Noel is a troubled teenager, even though his parents provide everything he needs. He is always getting into fights and his teachers have only bad reports about him.
So it came as a shock to his parents when, during a spiritual counselling session, it was revealed that his father’s absence at home was the catalyst of his behaviour. “For more than five years I only see Daddy on Sundays, because he comes back late in the night,” he said. “And when I see him, he doesn’t talk to me. He shouts out instructions.”
Asked for an opinion, Daddy said that he cannot come home earlier because there is nothing to bind him to Mummy anymore, except the children.
It is almost impossible to quantify love but when the babies start coming a woman will find that she loves her children to the exclusion of everything else.
Hope Nankunda, a counsellor with Healing Talk Counselling Services, says as women, we are created with the mothering instinct.
“Every woman treats her husband as the first born in the home. You do everything for him just as you would do it for your child. But when the child actually comes, a difference sets in.”
The bond a woman has with her child, which starts from the moment of conception is too strong. “A woman’s love for her husband is multi-dimensional,” says Nankunda. “He is your friend, your lover, your business partner and your co-parent. Your love may not be unconditional especially if he has affairs.” On the other hand, parenting has a common denominator – unconditional love for your children.
It’s a balancing act
A child’s needs are often urgent and immediate. When they are younger parents find that they must sacrifice comfort, sleep and their own plans to respond to the child first.
Nankunda maintains that it is the mother’s responsibility to stabilise her love for each member of the family. “They must create time for their husbands. If you know that the baby wakes up at 6am, then wake up an hour earlier to prepare your husband’s breakfast.”
Effects of not balancing
Do not neglect your spouse. If a marriage is not working, it has a profound impact on the children since they get their self-esteem from a stable home.
Nankunda adds that “spousal cheating is a consequence of one feeling inadequately loved in the relationship.”
“A father’s love is very important to the self-esteem of a girl child and is connected to the love the mother offers to him. If it is lacking, then his love will also be lukewarm.”
Feelings of resentment will fester in your spouse if you are not good at balancing that love when the first born child comes along. Of course, a father loves his children but these feelings are often counter balanced with the need to be the centre of his wife’s world.
Maintaining your spouse’s love
With time, the children will grow up and leave home to start their own lives. At the end of the day, it will only be the two of you. You need to start nurturing your marriage now to enjoy the fruits in old age.
• Tell your husband that you love him daily or show it in your actions
• Find time to get away just the two of you, at least, once a month or have weekly dates
• Describe to him the things that he can do for the children that please you happy
SOURCE: Daily Monitor