10 Signs of a Child-Centered Marriage

Are you living in a child centered marriage? There are some clear signs and symptoms that might be pointing to your relationship focus being out of whack, but there is also great hope for a remedy and renewal! Take a little inventory with your spouse today and get ready to make positive changes for your marriage and your whole family!

All of us struggle to balance marriage and family. I know we did when our kiddos first came along and continue to do so. As they have gotten older and our schedules have become more crowded, it has become even more difficult at times to keep our love alive while also raising a family. We very much believe our kids are profound blessings that join us on the journey. But the danger is when our relationship with our spouse takes a backseat and we slip into a Child-centered marriage.

So what are the warning signs of a marriage that revolves too much around our kids, leaving little time to cultivate the relationship between a husband and wife? The following are ten questions that can help you and your spouse identify if you are in danger of getting out of balance in your marriage and family.

  1. Do you often feel too busy, overcommitted, or worn-out because of your child’s activities?
  2. Do you ever feel like your children have too few responsibilities because you and your spouse are doing it all?
  3. Do you and your spouse struggle to find time for date nights solely because of your child’s activities?
  4. Do the two of you find it difficult to make time to go away for a weekend (without the kids) only because of your child’s schedule?
  5. Has your physical intimacy lost some of the passion and romance because you have given your all to your children’s priorities so that you feel too tired, busy, distracted, or just not interested in engaging with your spouse?
  6. Do you ever feel your needs and desires are neglected because of the attention your spouse gives to your child and not to you?
  7. Do you ever feel surrounded by your family but lonely in your marriage?
  8. Do you ever feel like all of your communication with your spouse is about the kids instead of one another?
  9. Are you unable to ever go on family vacations because of a child’s sports or other activities?
  10. Do you ever feel like your child’s wants and desires are charting the course for your family instead of you and your spouse?

So how did you do? What areas do you and your spouse struggle with the most? If you answered “yes,” to five or more questions you are experiencing a child-centered marriage. If you answered “yes,” to three or four questions you are in danger of becoming a child-centered marriage and family.

Now it is time to discuss your results with your spouse! We pray this time of reflection will help you cultivate a healthier balance in your marriage and family!


Patrick Schwenk

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  1. 1 – YES
    2 – Not applicable; our son is 4 years old, too young to have any responsibilities
    3 – YES; for me. (My wife doesn’t care.)
    4 – YES; for me. (My wife doesn’t care.)
    5 – YES
    6 – YES
    7 – YES
    8 – YES
    9 – No, but the vacations consist only of the child’s activities and not of any joint relaxation.
    10 – YES

    I guess it’s clear that my marriage is severely child-centered.

    My wife is always stressed, and always busy with our son. I think she is overly caring. She cannot relax, and as a result is always tired. And she is always telling me what to do, because she’s he one who sets the standards.

    So I get truckloads of work, no decisions to make, and no time with my wife. This feels more like a job than a relationship, and I feel I cannot handle this much longer.

    The advice ‘discuss it with your spouse’ is good (and I’ve heard this already from many friends). But an additional problem is that my wife doesn’t want to talk about this problem. According to her, there’s simply no room to make time for our relationship, and that’s it.

    I feel I cannot go on much longer like this. I’m pretty desperate. What should I do?

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