Truth #4: Having kids will NOT make you a happy couple

I’ve heard some people (mostly women) say they got pregnant in part because they thought having kids together would improve their marriage. She thinks, “having a baby will be so wonderful and amazing that it will bring us closer together and the problems and poor communication we have will simply fade away in the light of the beautiful little life we created.” Or something to that effect.

Although I’ll admit this is a nice thought, it is completely wrong. Having a child together as a married couple is an incredible experience that will make you marvel at the miracle of life and seeing your spouse as a parent is definitely attractive—at least initially.

But the truth is children have an uncanny way of bringing out both the best and the worst in us.

Listen men, at one time—even within the same hour—your beautiful wife can be the most loving, kind, gentle mommy that you’ve ever seen and then suddenly have to bust out her mean “Batman voice” to get your crazy 4-year old’s attention. Maybe you call it something else in your house, but whatever name you choose doesn’t matter; as a grown man it will still give you chills.

Women, your husband will be transformed from your strong sexy man into a baby-holding, puke-catching, I’m-glad-you’re-home-here’s-your-kid, silly-dancing, fart-noise-making, monkey-face entertainer-man. You will still tell him you can’t wait until he gets home, but it will be for much less romantic reasons. You will marvel at his uncanny ability to sleep through even the loudest of crying-child sounds, to your disgust.

Some days will be worse than others, but especially when your children are young neither of you will be the best version of yourselves. But if you survive parenthood, you will end up better people for it.

Its kind of like having a near-death experience but not dying; your life flashes before your eyes and you suddenly realize all you used to have that you took for granted and swear to change for the better.

The truth is, I love having kids. They are amazing and some days I can’t believe I get to be their dad and have the privilege of helping them grow up. I don’t take this position of responsibility lightly and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

But having kids has put significantly more stress on our marriage, especially since having a second one.

My son is almost five and my daughter will turn two in a few months and sometimes the challenges of parenting are almost too much to handle. Sometimes it feels like I traded in my wife for a mommy instead; but that’s why I have to work to remind myself and my wife that we are still more than just parents. Of course, parenting is still relatively new to us and our kids occupy much of our time and thoughts, but that’s not all we are meant to be.

It takes consistent, intentional work to make time for each other in the midst of the chaos of parenting to just be together as husband and wife. It will take effort, planning, and even a little bit of money, but you can maintain and even improve your marriage after having children. But remember that its not automatic; parenthood can knock you down and tear you apart as a couple only if you let it.

Question: How can couples with young kids find ways to spend time together as a couple?

Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below, on Facebook, or send me an email.

This post is an installment in the series The Truth About Marriage. To read more, start here

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For the Weary…and the Busy

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

Do you ever feel weary or like you’re carrying a heavy burden? Do you ever feel like you’re at that point where you just might fall apart?

I’ve been there before. With two young, active kids at home, me and my wife are exhausted more often than not. Sometimes it seems like everything that could go wrong does—the kids are sick, the house needs cleaned, the cars need fixed, I had a bad day at work and I come home to find one more thing that broke that I can’t afford to pay someone else to fix and then my son decides to throw a tantrum over nothing.

If this was one unique, happens-every-now-and-then kind of day it might be more bearable.

But its more of a normal day that happens over and over again with only a few details changing.

When one day is tough and drains my energy, it usually runs into the next day which in turn starts out on the wrong foot as well. Then that day does the same thing to the next day. And the day after that.

Of course not all days are exactly the same and they are not all ridden with crises—but when I allow the bad days to knock me down and affect the attitude of my heart, even the good days can get tainted by it.

I recently asked my wife what she wanted to do for her birthday. She thought about it and responded that she would really like to check into a hotel room, even for just one night.

Of course I was intrigued at first, until she clarified that she would like to do this alone—by herself, no kids, no husband, no expectations. She just wants to get a break from the daily grind and the occasionally-controlled chaos that is our lives. She just wants to watch TV, then go to sleep without interruptions.

I often feel this way as well; I just need a break and some rest. But I rarely find it.

Jesus invites us to come to him, especially when we are weary, with heavy burdens. He says he will give us rest—that is, rest for our souls.

The phrase take my yoke upon you refers to two oxen being connecting together by a common yoke—they would carry or pull their heavy load together.

Jesus is saying that he wants to help you carry your burdens. He wants to teach you and guide you and give you rest in your relationship with Him.

You need only to take the step of coming to Him.

I’ve had a relationship with Jesus most of my life, but I often get caught up in my mess and forget that he doesn’t want me to be anxious, overwhelmed, and exhausted. He wants me to lay my burdens on Him; to rely on Him to guide and teach me and to give me real rest that lasts.

In what ways can you come to Jesus to find rest?  Share your thoughts, you never know who might need to hear them.

Comment below or share on Facebook.

Confessions…

I have a confession to make: I’m not an expert. I know that might come as a shock to you since I have sooo many followers and you’ve probably heard a lot about me in the news (or not 😉), but the truth is, I’m not.

Me and my lovely wife, Abby; Niagra Falls, April 2016.
Me and my lovely wife, Abby; Niagra Falls, April 2016.

I’m just an average guy working an average job trying to raise my kids to hopefully be more than average someday. I’m just a person with more hopes and dreams than money or talent; I’m a guy that feels more often stuck in a rut than relevant and fulfilled. I have struggles and fears and doubts. But I’m daring to do more than just dream; I’m daring to step out and write a different story for my life and for my family. I want to be better than average; I want to excel at what I do and exceed my goals. I want to make an impact on the world and help change people’s lives.

I don’t know if any of this sounds familiar to you, but if it does I encourage you to stick around. My “big idea” with this blog/website is to build a platform through which I can connect with people like you, offering hope, guidance, and motivation: that is, hope for a better life, guidance on which direction to choose for your life, and motivation to overcome your fears and doubts to take the necessary next steps to make it happen. Personally, I have constantly struggled with discouragement and self-doubt; no matter what I do it seems to follow me and I’ve found myself giving up on my dreams before I’ve really even started. For a long time I have looked for and often found encouragement and support from other people. I’ve had good friends who would listen for hours over meals or coffee; pastors have given me wise counsel to commit every part of my life to God in prayer, and the Lord knows my wife has heard and considered more than her fair share of big ideas and plans, work struggles, fears and doubts, and identity crises. While good friends, pastors, and spouses are all great to have around, I’ve decided that in order to stay motivated and encouraged, I need to serve others in the ways that I need to be served. Of course I cannot give what I do not possess, so it is my goal to continually seek out ideas, tools, resources, and stories that will encourage and inspire me, allowing me to pass that along to you. I get tremendous satisfaction out of teaching and encouraging others and that is exactly what I aim to do with tylerjbrooks.com and related content. Please let me know how I can help you.

That’s it, my first post! Please check out my ‘About‘ page if you haven’t already, sign up for my email list, and feel free to connect with me by email or on Facebook.

If you’re a new reader, please take a minute to introduce yourself, tell me ONE big idea/dream/business/goal that you would like to at least start on THIS year. Send me an email tylerjbrooks.writer@gmail.com  or comment below or on Facebook