I wrote the following post in 2013. I’m updating my opinion for 2020. Since then, I’ve grown as a person and actually went through a complex divorce and remarriage. This article took on a whole new meaning after I got married again.
I’m going to keep the original article below since I still agree with basically everything I wrote. I still believe that in a healthy marriage, a husband and wife should prioritize caring for each other first. When their needs are met, they are stronger and more able to care for their children.
I want to clarify something for 2020. Married parents are humans with human needs of affection and intimacy. Everything in life is about balance and priorities. A couple should focus on supporting and loving each other first so that they are able to nurture and raise their children together.
It isn’t a child’s job to fulfill a parent’s need for intimacy or friendship. When I couple fulfills that need in each other, together, they are better equipped to put the needs of their kids as a high priority – as a team. Jillian Turecki is an expert and has helped couples build stronger relationships.
How this balance looks – now that is a very personal thing. I believe the couple should work together to raise the children and this is more effective when their emotional and psychological needs are being met.
Who Comes First, The Child Or The Spouse?
These are my thoughts from 2013.
I saw the meme above on Facebook getting liked and share around like crazy and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Something about this quote rubbed me the wrong way. Seriously the wrong way.
First – spouses can come and go? Sure the can but if you continuously put your children’s desires ahead of your spouse’s you are more likely to have that come and go experience.
Next, your children will always be your children. Yes, they will. But kids grow up, they move out. The relationship dynamic changes from caregiving to friendship and if you are pouring your life 100% into only your children, ignoring your spouse, then what kind of relationship will you have when they leave?
Be careful who you put first. I think you need to be careful not to put the children before the spouse all the time and you need to be careful not to put the spouse before the children all the time. BUT Everyone – children and adults – need to learn how to give when others are in need. I see nothing wrong with telling the children to calm down, we can talk with Daddy later, Mommy needs to tell him something. And I think that whenever possible, husbands and wives should try hard to spend time alone together, without the kids.
Showing your children that mom and dad are dedicated to each other and the world does not revolve around them is showing them how a strong marriage works. It takes hard work. It takes dedication. Marriage is not easy. And if the spouse is continually being ignored and placed last in the family, it makes it hard for that marriage to be strong.
But I could totally be misinterpreting this entire thing. It is possible, I’m not perfect. How did you take this graphic?
IMPORTANT – Always Put Safety First
This post is written with healthy relationships in mind. All stable marriages have ups and downs and this is addressing those struggles. I realize it might be a trigger for abuse victims though. Please – if you or your children are being harmed (emotionally, physically, sexually, mentally, in any way) GET OUT. Put yourself and your children first and do not stay.
I now understand there are two ways to read that graphic above – and it totally depends on your experience. Abuse is never ok, always put the safety of yourself and your children first.