Sheila has a most excellent post up titled, Your Husband Trumps Your Children. I highly recommend it to wives, and most especially wives to be. Here’s a teaser:
…because our love for our kids is so primal and so different, it’s easy to push our husbands out of the way and build our lives around our kids.
Don’t. Your kids don’t need you to be with them every single night. They would benefit from you taking a break and going on a date with your spouse. They would benefit from having their own room, so that you and your hubby can relax together in your bedroom. Your children will thrive when you learn how to resolve conflict with your husband, how to form a real team, and how to put him first.
After all, the Bible says that the husband and wife are one flesh, not the kids and the mom. They may come from us, but we are united with our husband, not our kids.
What most interested me about the post, however, was what inspired it. As a guest blogger on another site, Sheila wrote about making your bedroom a sacred (and private) place for you and your husband. A commenter immediately took her to task for suggesting such a thing, making it clear that she believes a child’s needs should come before a husband’s.
You all know enough about me to know that I don’t agree with that at all. It’s utter nonsense. Of course, Sheila is right. The marriage relationship is the primary relationship in the family. It’s the relationship on which everything else in built. However, does that mean that the children are automatically banished from the master bedroom? I’d love that to be my reality, but it isn’t. And sometimes it’s a challenge.
Before Lil’ Princess and Sweetie Pie were born, our oldest three kids were already in middle school, firmly entrenched in their own bedrooms on the other side of the house. We were in “the zone”, if you will. Our bedroom was our cozy, private space and we loved it. ‘We also spent a lot of time in our room just talking and catching up on each others day. Our communication really deepened during that time because while the kids were doing homework, we were talking to each other. Anyone with little ones appreciates the challenge of enjoying any private time when they’re awake.
The arrival of our two youngest changed the dynamic considerably. Nursing infants need close proximity and it just made sense to put the crib up against our bed so the baby could feed through the night without my having to roll out of bed and walk across the house every two hours. But they’re three and four years old now, and we’re still attempting to transition to making our bedroom OUR bedroom again.
They have their own room, with comfortable beds and inviting decor. Every night they start out in their room, in their beds. About midway through the night without fail, one of them makes the journey to our bedroom and climbs up into the bed. For a while, we accepted it. Then, we started getting up and walking them back over to their room.
That lasted all of about a month. We have now reached a tentative arrangement where they still end up in our room at 2 AM, and everyone gets some much needed sleep. We harbor no illusions that this is an ideal situation, but it’s working for now. They make their trek late enough into the night that our intimacy is not hindered, and they get the security of close proximity to Mom and Dad.
Additionally, I’ve read that in cultures with a far more healthy attitude towards sex than Westerners, little ones aren’t kicked out until they need their own sense of privacy. Not having lived outside of the U.S. I don’t know how true that is, but I wonder how that affects marriages. Given that most of the world doesn’t enjoy the luxury of four-bedroom houses, I imagine there must be some truth to it.
Question: How do you deal with the issue of kids in the master bedroom? Is the room totally off-limits? How young is too young to kick them out? How old is too old to let them stay? Thoughts?