What guidance does the Bible provide?
The Bible has a lot to say about marriage. The principles of marriage stay the same from year one to year fifty, and the only thing that changes is what is going on around you. God designed marriage to be between one woman and one man, and that the two should become one flesh (Genesis 2). The union of marriage is a representation of the union between Jesus Christ and the Church. We see in Ephesians 5 that men are to lead their wives, just like Christ leads the church; while women support and encourage their husbands, just like the church supports the mission of God. Marriage should be sacrificial and life-giving. Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 13 about love, and many ways that we should strive to love in a marriage relationship. As your marriage grows and develops, you should be growing closer to your partner by growing closer to the Lord together. As each of you draws closer to the Lord, you will strengthen your marriage and your family.
Things to think about:
Congratulations! You have made it this far! Your children are now teenagers, and you are at the stage of marriage where it starts to feel like you are dating again. When you have children that are teens you now have a little bit more flexibility in your life again. The great thing about teens is that they are more self-sufficient. Part of having a great marriage with teenagers means being a great parent to teenagers. During the teenage years, the calendar can get full fast, and you can feel like a shuttle service and not a parent. If possible, try to go to events with your spouse, and imagine that you are just on a date to a sporting event or whatever the event might be. The key is not to feel like roommates, but to be dating your spouse. Also, spend quality time together as a family regularly. Whether that is cooking dinner together, having a family game night, going on vacation, spending time outside, or whatever that looks like for your family. Remember that your children don't stay children, they grow up to be adults. So spend time strengthening your relationship with them so that it lasts beyond into the adult years.
What do I do now?
When you had children, at first, you were just trying to stay alive and raise the kids well. Once the children become teenagers, it can feel like you are just driving them to places, and putting out fires. At the same time, teens begin expressing and needing more independence, and it allows you to go out on dates again. You no longer have to worry about babysitters or bedtimes, and can focus again on each other. Now there are no groundbreaking ideas on how to re-energize your marriage. It is so easy to forget why you married your spouse in the first place, and why you love each other. So it is so important to go back to the basics. Just like when we hear the Gospel, the Gospel doesn't change, but we can never hear it too much because it has the power to change lives. The basics are never a bad thing in marriage because they are the foundation of the strength and health of your marriage. Here are some great things to do to strengthen your marriage and reconnect:
- Have regular date nights
- Have regular sex
- Join your spouse in one of their hobbies
- Do a bible study together
- Become more invested in your church
- Spend time connecting with friends
- Surprise each other!
- Remind yourself daily why you love that person and decided to marry them
This can be a great season of marriage, but like any season, it still requires some work. So get out there and have a great marriage!
Want to go deeper?
Nurturing Your Marriage - Christian article about nurturing your marriage after kids.
Tips on a Great Marriage with Kids - Personal article from a mom with kids
Marriage You Have Always Wanted - A Bible study workbook for couples to go through together.
Finding Common Interests - Focus on the Family article about helping spouses reconnect through their interests.