Marriage can be hard, yes … but parenting?
And how about parenting teens … that just happen to be girls.
Oh, God. <Literally>
My husband and I have two girls. Honestly we wouldn’t trade them for anything but I would be lying if I told you it’s been easy. Because it hasn’t.
My oldest is a freshman in college this year and my youngest is a sophomore in high school.
The last 4-6 years have been a bit challenging for us to say the least. We’ve had some hard years, just like most parents.
But I’m not here to talk about parenting teens, instead I want to talk to you about loving your spouse well during the sometimes rocky teenage years.
Parenting teens naturally adds a certain kind of stress to marriage.
And once children enter into the family your marriage matters MORE, not less. Sometimes I think couples get it backwards. They pour every ounce of energy into their kids, and neglect their spouse. But actually, in doing this they are indirectly neglecting their kids and their futures.
When you put your spouse and marriage before your kids, you’re doing them a favor. You’re actually putting them first.
You are literally their example of what their marriage could look like in the future.
I strongly believe that teens who come from a happy home life in which their mom and dad have happy marriages are more likely to have happy marriages themselves.
And that’s the ultimate goal when we have children right? To raise them up to be happy, well-adjusted adults.
Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way in my own marriage when parenting teens:
Be a team
You’re in this together. I see so many marriages suffer and fail and the primary reason is that they are competing with each other rather than working together.
Raising our daughters has been a monumental task and it’s one we both take very seriously. We realize that it can’t be done with just one of us. It takes BOTH of us, working together as a team.
It’s true that John and I don’t always see eye to eye on everything. And that’s okay. Being on the same team does not necessarily mean that you see eye to eye. In fact, a team is stronger when they don’t think alike.
John and I have two different thought processes in parenting. And although the two are different, we have managed to blend them together as a team to raise our girls the best possible way we know how. Our parenting styles are so different yet they mesh together into something pretty cool. I make up for his weaknesses and he makes up for mine. The result is a really strong parenting style between the two of us.
Celebrate key milestones together
Knowing that every perfect and good gift comes from Him, we also take pride in knowing that our DNA combined formed two beautiful female humans. Have you ever just thought about how cool that is?
So when milestones such as the first prom, homecoming, academic and/or athletic ability, come around, we take it seriously. Whatever those milestones may be, we celebrate them together as a couple.
I have fond memories of my oldest’s first prom. It was a huge moment for me and John. One in which we celebrated together. We both looked on with pride as parents because everything that we’d been through as a couple had brought us to that huge moment in her life and we didn’t take it lightly.
Have family meetings
These don’t have to be cheesy meetings y’all. I’m talking about simply taking time to sit with each other, rather it be in the evenings in the living room after watching a favorite TV show or at the dinner table. Turn off the TV, put the phones away and talk. Talk about the highs and lows of your day. Talk about your calendar’s. Laugh and have fun together. This builds so much unity within your family and it builds unity within your marriage.
Adore each other, and by the way, let it show
I adore John, and I know that he adores me, and I assume that my girls know this.
It’s so important for husband and wife to build each other up in front of their kids, especially during their teen years.
I’ve always wanted my girls to think the sun rises and sets in their daddy.
It not only fosters confidence and security in your kids, it impacts your marriage in a positive way, because we all want is adoration, don’t we? Especially when it comes from our spouse.
Be authentic (to a certain extent)
First of all, give your teens some credit. They’re not stupid. They know when they’re problems.
I’m certainly not suggesting that you air all of your dirty laundry to your children when it comes to your marriage. But I am suggesting that they see as many aspects of your relationship as possible, the good and the bad.
I want my daughters to take marriage seriously. I want them to know that marriage is one of the most rewarding relationships that they will ever have.
I also want them to know that it takes hard work and tenacity. So, how do they learn that if all they see are the good, happy aspects of our relationship?
There are times John and I argue and tension arises. That is normal because we are human and we are two different personalities trying to navigate life together.
We don’t hide this from them.
All couples in marriage are going to go through hard times. Some of those hard times may lead to divorce and some couples may choose to stay together for the sake of the kids. They choose this and then go through the motions without ever addressing the issues in their marriage. This leads to discontentment.
So, can I offer something else? Don’t stay together for the sake of the kids.
Rather, for their sake, stay together and do the hard work to restore your marriage.
When our marriage went through hard-core devastation, we had to fight to keep it alive.
They know how to fight.
They know that marriage takes work and is not easy, but they also know that doing the hard work can be so very rewarding.
Lastly, and most important, let God be the center of your home. Our family wouldn’t be where it is today without God. He deserves all the credit. When you put Him as center, you cannot fail!
This article originally appeared at LoriSchumaker.com.