Secret to a Happy Family

Cathy

Nurturing Home Newsletter
The Nurturer’s Secret to a Happy Family

May, 2006

Secrets to A Happy Family

Family In YardWhy is the nurturing role so important to the long- term success of a marriage and family? When a husband is nurtured, his emotional needs are met, and he has a partner in the constant struggle to maintain a healthy self-esteem and sense of self worth. When children are nurtured, they grow up to become considerate, successful adult team members. In an ideal family model, there is a protector/provider who puts the food on the table, and a nurturer who supplies the emotional needs of each family member, with a focus on their long-term success in life.

Why Infidelity Exists

Couple At BeachWhy does infidelity exist in many marriages? Because one or both marital partners do not feel that the relationship meets their needs, emotionally or otherwise. The wandering spouse will usually gravitate toward a nurturer who is perceived by them to care about them and will meet their needs. In truth, I believe that the divorce rate would be far lower if nurturing were restored to marriages and families.

When I was growing up, my mother and father always insisted that we go to bed at 8 pm, and later 9 pm, so they could have time alone together. We did not have to go to bed at that time, but we had to stay in our rooms. We could play games, read books, but we could not bother our parents. We understood just as we had our time with them, that this was their time and we were not to encroach on it unless there was an emergency.

A few months ago, I watched an Oprah show where husbands and fathers complained that their wives spent all their time and energy on the children, and that there was none left over for them. Sadly enough, many of these marriages end in divorce once the kids grow up and leave home. When you hear “We became like two strangers,” this is generally the result of a marriage where all the time and attention were spent on the children, and none on the marriage.

Balancing Marriage and Children

Lucas at Age 3The best thing that you can give your kids besides love and attention is a good example – a good example of a happy, well-running marriage with two happy, fulfilled partners, and a happy, cheerful nurturer who wears her hat with pride. The children will not suffer from time well spent nurturing your partner. In fact, they will grow in security and self- confidence as part of a healthy family dynamic. The successful nurturer is a choreographer of the household, dividing up the household chores so that each family member has chores to complete that contribute to the smooth running of the household. When our son was three years old, we assigned him the task of cleaning the main bathroom. We stripped him down to his underwear, gave him a bottle of non- toxic dish soap with a sponge and showed him how to clean. When he told us that he was finished, we showed him how to wash away the soapsuds and praised him for a job well done, no matter how it came out. If the cleaning job needed some help, we would wait until he had gone to bed before we made any adjustments. We never criticized his work, but sometimes in an instructional way, would show him how to do a better job. Over time, he became a wonderful bathroom cleaner, and graduated to doing the dishes, cleaning the house (for pay), doing the laundry (for pay) and learning to cook meals. We decided how much money we were willing to pay for each additional job he willingly took on and how much was reasonable to pay him as an apprentice. At the end of the day, we were happy to be teaching him the life skills necessary to be successful on his own, and he was happy to be earning some money as a willing pupil. Even today, he willingly works for us and with us doing jobs that we need done around the house and the yard.

Though the raising of children is an important job, there should be a balance between time and energy spent on the children, time and energy spent on the marital relationship, as well as time and energy spent on activities (and with girlfriends) that recharge the batteries of the nurturer. If you feel that you are too tired and burned out to spend time on yourself or on your marriage, then you need to rethink your activity level and your priorities.

As a small boy, our son was taught that there was “family time,” “Lucas time” “Mommy time,” and “Mommy and Daddy time.” We always had family time on Sundays, when we would often go on an outing or take a drive somewhere for a picnic. Saturday nights were our date nights, and we would arrange for Lucas to either go to a babysitter, or to spend the night with one of his friends. “Lucas time” occurred after dinner or before bedtime, when we would read books, play games, or watch movies. As Lucas got older, “Lucas time” became movies, outings, or lunches out. Our family time became snorkeling trips, hikes, dinners out, outings, and trips to the beach. Our date nights, which we have maintained throughout our marriage, have given us the opportunity to reconnect as marital partners and helped us to stay on the same page as far as future plans and goals. Though our marriage has not been all sunshine and roses, because we have maintained open communication and nurturing for each other, we have made it through the tough times, have stayed a united team, and our love continues to grow as the years go by.

Take a look at how balanced your family is.

  • Do you divide your time between children, spouse, and family evenly?
  • Do you spend most of your time and energy on your kids to the detriment of yourself and your marriage?
  • How many activities are your children involved in that require your chauffeur services?
  • How many of their activities will be important to them as adults and how many activities should not be pursued?

It is up to you to determine their importance and relevance in proportion to the time spent schlepping them from place to place. Children need some idle time to dream, to create, and to expand their imagination. Many parents pack their kids’ schedules too tight for any of this to occur, then wonder why their kids suffer from burn-out. As you answer these questions, you will begin to see where you can make improvements in creating the nurturing balance that is so vital to the success and fulfillment of your marriage and family.

How do you create a healthy happy family?

  • Spend your time in balance, nurturing yourself, nurturing your spouse, and then nurturing your kids.
  • Make sure that each family member is assigned chores that contribute to the smooth running of the household.
  • Make sure that your kids learn the household skills that will enable them to live on their own as adults by doing them at home.
  • Give love, attention, and open communication to each family member.
  • Spend some time each day or week doing something you love that recharges your batteries, and you will be happy and fulfilled, and so will your family!