As many married couples know, having children can take a toll on your marriage. It may completely change your relationship and force you to rethink the way you thought your marriage would go. However, once you make the necessary adjustments, you can create a deeper connection and intimacy level with your partner, in a way you hadn’t thought possible before. Being intentional is key, this only happens if you’re both willing to put in the work, and fight for each other at times.
Perhaps you’re already married with kids, and start your journey in foster care. It can quickly become overwhelming, with even more housework and children to care for than you’re used to. For a while, your focus will shift to the new children you’ve vowed to take care of- which is to be expected. But, you may forget to check in with your partner and assess your relationship with each other and how it’s doing. This is something many people don’t stay on top of when they start foster care.
The most important thing to do is to make sure that foster care is not the center of your marriage. Prioritize alone time, where the two of you can bond over your own interests outside of your children. If possible, have a regularly scheduled date night every week so that it becomes part of the family’s schedule, and the children will understand they’ll have a babysitter that night.
Putting your marriage first is the key for a successful family, for both biological and foster children. If you have a strong, loving relationship with your partner, then that directly translates into your family life and how you care for your kids. When your relationship is healthy, the kids will notice. Not only does it directly affect their wellbeing presently, but also sets an example for what a healthy relationship, for when they start building their own relationships. If your marriage is broken, you may be damaging these children in unknown ways, that may affect them throughout their whole life. You are your children’s biggest role model.
All in all, don’t feel guilty for needing some time away with your partner. This is simply an important part of your mission in foster care and is vital to your wellbeing, as well as the kids. Hire a babysitter! As they always say, continue to date your spouse. Continually get to know them and their struggles aside from being a parent. Lastly, remember to pray together regularly and keep Jesus at the center of your relationship. He brings hope, compassion, kindness, and patience – He is love and will give you the strength to keep fighting.