The children you so adore are both a gift to be cherished but also a danger to you and your spouse. How do you navigate that difficult balance of meeting the needs of your youngsters while still taking care of yourself and attending to your spouse? Take this unscientific test to see how you are doing.
Questions to consider about your role as a spouse
- Do you spend at least 30 minutes alone with your spouse every day?
- Do you find your spouse interesting?
- Are you romantically attracted to your partner?
- Are you proud of the person you married?
- Do you enjoy the time you spend together?
- Do you take vacations without your kids?
- When together, do you find you have lots to talk about other than the children?
- Are you able to overlook minor annoying issues?
- Do you miss your spouse when she is away?
- Do you resolve disagreements without lingering resentment?
Questions to consider about your personal life
- Do you have weekly contact with at least one friend?
- Do you work late to avoid coming home?
- Do you maintain a hobby or interest that doesn’t involve your children?
- Are you feeling as if you are wasting your life?
- Do you frequently think about how good your life will be once your children have left home?
- Are you resentful of the compromises you have made for your children and your spouse?
- Do you abuse alcohol or drugs?
- Have you gained a lot of weight in the past year?
- Do you frequently wish you could start your life over and take a different path?
- Do you feel proud of your role as a parent and spouse?
I’ve enjoyed working with lots of wonderful parents over the years, and there really is no easy way to balance these various roles. However, successful parents do seem to have one thing in common. They are in committed relationships with a supportive partner. These relationships are characterized by the three “Cs”—communication, compromise, and compassion. With those attributes, things seem to work out just fine.