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