What is the strongest part of your family?

If you want to do something for your kids, do something to improve your marriage.”
Dear Friend,
15 years into my friend’s marriage, the relationship was no picnic. Being absorbed in the craziness of raising three kids, running their own businesses, and maintaining a household got the best of them. They had nothing left over for each other at the end of the day. Time to play and enjoy each other had been lost in their tunnel vision of raising kids and generating income.

Every now and then, they went on a retreat at a local hotel where they had time to read, relax, and have uninterrupted conversations without being climbed on, called to, or needed. There was time to finish a complete thought without having to raise their voices to be heard over the noise of a house full of kids. They found that relaxed time alone went a long way in helping them rediscover their friendship with each other. Hanging on to playfulness and connection while living inside the pinball machine of life with kids was something they found tricky.

Get-aways can be powerful refreshers for couples, even if they are short. One couple with five kids goes to a nearby hotel one afternoon each month. They relax, eat in the room, have alone time, sleep uninterrupted, and enjoy quiet time the next morning. It’s short and sweet, but great for connection and relaxing in each other’s presence.

Another couple does the same thing except that one partner goes home at night so there is no overnight babysitting expense. The mom stays overnight for some alone time and the next morning, she shows up refreshed and renewed.

What about you? If you have a partner in parenting, could you use some away time for the sake of your relationship? If you were determined, is there a way you can make it happen?

Palmer and I talk a lot about creating “a close, connected family” and we think there are at least three essential elements that work like a 3-legged stool:

1) Parenting skills. There’s just no getting around the idea that figuring out how to nurture, teach, and connect with your kids increases the likelihood of having a loving family.

2) Self-awareness. Without self-awareness and compassion for our own wounds and shortcomings, it’s really tough to create solid, secure attachments with our children. Why? Because we are often trying to give our kids what we did not receive as children. I, for one, grew up in a house where we didn’t do anger or big emotions. But kids have anger and big emotions. Until we can embrace our own big emotions, we don’t generally do so well at embracing those of our kids.

3) Healthy parent relationships. When the adults in a house are at odds, it’s palpable to the kids. It’s virtually impossible for their brains to relax in the presence of stressed adults. The luckiest of kids get to grow up in a family where the adults are friends. Long-term, loving relationships don’t usually happen by luck…. they take investment. 🙂So, sweet parent who loves your kids to the moon and back, and who is willing to leap over tall buildings to give your kids the best childhood you can offer… how would you rank those three domains in your own family life?

Click this link to a quick, anonymous 4-question survey to rank those three domains of your life. From the results, we will create our next free webinar so that we can meet you where you are.
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Kerry Stutzman
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