The last couple of times I’ve taken my daughter to the park, I’ve noticed a sad new reality. In the midst of the swings, slides, and teeter totters are parents with broken hearts. My husband and I noticed it last week when we observed that two out of the five families represented, were no longer playing together. A mother arrives with her child. They are having fun, playing and laughing until a few minutes later when the child squeals with excitement, “Daddy, daddy!” It is in that instant we knew if their marriage is still strong and kicking or if it broken. In this instance, the mom’s face became cool and withdrawn as she went to sit on a bench and use the time to make some phone calls during the father-child reunion.
Now you know they never intended for this to happen. At one point they probably made their plans for the park together with excitement. When she was pregnant they would walk by the swings and dream out loud together of the plans to play with their future ball player or cheerleader. Then later they may have languished over whether they had her dressed warm enough, had on the right strength of sunscreen, or debated if it was time to graduate the youngster from the bucket swing. They loved each other and their new family. They played together. They were a team. But at some point, little by little, that team dissolved. They went from loving each other and creating a family and a life together to not even greeting one another at the playground. Now they are left with the conundrum of each parent playing on a different team but sharing a common player–the child.
My husband and I scooted a little closer on the bench when we realized what was happening at the park that day. He squeezed my hand as we both promised to never allow that to happen to us. We are both very aware that no marriage is immune to the sad possibility of divorce but we are committed to erasing the word from our vocabulary with one another. We are dedicated to meeting struggles and challenges from a united front. We know that we serve a mighty God and that with His help, all things are possible including a lifelong marriage.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and discuss with your spouse:
- Does my spouse know that I support him and have his best interest at heart?
- Do we prioritize “play” as a couple? Date nights, dreaming together, physical intimacy, etc.
- Would our children say we are on the same team or that we seem to play against each other?
Mark 3:25 says: “If a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand.”