sister-wives). The oldest Leah starts having children and Rachel becomes jealous and gives Jacob her servant to have kids with. Then Leah sees this and also gives Jacob her servant. Then Rachel has kids, so Leah has to have more kids. Leah even names her sons Hebrew names that mean, “Now my husband will love me”.
My heart sank for witnessing such drama on the pages of my Bible, especially when you read, “That Jacob loved them”. Jacob’s love was not conditional on them having children. Therefore the competition was complete nonsense between the two sister-wives which began from Rachel being insecure for not having children and Leah being insecure by knowing that Jacob originally wanting to marry Rachel.
Yet, we are not so different (except for the multiple wives thing…thank goodness). We have a tendency to believe the lies of insecurity from within ourselves during times of stress. These lies do cause division between you and your spouse.
There is good news… we do have the ability to stop the crazy cycle and believe it or not…yep…it comes from God’s word.
Philippians 4:8, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (New Living Translation).
Christmas time can be a crazy time for busy-ness. There is so much running around and driving between family member’s homes and visiting people you wouldn’t normally choose to hang out with and kissing great-aunts with facial hair (sorry, too far? … probably). We really do need to keep a tangible check on what we are listening to in our mind.
My encouragement to you this week is to remind your spouse that you are on the same team. Verbally recognize together that the season of life is hectic but that your marriage is worth more than anything else.
This will not only impact your marital relationship, but also have a huge settling impact on the emotions of your children. I know that during hectic periods in our family our kids, especially Jack, become hyper-sensitive to emotions and become higher maintenance to keep on track. Maybe that’s their way of trying to pull us out of the craziness.
Be Encouraged…2016 is bringing exciting things in the world of Jack’s Dad and I can’t wait to share them all with you.