A lot of people have been asking why we decided to do foster care. Some people thought that we could not have children and that this was our “last” option. Eddie and I haven’t even tried to have a baby, so it’s not that. In fact, it’s something we’ve talked about for years. We made this decision while we were engaged to be married. However timing is everything. We didn’t want to become parents our first few years of marriage, and then we moved, had change of jobs, and Eddie became a full time student. Last year we decided it was time. We felt like we were at a good place in our marriage and that we had a lot to offer. Sure we were busy but we were always going to be busy, so we stopped using it as an excuse and moved forward.
On May 2nd Eddie and I received a phone call asking if we would take a 16 year old girl. We said yes and she came to live with us that same day. We had no idea what to expect. We had never done anything like this before. We knew our lives would be changed we just didn’t know how.
We are glad to report that we’ve been blessed with a delightful young lady. Prior to her arrival we had been praying that God would place someone in our home that would absorb all that we had to offer. We wanted to be more than a boarding house, or a hired baby sitter. We wanted to make a huge impact, but we knew we could only do so much. What if we gave 100% and our foster kid gave 0%? Sure we would still love them because it’s the right thing to do, and we made a commitment, but it would be discouraging. We were prepared for the worst, but confidant that God had everything in control.
He sure did! Our daughter is amazing. She’s not perfect but neither are we. When we give 100% she gives 100% back. She’s really trying to make an effort. She helps with the house chores, tries not to get defensive when we correct her, does her schoolwork, is working out, volunteers at the Y and is filling out job applications. In fact she had her first interview with Subway this week. We are so proud of her. She’s growing in leaps and bounds and here’s the good news, she has gratitude! Can you believe that? A lot of teens feel entitled but not our girl.
So why am I telling you this, and what does this have to do with marriage? The answer is everything. If you want a happy marriage live selflessly by serving others. Having our foster daughter has made us closer as a couple. Some people discouraged us, but had they known it was going to be a double, no triple blessing to our marriage they might have encouraged us to do it a long time ago. So here are seven reasons why bringing our foster child has enhanced our marriage.
1. Spiritually – I had been struggling with my devotional life for over a year. I would spend time with God but I was not consistent. The moment our daughter came to live with us I stepped up my game. In other words, I quite playing games. I thought, “How can I fully show her Jesus if I’m not plugged into Him?” Now I consistently start my mornings off with prayer and Bible study because I know I can’t do this whole parent thing without guidance from above.
The frequency of our family worship has improved as well. We used to have family worship once or twice a month but now we try to have it every day or several times a week. We were not sure how the whole Jesus and religion thing would go. When she came to our house we were honest with her. We said, “Jesus is a huge part of our lives but we will never force Him on you because that’s not who He is or how He acts.” She told us she was okay with having family worship and going to church. Of course we were thrilled. It’s great to sit around and talk about the Bible or read a cool story. I also look forward to holding hands in a circle and praying together. Every Saturday night we go around the circle and talk about the things we are grateful for.
2. Quality Time – Eddie and I are spending more quality time together. Before we were getting into the habit of coming home after a long day and watching TV. Now we try to eat around the table more often, go on family walks, or play a game.
3. Time Management – We are way more efficient. My time is not my own anymore, now I have to plan out my weeks. I don’t waste anytime. Even though I have less time to myself I’m getting more done. I remember one Sunday I thought to myself, “Wow, I didn’t watch television once last week.”
4. Health – I’ve always considered myself a healthy person. However, now that I have a little helper in the kitchen I’m more aware of what I buy or make. I don’t buy junk food because I don’t want her to be tempted. We used to eat a lot of cereal for breakfast because it was fast, but now I make breakfast everyday because I’d rather she eat oatmeal, high fiber smoothie, or gluten free grain pancakes than a bowl of carbs and milk.
The second day our daughter was in our house she said, “What’s organic?” She noticed I had a lot of organic foods. She also didn’t know what lentils, tofu, flax seed, chia seed, artichoke, cilantro, kale, edamame, quinoa and a lot that other healthy stuff I had lying around the kitchen. Nevertheless she was willing to try it and she loved it, well most of it.
5. Sex – We have more sex!!!! Noting is more attractive when you see your spouse being kind hearted and loving. When I see Eddie tutoring our daughter, teaching her how to drive, working out with her, or just loving her I get turned on. Need I say more?
6. Chores – Eddie and I don’t fight about the dishes anymore!!! Our foster daughter doesn’t mind doing dishes. That’s her job now (besides keeping her room clean). Eddie and I take care of the rest of the chores, and she does the dishes. Pretty sweet!
7. Arguments – We don’t argue as much. Now that we have a third person living in the house we try to be on our best behavior. And when we do argue we try to show her what a healthy argument or fight looks like.
Yes we are tired and a lot busier but the benefits outweight the cost. So here’s my marriage advice. Find a ministry that you and your spouse are passionate about and jump wholeheartedly into it. You will be blessed and you’ll grow closer together. Who knows you might even become foster parents.
For Christ and His Kids,