Hello, hello! Thanks again for joining us on another Millionaire Marriage blog. It’s Taylor Kovar today, and this is going to be a sort of follow-up blog, a Part 2 if you will, to our podcast/blog before this on marriage after kids!
So, again, we have the special treat of welcoming our beautiful wives to the podcast: My wife, Megan, and Jeremy Gilliam’s wife, Erica.
Just to jump right back into the topic at hand, Megan had brought up the fact that our kids learn about marriage through us.
Be the Future You Want to See
She said, “One day, they’re hopefully going to be a spouse to someone, and what they have grown up around and seen every day in their own home growing up, that’s what they’re going to be emulating and creating in their own family dynamic. Those little eyes are always watching, so make sure what they see is something you’d be proud to see them doing one day.”
To which Erica added, “You want your kids to have a healthy level of functioning relationally, emotionally, all of that. We take responsibility for that as we strive to raise godly, good, healthy children that are able to survive in the world and to be whole in every way possible as adults.”
For a lot of people, it’s scary for them to hear that they’re becoming their parents. They don’t want to reflect the way their parents behave.
I heard a quote several years ago, and for the life of me I can’t remember who said it (so if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry, I will give you credit if you reach out to us!). But it said, “Your outer voice becomes your child’s inner voice.”
Your kiddos are always watching you. They’re always listening. And they’re always paying attention.
“I want our son to marry someone like Erica because she’s amazing,” Jeremy said. “And I hope that I’m a good enough husband and father that our daughter thinks, Hey, when I’m picking a spouse, I want them to be like my dad because he’s pretty amazing. You’re 50% your mom, and 50% your dad. Whether you like it or not. Be the type of human being you want your kids to be; it doesn’t come by accident.”
That’s probably one of the highest compliments you can give your spouse—to hope and pray that your children find someone who resembles them one day. Meg told me that she was praying about our kiddos and their future the other day, and without even thinking about it, she prayed that they marry someone who treats them as well as I treat her and loves them as well as I love her.
Kids Don’t Rule the Roost
Another point of discussion that we talked about and wanted to bring up here, is the issues that can arise in a marriage from a child-centered home.
“In this instance, everything is centered around what the child needs, what the child wants, and what the child requires,” Erica explained. “And yes, they should be taken care of, but there’s also boundaries that need to be set. In the event that healthy boundaries are not set, the parents’ relationship and marriage goes by the wayside. Other things are neglected because, ultimately, the child ends up ruling the roost.”
An interesting point to make here: Some people forget that children are born into OUR world. We are not born into theirs.
And so, YOU are the adult. YOU set the right boundaries. YOU allow your children to do the things that need to be done for a healthy and wholesome relationship, as well as a healthy and wholesome upbringing.
As Meg stated, “Whenever you make a home child-centered, it’s interesting to think that it actually puts such a heavy responsibility and burden on a child. A child is not emotionally able to handle all of that responsibility, yet they understand from a young age that they are the ones who set the tone for a household.”
At the end of the day, kids don’t need total freedom like that. What they need is structure.
Structure, Limits, and Boundaries, Oh My!
Even as adults, we need structure. I’m a pretty spontaneous person, and when I get an idea, I just run with it—but all within the confines of structure. Whether it’s a budget, a time constraint, other resources, whatever, everything flows better with structure.
For the kiddos, it’s all about structure for everything they do: a consistent bedtime, a consistent sleep schedule, a consistent eating schedule, a limit on the amount of toys they have, and so on.
“I think too many people underemphasize the importance of structure and boundaries with children,” Jeremy said. “They thrive under boundaries. Children who have fewer boundaries have higher levels of anxiety than those who don’t. When you have a younger child, they don’t really know what’s okay and what’s not. So, imagine you as an adult not knowing what was okay at all: ‘I don’t know how I should or shouldn’t spend my money,’ ‘I don’t know what I should or shouldn’t say,’ ‘I don’t know where I should or shouldn’t go.’ You’re having to make all of these decisions on something you don’t know anything about. Now shrink that down to a young kid. Talk about heightened levels of anxiety! They HAVE TO have boundaries. Structure is massive.”
It’s our job as parents—not friends—to help our children biblically and even socially as we build in those limits.
The Easy Way isn’t Always the Better
Another huge debate nowadays is screen time… yup, I mean when the kids start acting up, or if they need to be distracted, it seems that the first thing a parent says is, “Here’s my phone/iPad.”
Erica mentioned, “I’ve been guilty of it for sure. I definitely notice that whenever we get into these seasons of more screen time, they act more out of character. Typically, their frustration goes up, their anxiety goes up, their interaction with one another and with myself is very short. It’s just more tense. It’s easy to say, ‘Here’s my app,’ and ‘Here’s my phone.’ But I think that’s when you need to realize what’s better long term, because THIS is a short-term fix.”
“There’s plenty of scientific data out there to prove the effects of too much screen time in children. It’s important to realize what it does to your children developmentally,” Jeremy responded. “Our kids have a scheduled time. They already know. And it’s so tricky for us even as adults. You get sucked into this virtual world and then all of a sudden you’re living this fake world through other people’s lives. It just does something to you. It almost becomes an addiction.”
You have to be aware of your kids.
You have to SEE them. And I’m not talking about your eyeballs, I mean you need to open your understanding to what’s happening and why they may be behaving a certain way.
Even in our own marriages, it’s important to keep our eyes on our spouse. SEE them. SEE what’s going on in their minds.
So many people are married, but many are emotionally divorced. They’re no more present than the mailman is, and they do that with their spouse and with their children. They’re just not there. They’re not paying attention. So, it may always be easier to say, “Here, take this and stop talking to me.” But what is that telling your kid?
You’re Never Alone!
If you’re one of those parents out there struggling with any of these topics, there are resources available on our website, and we’re also involved with themoneycouple.com.
I encourage you guys to find some successful, encouraging couples, find resources online, find whatever it is and get that advice. Seek counsel.
There’s books. There’s pediatricians. There’s churches. There are other people out there that are happy to help. There are people who have been there who are able to give real life advice. And we always hope to somehow do that for each of you here through The Millionaire Marriage.
Thanks again for joining us this week. Keep checking back to hear more of our podcasts, or if you’re more of a reader, find our other blog posts! Until next time!