I hope you all had a nice Christmas. Ours was rather up and down. I won’t get into the details, but it wasn’t what we had planned. David and I both woke up feeling rather depressed Christmas Eve morning, but managed to get ourselves in hand and devise a few ways to rescue the holiday. All in all it turned out ok. Caroline loves her easel. She was far more interested in tearing tiny pieces of wrapping paper off every gift than actually seeing what the gift was. Gotta love these two year olds.
Which brings me to another question I’ll throw out for discussion. I’ve mentioned this one to David a number of times, but don’t think I’ve ever brought it up here. (If I have, humor me and pretend it is something you’ve never heard here, ok?) And people can either answer this as a married person or as a child observing the family in which they grew up.
Do you primarily think of yourself as a couple with a child/children or a family? Do you think this is impacted by the age at which you got married? How long you were married before you had children? How many children you have? Other factors?
I’ll briefly share my thoughts to start and probably share more later as people leave comments.
I think of us far, far more often as a couple with a child than I do a family. I more often think of us as David and Sallie and Caroline (three individuals) as opposed to a family. I think marrying later and being married for nine and a half years before having a child has greatly impacted these perceptions. I think also having an only child makes me less inclined to think of us as a family, even though I know we are.
I’m guessing people who have children shortly after marrying are much more apt to think in terms of family as opposed to couple with children.
I married at age 23 and had my first baby at age 26… I tend to think of us (my husband and I) as a couple with two young boys. However, I’ve noticed recently that as our sons get older I am referring to us (all of us) as a family more often.
Shyla ~ Mom to Seven Sweeties
What an interesting question!
I would have to say that I definitely think of us as a family. Probably because we have to have a “group mentality” with such a large number of children, but I would say that even since we had our first I’ve thought of us as a family.
All joking aside, it is very important to us that we instill in our children a sense of belonging and strong family ties, parents to children and siblings to siblings. It is often heard around here that we all help with “jobs” (chores, playing with little ones, etc.) because we’re a family and families work together. Families are “for” one another, and we want our childrens’ best friends to be their siblings. We also homeschool. We’ve “preached” family to our children since birth :o)
For stats, we married two months after I turned 17, and my husband was 21. We had our first baby a little over a year later. In sense, we’ve all grown up together, so this very well could have something to do with it.
We definitely think of ourselves as a family, but I distinctly remember feeling like we were a couple with a child until at least our oldest’s second birthday, but maybe until the birth of our second. It took time for me to really feel like we were a family, but I’m not sure why. Actually, I think we didn’t have a vision for our family at first. We didn’t plan to have children so early, and even though we are so very grateful to God for it now, and recognize His sovereign plan, at the time we were a little resentful.
We married at 22 (almost 23) and I gave birth to our first child two weeks after our first anniversary.
On bad days, my husband and I joke that we will run away together, so I guess there is still a couple at the core of this family! 😀
Disfunctional family here, surviving on grace.
I never really thought about this until my two oldest children married. My daughter told me that one of my daughter-in-law’s favorite subjects is to talk wiht my son-in-law about our family.
That was the first time I REALLY thought about how the five of us hve this ‘family history’ that no one else has.
My husband and I are highschool sweethearts who dated four years and married at 19. On the surface, we apparently appeared to be very mature. History will tell a slightly different story.
Probably the story my daughter-in-law and son-in-law discuss.
I shall have to think about this more.
I married at 28 1/2 and had my first child at 29 (one day short of my 30th birthday). When I think of us I think in terms of a family. We are four different people – Walter, Stacy, Benjamin and Rebecca – who make up the Kirklin Family. I am part of the Hanson family that is my parents and brother and sister. One day when my children marry they will make their own families – but will still be a part of our family. (That is if the Lord doesn’t come back before then).
I put this question to my husband who is much more couple focused then I am at times and he even said that he things in terms that we are a family. Maybe it is because we were only married a year and a half before we had Ben and married 4 1/2 years when we had Rebecca. We knew that because of our age we wanted to try to have children as soon as possible.
I do know that I do think of myself as an individual, especially since I marred later in life. It was very hard for me to go from making a living of supporting myself and being a SAHM. It was so hard in fact that I returned to work at least part time. I love what I do, it gets me around adults, but I also get to be at home when my son gets home from school and spend the afternoon and evening with my family (my husband gets home the same time as my son). It really works for us. I do sometimes wonder though if I would have been happier staying at home if I hadn’t gotten use to working. I always dreamed of being a SAHM, but when reality hit it just wasn’t for me. Anyway that’s a total side topic.
I think of ourselves as a family. I was 28 and my husband 25 when we were married. I had my first child 6 weeks before I was 30. We have three children ages 22, almost 20 and 14. I’ve always thought of us as a family even when it was just the two of us. 😀
Very interesting question!
We were married for 10 years before we had children.
When they were very small (they’re still pretty small, now 3 and 6), I used to think of us more as a couple with children. Now, we definitely think of ourselves as a family.
I married my high school sweetie, the only guy I ever dated. I was 20 when we married, had my first child at 22. My husband is one of 7 children of a very close-knit Irish family. I used to joke about them and call them The Family. LOL. We began having children earlier than we planned, but I remember feeling like our own family even before we had children. So when Molly was born, our family of 2 became a family of 3. And it continued until now we are a family of 6. Now, our nest is emptying, then filling again, now emptying somewhat as my adult children come and go from college. At the core of this family is my husband and me. We’ve guarded our relationship jealously throughout our marriage, knowing that the day would come when it would just be the two of us again.
But I’ve always thought of us as a couple being a family. Interesting conversation.
I’ve been married less than half a year. I’m 30, and we have no children.
Just tonight after a day long double date with another couple, I told my new husband that I was happy and that we felt like family. It was a special moment/feeling.
Of course this might change with time or as children are added, but that’s what I thought/felt tonight.
It depends how long you dated beforehand too.
I think I used to see ourselves as a couple with children, but it wasn’t a very helpful mindset for me. It also wasn’t a very helpful mindset for me to see myself as an individual, rather than a mom and a wife.
I do see ourselves as a family now. We have two kids. I think when you have one child, it’s probably more likely that you see yourselves as a couple with a kid rather than a family because the workload is lower and there is more time for couple time. Which is nice. Although you are still most definitely a family.
We were 24 and 26 when we got married, and it was 8 years before our daughter was born. She’s only 5 months old now, but I definitely think of us a family. Maybe because we have really worked out “our family’s way of doing things” as distinct from our families of origin. It really feels like the three of us are a team (with loving ties to relatives too, but the team comes first).
We were married two years before our daughter was born. We have two kids now, twelve years apart, so she was an only for quite a while. (Just for frame of reference there.)
I don’t remember exactly at what point I switched to thinking of us as a family vs. a couple with a child. But I do know it happened. Our daughter was probably at least 3 or 4, though.
That’s something I think you will find will change your perspective. Right now you are not very far removed from the stage of life where Caroline requires more input than she gives back in output. (I’m not stating this well, I’m sorry. Terrible cold hit our family on Christmas day and my head is not at all clear.)
I know that at some point before my daughter was school age, it suddenly seemed like we were a neat little family unit of three. She was joining in on decisions, always wanting to do things to help with whatever we were doing, etc. We moved 800 miles away from our extended families when she was 4, and that move probably solidified our feeling of being a family unit.
Married at 11 days before turning 20, became a first time mother 8 days after I turned 23 and a grandmother this past August at 50 years, 7 months and 25 days.
I always thought it was strange when I heard someone say they “planned to start a family” meaning they were going to try to have a baby. From the onset I considered Terry and I a family. A family of two.
We eventually became a family of 3, 4 and then 5. Now we have an empty nest and we’re back to being a family of 2.
On the other hand, I find myself saying “our family” when referring to the entire batch of 2 daughters, 1 son, 2 sons-in-law, 1 beautiful significant other, and the grandson so we are a family of 2 or 11 depending on what I’m thinking/talking about at the time.
Well my childless sister and her husband are a family…
A married couple equals a family whether or not they have children.
My husband, myself, and my son are a family and I have never thought otherwise.
I agree with Lizzie. If you’re married, you’re a couple, sure, but also “family”. You’re kin. Not having kids wouldn’t mean you’re not a family.
On the other hand, if you’re living under the same roof and not married, then I wouldn’t call that a family. I would just call that a couple. A couple of roommates.
I’ve been thinking about the question and can’t really remember a time when I didn’t consider my husband my family. He’s the breadwinner. He’s the one I come home to, make dinner for, fight with, laugh with. He’s the other name on the mortgage. That’s all pretty familial stuff.
I don’t remember thinking of us as a family until Stephanie was older and got out of the “maintenance” stage. That being when she started giving back more than just being cute.
That was when we became “three” instead of “two and a small child”.
Well, we had our first (of 8, over 21 years) child 13 months after we were married, and I think we both STILL tend to think of ourselves as a couple with children. But then, we were (and are) very much best friends. But I think we also think of ourselves as “family” in certain circumstances (such as all going to church together)(back when that was possible).
So…I haven’t read the other responses yet, but 0ur experience doesn’t necessarily uphold your idea. For us, anyway. 🙂
Part two: I do think we wanted our children to think of themselves as best friends, socialize together, be with us a lot, etc. And they do, and are.
But I still think we think of ourselves as “us-with-them”. Even though we’re all very close. 🙂
Good question…never really thought about it, but I guess I’d have to say I think of myself as “a family unit” now that we have 5 of us total.
We married young and had babies right away, so I hardly remember the days when it was just the two of us. I am looking forward to enjoying that season of life later, when they’re all gone and we’re empty nesters. Until then, I am relishing what I can because it goes TOO fast.
Now I definitely agree that a couple is a family whether they have children or not. That said, I do think of my husband and I as a couple with 3 small children (ages 4 and under). It’s hard work, as all of you know, to care for little ones, and we definitely approach raising our children with a team mindset in all areas; physical care, discipline, spiritual nurture and training. Also, we intentionally take time alone with one another and work and pray toward the growth and development of our marriage..and our family. The Team aspect though, keeps me more looking at us as a couple with small children more than a family (although at some point, it’s just mincing words in my view). I imagine as our children mature and our relationships with them individually grow, my view may change. I love and cherish my children deeply and fiercly…but my hubby; he has the number one place in my heart.
(since you asked, we married in our late 20’s and our first child was born a week after our 2nd wedding anniversary.)
Sallie @ a quiet simple life
Beth said in comment 11:
Brenda said in 15
David mentioned something like this while we were discussing this topic in the car today. I think this makes a lot of sense. Although Caroline already wants to do everything we do. Heaven forbid you carry her plate into the kitchen after a meal! That is HER job and she will be very upset if you take it away! 😆
Sallie @ a quiet simple life
Ann said in comment 10:
Ann, could you elaborate on what you meant by this, especially second part? This is actually very closely related to another question I was thinking about bringing up for discussion. To be honest, your comment about not seeing yourself as an individual but a mom and wife bothers me. Please don’t take that as an attack, but rather just something I’ve thought a lot about and I’m not sure I agree with you if we are thinking about the same thing. That’s why I’m asking if you would explain more. Thanks! 🙂
I definitely think of our unit as a family, but hubby and I do guard our couple time and make sure we continue to grow as a couple, apart from the kids.
My husband and I married late in life. I was unable to have children, having 2 miscarriages. However, he had 2 children from a previous marriage. Now, I have to say – I never thought of us as a ‘couple’. Rather, I always thought of our ‘family’ to mean him, me and both our families. I know that sounds odd, but my immediate family loves my husband and he has become very close to all of them. Add to that the fact that his parents died before we married, AND, he was an only child.
There is also a very tight knit relationship between extended family members such as cousins, their spouses and children.
I know that most here are answering this question as a family unit. However, for some reason I think of my husband and I and our family as one unit. I can’t explain it, but to be honest that is how I feel. 😆
I’d say we think of ourselves as a family rather than as a couple with children. We were married seven years before having our first child though we married pretty young.