Recently, some dear friends indulged me in conversation about love, romance and marriage. For these women, once they have children, their husbands no longer call to ask how they are doing. Their children are at the center. Oh, and they do have children. In their culture, bearing children is practically a requirement. Before children, (B.C.) she spent the majority of her time with her husband. But, children came, and the quality time with her husband diminished. I asked,
Don’t you miss the romance?
She swiftly responded,
Do you have kids?
There it is. She said it. The question that has plagued me since we have been married.
Uhh no. Well…not really. We had a son for awhile through foster care, but he’s no longer with us.
Foster care, what is that?
In a nutshell, I explained how many children and teenagers are struggling in Wisconsin, most of whom have inconsistent parenting. In most situations, one of the two parents are incarcerated, addicted to drugs, or have passed away. The children and teens are left homeless without anyone to watch over them. Often, their are multiple kids. In other situations, there is so much dysfunction that the children start acting out, and the parent(s) can no longer handle the behaviors on their own. It was one of those situations where the teen was in our care.
Afterwards, we sat there in quiet discontent. I felt like I was missing something…like fostering children and teens was not good enough because they were not my own. There were no misconceptions for these doubts came from previous conversations, and they now crept up into ours.
In regards to foster care, there are 245 kids in Wisconsin who are living in the care of foster or kinship homes. The majority of these kids without parents are teenagers. As licensed foster parents, we are opening our home to babies all the way up to teenagers – for the second time. In fact, within a week of returning from Kenya, social workers called about a potential referral for two kids under the age of two! Although we excitedly (and anxiously) said yes, the referral was withdrawn.
The day when we do have children, whether that be our own or from the foster care system, the love and romance will vanish… or will it? Yes, there is a certain death of this sweet romance. True, we have already grieved this death within our four years of marriage. Yet, sadness and grief can be replaced with another form of love. Without the joy and love that a child can bring, how can the honeymoon phase, which lasts for only a couple of years tops, be transformed into something new?
As a vessel of God’s love, John shows his love through acts of service now, like providing financial stability, doing laundry, and grocery shopping. The simple question of, “What would you like for your birthday?” Even though it is a few weeks away, shows me that he is thoughtfully approaching my birthday.
Romance dissipates into thin air, but this romantic love is transformed into a different type of love. People want to be loved, and even with having children as their focus, an individual needs love that children alone cannot provide. We need God’s unconditional love.
The best books I have read on the different types of love is Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages and C.S. Lewis’s The Four Loves. Within Chapman’s book, there is a quiz (which can now be done online) which indicates the love language you speak the most. Is it quality time? Gifts? Words Of Affirmation?
There are a few different quizzes, check it out below:
In case you are curious, here are the results of my love languages.
- Quality time
- Act of service
- Physical touch
- Words of affirmation
The results are about how we want to receive love. Yet our friends or partners may want to be shown love in a different way.
Feelings of love, joy, excitement, and awareness brew through my being. Why? Because the old is passing away and the new is just around the corner.