by Jan Smith, Homeschool Louisiana
One of the most important things a parent can do is to love their spouse. It will provide a home that is secure and gives glory to God above. Our society is filled with temptations and distractions that can keep us from loving one another, producing more and more divorce, even among homeschooling families. We must be committed to preserving the feeling of being one, so both husband and wife feel loved. Loving our spouse is a high calling, honoring to God and essential to our children’s well-being.
When I was a young mother with three little children, I found my marriage to be in a very unhappy state. My husband was in medical residency, we had little money, and he had no reserve energy, physical or emotional, after the grueling days and overnight duties of in-hospital call.
In my distress, I sought counsel from an older woman, confessing feelings of being trapped in a situation that couldn’t be changed. Thankfully she had the wisdom to tell me that God did not owe me a happy marriage. “You have been bought with a price by your Savior who gave His life for you. Therefore, you need to honor God with your life.”
My mentor challenged me to become the most amazing woman I could be as I yielded my heart and soul to God, trusting Him to eventually produce a change in my circumstances. Though it often felt like I was just grinding out obedience, thankfully God gave me the grace to obey the truth of the Word of God that resonated within me. And He worked in me the faith to believe that better days would eventually come.
It didn’t happen immediately, but as residency ended and we added our fourth child, the demands on my husband, Roger, lessened. The early days of establishing his medical practice continued to be demanding, but God began to turn Roger’s heart towards both me and our children. The love we had once known, bloomed again, and the warmth between us returned.
As in my marriage, God can do the miraculous for you, but it probably won’t be overnight. Regardless of your level of marital happiness, consider these ideas for keeping your marriage a top priority as you homeschool your children.
Wives, respect your husband. When he is in error, do not correct him in public. Ask his opinion about decisions with the children. Believe in him and his ability to succeed in his work, as well as in his interaction with the kids. Ask your husband if there are any ways that he may feel disrespected by you. His answers might surprise you.
Husbands, cherish your wives. Find out what things she most wants from you and seek to genuinely do those things. Some key changes may be as simple as saying “thank you,” or bathing the children. It may be listening to her about the ups and downs of her day without offering suggestions or solutions. You must find out what she needs, and she might only tell you if you ask (and then pause to listen).
Practice believing the best of each other’s intentions. Help each other succeed in fulfilling the needs of the family. In front of the children, be united! Don’t let them pit you against each other.
Make time and energy to stay connected physically. Let’s face it. Being a homeschool mom and a parent working a long day is draining. But oneness and happiness in a marriage includes a nurtured sexual connection.
Talk to one another about things that are most important to you and not just the next day’s schedule. Connecting through talking together does not have to be an expensive date night. It can be simple but intentional, such as sitting outside in lawn chairs to look at the stars or a full moon, and remembering what qualities caused you to want to marry one another. Keep a gratitude journal of what you are thankful for in your spouse and review the list when you get frustrated with one another.
Marriage is something that can be a source of great joy, or much heartache. Take steps to keep your connection strong. Rebuild little by little with what you can do to make it stronger if the connection is weak.
Loving your spouse! It’s one of the most important things you can do to love your children.
Jan and her husband, Roger, hail from Louisiana where Roger is a medical doctor, and Jan manages their horse farm and businesses. All four of their adult children were homeschooled until the college years. Their homeschool journey began in 1989 when there were only 2 other families homeschooling in their town. Jan began a three-family organization that has grown through the years. The statewide homeschool conference was an annual lifeline for she and her husband, who decided to start giving back after they finished their service on the NCFCA board in 2011. Along with serving on the board of Homeschool Louisiana, the Smiths speak and mentor on the topics of parenting, marriage, education, and leadership.