Being a newlywed is an awesome feeling! It’s fresh, new, exciting and overflowing with love. There is an expectation of hope, optimism of change for the better, and the joy of children …
… who were at the wedding cheering you on! Newlywed dreams take a completely different turn when you or your spouse have children from previous relationships or have shared children all before that beautiful trip down the aisle.
In today’s society, it is a likely incidence that either one or both parties are entering the union as parents with custodial children. In that regard, the “Disney fairytale” of new marriage doesn’t quite work for us!
Transparent moment: I returned home from the honeymoon thinking life would just be “official” and “business as usual” and, boy, was in for a rude awakening! All my friends ever said was that marriage is hard work, but they never gave details as to why.
Within the first month, there were four things that became very apparent.
1. You are a husband/wife first! In many instances, especially those that involve single parenthood, we are told that our children are our number one priority and that nothing should come before them.
However, in marriage as designed by God, our children are not first. The biblical order is God, husband, wife, then children. Fellow moms (and dads), we know it’s hard. We dwell in the frame of nothing happens to my babies — as we should — but we must remember, to be in right relationship with God, we must adhere to His will for marriage.
So, under God’s plan, He becomes the head and under His leadership, we should all be cared for and protected.
2. Do not assume that life before marriage will be the same after marriage! This was the harshest of realities! Admittedly, we did some things out of order and could not continue to follow the Lord and do His works, living in sin. The quick realization was that although there was a level commitment before the wedding, it was not official. At any given moment, either of us could decide to leave and end it all.
In a rather heated discussion (because all marriages will have an intense fellowship from time to time), it hit me like a brick! “You cannot leave!”
We both assumed that things would be business as usual. However, in that moment we realized, we both failed truth #1, which is what lead to the revelation of truth #2. In actuality, many newlywed couples have this revelation. However, when you enter into marriage with children, this is all the more true.
3. Date night is important! It is only in movies that children go to bed at exactly 8:00 pm and are quiet and tucked in with no worries and now mommy and daddy can be husband and wife with no interruption nightly! At my house, it seems that every plan that starts with the words “well, after the kids are asleep …” is foiled within 15 minutes of it being uttered.
There are nightmares, restlessness, sick babies, broken air conditioners, and many other distractions that land our children the one place we don’t want them to be at that moment … in our bedroom, with us. Regardless of already being parents, we’re still newlyweds. Time to ourselves is important, a must, and ordained by God! While some view date night as planned sex, it doesn’t have to be. It’s a time of reconnection for you and your spouse to not be “mommy and daddy” for a night and to focus on and just be husband and wife.
Take the time to enjoy your spouse. Children are wonderful gifts from God, but they are also time consuming and can be all-encompassing. Date night helps to keep some balance in the structure and it helps the children to recognize that sometimes mommy and daddy need a break.
4. The family that prays together stays together! It sounds so cliche and 1980s television-worthy, however, but it is the truest of statements. As married couples, we should always pray with and for our spouses. It is important to include the children in prayer time as well and teach them to how to pray. When I was growing up, my parents started family Bible time. It started with a Bible story and discussion, we learned a Psalm, and eventually learned the Lord’s Prayer.
It activated within us the importance of God’s Word and building a relationship with Him. Even as grandparents, they have continued with family Bible time. It provides a foundation for our households. As parents, it is important that we train up our children in the way that they should go, so that when they are old, they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
While rewarding, marriage is work! As with anything else in life, there are moments of great joy and happiness and then there are not so great moments. In the tough times we can remember, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).
These four considerations are in no way an exhaustive list. Use them to begin preparing your vision to forever. Talk about them with your spouse to be, if you’re engaged, or your present spouse. It’s never too late for a new beginning. God gives us grace and mercy ongoing. It’s His grace and mercy that sustains our marriages and families.
Takhia Gaither Stuckey
Takhia Gaither Stuckey is a married mom of three, teacher, curriculum writer, professional developer, and blogger. She is also a graduate student pursuing a doctorate in psychology. She loves the Lord and studying God’s Word as well as encouraging and uplifting others. Takhia enjoys writing, reading, and sharing all that she learns with others. Follow her at takhiatheteachher.com or IG: @takhiatheteacher