Those hectic days of marriage preparation - though vitally important and uplifting – can sometimes distract couples from reflecting on what it might be like for them after they marry. Yet, many couples will by this stage, have laid out a roadmap as to how they see themselves within married life. For some, this may include making financial sacrifices in the early years in order to achieve greater financial security later. For others in married life this may entail a greater emphasis on travel and shared adventure in the early days. But some couples will have their heart set on becoming parents and raising a family. Some of you who are preparing for marriage are perhaps in the happy position your relationship has already been blessed with children.
The decision to bring children into the world is undoubtedly one of the greatest decisions you will ever make in life. It’s an awesome decision for couples, but an amazingly rewarding one. It’s also a decision you can never change because as long as you live you will continue to be parents.
Similar to many aspects of life, there are stages in parenthood within which parents grow and evolve through love. Your greatest responsibility lies in letting your child know he/she is constantly loved and supported through life. Parenting requires endless understanding, patience, wisdom, dedication and, above all, sacrifices of self and time. In a happy home it has the power to unite couples in love, closeness, understanding and harmony. But unless couples clearly define their roles and responsibilities, it can also cause dissension, resentment and argument, particularly if one parent feels she/he is carrying an unfair burden of care. Equally, one partner may feel shut out if the other monopolises control of parenthood. Sometimes grandparents, being wonderfully available and generous, can appear to take over the responsibility of rearing the baby, with the result one parent may become distant, irritated or jealous.
Parenthood can impose many restrictions on careers, travel, personal freedoms and social activities. And while couples may find it immensely pleasurable buying baby’s first shoes, a unity of dedication is required in meeting children’s emotional, psychological, social and financial needs through life.
It’s vitally important that both mothers and fathers recognise their respective roles of responsibility and care in parenting. In this respect, couples primarily need to discuss and agree their approach to parenting. While the role of the mother has always occupied a role of primary importance in Irish life, sometimes the role of the father has been diminished, misunderstood and neglected. Various studies in recent years have affirmed the positive impact of an actively involved father in the emotional well-being of the developing child.
Exercise: Discuss with each other the kind of parents you would wish to be. What are the essential values each of you would lay out? How would you see your roles developing as parents?
For Your Information:
The Accord marriage preparation course, “Marriage – A Journey Not a Destination” offers couples the opportunity to reflect on their unique relationship and discuss topics which are important in their lives. Taking time to explore such topics, in private, can result in couples gaining a better understanding of themselves and their fiancé and this can have a very positive impact both on their relationship and future together.
For further information visit: http://www.accord.ie