When Your Kids Interrupt Your Marriage
Photo by Eric Smoldt Photography
For the love.
I had been trying to talk to my husband for roughly 20 minutes – and if it were only the two of us, this conversation would have been started and finished about 15 minutes prior.
At one point, I realized someone who doesn’t know me and was listening might think I had Tourrette’s Syndrome.
Me to Jason: So, what were you saying?
Child #2 (barges into the scene): Sissy said blah-blah-blah-blah . . .
Me to Child #2: Samuel, really? Get upstairs and pick-up your room before bath.
Jason to Me: Yeah, so I don’t mind if you want to go run in the morning then . . .
Child #3: (barges into the scene) Mama, when’s dessert? (Of which I only said about five times during dinner)
Me to Child #3: After bath. Now go clean your room.
Me to Jason: That would be awesome if you could . . .
Child #1 (barges into the scene): MOOOOOOOMMM! The boys are making fun of me . . .
And then it happened.
“Everyone get out of the kitchen. NOW. GO!”
It was a calm, but booming voice that meant business.
“I need to talk to your mother,” the voice repeated. “And she’s the priority right now.”
My husband is a bit like EF Hutton. When he speaks, we listen. And it’s not in a militant-we’re-scared-of-him kind of way but in a way in which we know he means business if his voice raises even the slightest decibel and booms that “I’m not messing around” tone through the air.
You get Jason to this point and you better walk your tightrope carefully.
When they listened and did what they were told to do about ten minutes prior, there was quiet. We finished the conversation and we actually communicated and made a plan for the following day that made me want to yell “Go Team Snapp!”
Because that’s what marriage is. A team.
But teammates have to communicate with each other or no one knows what’s going on when it’s game-time.
Yet teammates can’t communicate well when they are being interrupted every 30 seconds. Or every 5 seconds.
Someone has to throw-out the penalty flag and lay-down the law or eventually, you’ll quit trying to formulate a game-plan.
A few years ago, I remember reading an article about an author (whose name I can’t remember) who had written something somewhere about how she loves her husband more than she loves her kids.
It isn’t that she doesn’t love her kids.
She just loves her husband more.
There was a public outcry. The poor woman was bashed to kingdom-come for suggesting such a thing.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve bought-in to the idea that we have to hover over our children and make them think the world is indeed all about them.
At some point, I allowed my children to continually step-in and interrupt a much-needed conversation I was having with their father – to the point where they thought this was the norm and didn’t even bat an eyelash when they saw the two of us speaking.
They knew I would stop talking to him and listen to them.
I cringe as I write these words because I see why he sometimes feels like he’s a lower priority than the dog.
I allow the interruptions – which is really communicating “This is a bigger priority.”
Those permissible interruptions tell my husband “I’ll get to you when I can,” and yet those times when I can often don’t happen.
I should also reiterate that I don’t believe in condemnation. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and there is no condemnation here.
But I know when I need to get better. For such a time as this.
One of these days, these kids won’t be interrupting us much. Heck, they probably won’t even be home half the time.
And I don’t want to look at my husband across the kitchen counters and feel like we’re separated by the Grand Canyon.
My Meemo calls these little things that chip away at a marriage termites.
Though it seems small, it’s precisely these termites that can eat away a relationship until the small stuff bands together and becomes big stuff.
So just for today, and hopefully tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that . . .
I will lean down, look my very-loved little people in the eyes and say . . .
“I’ll be with you soon. I’m talking to Daddy and right now, he’s my priority.”
Anyone else with me on this? Can I get an amen?