Kids and Marriage – What Were We Thinking?

There are some things in life that seem like a good idea at the time, but later cause you to ask, “What was I thinking?”

Maybe it was that person who seemed so good on the first couple of dates that later left you asking, “What was I thinking?” Maybe it was training for that half marathon that caused you to say, “What was I thinking?” Or maybe it was that job change that looked good on paper, but left you wondering, “What was I thinking?” (For more ideas, take a look at your high school yearbook pictures.)

Having kids can be one of those things that seems like a good idea at the time, but can leave you wondering, “What was I thinking?”

Now before you think I hate my kids and start firing negative comments my way, let me explain.

None of us really know what we’re getting into when we decide to have kids. We think we do. We think things like:

  • We know we’re ready for kids.
  • We know how we will raise our kids.
  • We will always feel much love for our kids.
  • Raising kids will draw my spouse and I together.
  • If we raise our kids well, they will turn out well.
  • We know just how it will feel when our kids leave the nest.

We think these things, but the process of actually raising our kids challenges those assumptions and leaves us wondering, “What were we thinking?”

No matter what you might have thought about marriage and parenting, there is one thing I can assure you – kids will stretch, strain, and test your marriage.

Don’t get me wrong, Psalm 127:3-5 tells us that kids are a blessing, but often they bless you in unexpected ways, like…

  • Leading you to work together.
  • Calling you to sacrifice for one another.
  • Forcing you to reconcile different views and standards.
  • Helping you see the importance of putting your marriage first…even ahead of your kids.
  • Challenging you to live for someone or something other than yourself.

As I said, kids are a blessing to a marriage, but often when we’re thinking about having kids, we’re thinking more about the blessings than the challenges. (Maybe that’s God’s way of keeping us from backing out.)

I don’t know what you were thinking when you said, “Let’s have kids?” But I have an idea what God was thinking. I picture God saying, “I’m going to make them parents so that they can help their kids grow into mature, responsible, loving adults. And in the process, I’ll use the kids to grow the parents into mature, responsible, loving adults. It’s a win/win!”

Take heart. Aggravation and frustration are a normal part of parenting. And if you occasionally find yourself wondering, “What was I thinking?,” it doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids. It means you’re growing with them.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced having kids? What advice would you give someone who was thinking about having kids? Let’s start that conversation.

Copyright © 2016 Bret Legg

4 thoughts on “Kids and Marriage – What Were We Thinking?”

  1. If you’re not happy, satisfied, and content before you marry (or have children) you will be even LESS so afterward. Marriage doesn’t “complete me”, it tasks me with completing someone else (by giving, sacrificing, and compromising). Having kids MUCH MORE SO isn’t for my well being-it is for theirs. Kids and bottomless pits of need. The first 18-30 years of parenting is attempting to meet those needs, desires, demands.
    Neither marriage nor parenthood should be entered with an expectation for gratification.
    Both should require a warning label.

    • Very good words. Couldn’t agree more. It’s like running a marathon…or so I’m told. It can be exhausting and painful, and you have to push through that to get to the goal. Thanks for the words.

  2. I’ve always asked why God says many times in the Bible that children are a blessing from him. I am finding out daily as I raise mine. First of all, they can manifest my weaknesses to a tee. I am their example and it is like “monkey see, monkey do.” So it holds me accountable for my actions toward them and ultimately toward others. They are my little sanctifiers in the flesh. They easily show their emotions so you know immediately how your words and actions affect them. This shows us how to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness. Second, if parents can get over their own selfish desires by serving someone else it shows us how to look beyond our circumstances to a bigger picture. God knew what he was doing when he created kids!

    • So true! I’ve often said that I’ve learned more about God from being a parent than I did from going to seminary. They are most definitely a tool God uses to shape and mature us. It’s just hard to see this before we have kids. A lot of times, we have to be in the thick of it before we realize our fatigue and frustration are a part of God sanding down our rough edges. Thanks for reading and commenting. Always love it when others join in the conversation. – Bret


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