Monday, May 03, 2010

Loving Your Spouse More Than Your Kids

My FamilyWhen I was a child I asked my mom the classic question: "If I fell in the water and was drowning and Dad fell in the water too and he was drowning would you save him or me first? Huh?"

Of course she gave me the typical mom response. "What do you mean? How can you ask me such a question? I love you both and I'd do anything for you."

But that didn't exactly satisfy me (apparently I was an extremely annoying and persistent child) and I pressed her, "But if you could only save one of us?"

I'm sure I remember her giving a little sigh and then sitting down to explain something. She told me how much she loved me (which I already knew, I was just being a pill and wanted to manipulate her I bet) but that my father was the most important person in her life, that she loved him and he loved her more than anyone else and that while they would both do anything for me they would always love each other the most.

It surprised me a bit, not because I felt slighted exactly--though I did--but because my parents' lives were so tied up with us children I just kind of expected that we were the center of their universes and my vanity wanted her to confirm this. It was the first indication that the family life did not, in fact, revolve around me but around something else--something far greater.

I received a lot of emails last week from my post on narcissism where I said parents should love each other more than the children. Some found it shocking, some found it sad and some were angry that I would suggest that children should not be at the center of life but I'm here to politely reaffirm that marriage, and not children, should be the center of a home.

Now I should mention briefly (very briefly) that I'm not talking about homes dealing with issues of abuse. Not only is this a crime and a tragedy but in homes where one parent chooses not to protect their children or who sacrifices their children' safety you're not dealing with issues of love. At the very least you're talking about fear--fear of abandonment, fear of what the neighbors might say if they found out, fear of the unknown but it's not love and it's never acceptable. Are we clear?

But in most homes we have so many things demanding our attention that it's no wonder we have trouble remembering where our strongest loyalties should be. Few people would argue that a man who places his work or career above his family or his marriage needs a lesson in priorities but what gets less publicity are the many women (and a growing number of men) who let their children and their job as a parent take priority over their marriage.

Now you may be skeptical and think that if a child knows that his parents place their marriage above everything--including parenting--that it would create insecurity, that the child would question his parents' love of him and feel disjointed from that parent-child bond stop and give the concept some thought: look at what happens in cases of divorce.

When a couple divorces, publicizing their dissolution and breaking the marriage (and family) apart what happens? Children become insecure, they question their worth, they might blame themselves and divorcing spouses spend time trying to convince the children that "Just because Mommy and Daddy stopped loving each other doesn't mean we'll stop loving you." To pull a marriage apart, even under significant--and possibly justifiable--provocations such as abuse or infidelity, puts the children at risk for self esteem issues, depression and all sorts of behavioral problems (not to mention increases their risks in future relationships with their own spouses).

Wouldn't it make sense, then, that the reverse is true? If a husband and wife put their own relationship at the center of their lives, making sure their children knew that they love each other above all others and that nothing will change that, instead of making children worry that they're unloved, they will feel more secure in the family and in the love their parents express for them. In essence, if mom and dad say they love each other and the children can see that it's true beyond all trials and adversity then it tells them that mom and dad must be telling the truth when they say they love them too.

My FamilyI'd even go so far as to say that if you're having trouble connecting with a child, if there are behavioral issues, then you might consider your marriage. Is it doing well? Is there love in the home? What can you do to make sure the kids know you love your spouse and therefore that you love them too? Now I'm not saying that going out on a date will solve all your problems you may be having with your kids but I am saying that many, many problems in a home can be helped by a stronger and more loving marriage.

So how can you make sure your marriage is the most important relationship in your life? (the only relationship more important would be your relationship with your Creator) Don't let the kids come between you. Don't let them play you off of one another. Growing up I knew darn well that if I went to Mom and asked her for something and she said no, going to Dad would only get me a "So what does your Mother think?" I could never divide them and it was a good thing.

Be unified as a couple. With the possible exception of large moral and legal issues where the law might have a say it's probably more important that you are united in your decisions with the children than it is that you're right. Being right is hard to be anyway, it's much easier to be united and in the end it'll do more for your children.

Don't let the kids take time away from your marriage. Of course there are times when children need intensive attention and work--I'm not suggesting you ignore these times. Go ahead and give the some special one-on-one care when needed but don't regularly put Johnnny's peewee football game above time spent connecting with your husband. I know of many couples whose lives revolve around the children's activities and yet they seem to have very little time to be alone. Yes, the kids are only with you for a few short years but they will eventually leave home (one hopes) and you really don't want to be in a position of staring across the room at a stranger once they're gone.

Sometimes it's easy to show affection to children because they can be free with hugs and kisses and "I love you's" but be as free with your affections toward your spouse as you are toward your children. Yes, they're small and cute and their hugs are priceless and they belong to you but don't forget that there's someone else in your life who needs to feel your love as well--someone who has a lot more stress and frustrations and responsibilities and therefore needs your affirmation and support more than anyone else.

Take as much joy in doing things for your spouse as you do for your children. Often as mothers we'll go out of our way for our children and will put up with any amount of flakiness, angst or outright rudeness simply because they are our children and we love them unconditionally. If we could show that same tolerance and unconditional love toward our husbands it's hard to measure what the ultimate affect would be on our homes and even on society as a whole.

Putting your marriage first in your heart and your actions will not only strengthen your relationship and bring greater personal fulfillment but it will give your children an example of what a good marriage should be and it will give them permission to one day love their own spouses more than anyone else on earth too. While this may seem frightening to eventually have your children detach from your side and float off into the world to start their own families, you can give your children no greater blessing in life than the tools they need for their own happy marriage.

They'll thank you for it someday, I promise.

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hOoPty dOoPty said...

I knew you would take some heat (putting it mildly) when you mentioned that a husband should come first.
The thing is Michelle, it's a biblical approach and that is where it all starts. And let's be crystal clear on who Our Creator is. God. If you are not serving Him then this idea to many can seem very foreign but the truth is that it is an absolute act of love if a man and wife can show their children that they love God first and then one another. It's not about more though and I think that's the word that gets people upset.
We are only able to understand and grasp this plan when we know and accept that it is God's plan for us.
It's a delicate topic to approach so kuddos to you for standing tall and true to what you know and believe.

Jolanthe said...

Well written and said, Michelle. I agree ~ and like Hoopty Doopty said ~ it's Biblical too. :)

Becky said...

I must say, I am the opposite. My kids come first 100%. I could never imagine saving my husband over my kids and I hope he would do the same.

Anonymous said...

Love God first

Love Spouse and love kids

After Heavenly Father, I try to consciously put the needs of my marriage and my spouse first.

I don't know how you quantify family love; I love each of my family members a lot.

I don't see any value in telling the kids I love their dad more than them. I felt very insecure and sad when some intimation was made along that line when I was little. I don't make any statements like that to my kids, and if they asked me I would tell them I loved everyone in the family the same, even though in practice the marriage is most important to me.

Anonymous said...

Love God first

Love Spouse and love kids

After Heavenly Father, I try to consciously put the needs of my marriage and my spouse first.

I don't know how you quantify family love; I love each of my family members a lot.

I don't see any value in telling the kids I love their dad more than them. I felt very insecure and sad when some intimation was made along that line when I was little. I don't make any statements like that to my kids, and if they asked me I would tell them I loved everyone in the family the same, even though in practice the marriage and family structure is most important to all of us.

Anonymous said...

If we put a lot of effort into our marriages, and put spouse above kid's activities, we show kids how important marriages are.

I don't think going out of our way to tell our kids we love Dad more than them is good. They aren't emotionally mature enough to handle that until they are grown.

Mrs. Ohtobe said...

I completely agree with you. And I probably shouldn't say any of this but...

After nearly 11 years into my second marriage I think my husband would agree as well. Finally. Combining his and hers into ours you must keep the US part the most important - other than God.

Having lived through children doing everything possible to tear us apart and almost succeeding once - my mantra to my husband has been that one day the kids will be out on their own, then what?

Make no mistake that I love our children and want them to be happy successful humans but not at the cost of my marriage. We learned years ago that we can not let them strike a wedge between us. Hopefully others can learn that as well.

Janelle said...

Well said, Michelle. When I was a little girl, I remember a quote that hung on my dad's office wall: "The greatest gift a man can give his child is to show their mother he loves her." I may be mangling the exact wording, but it was something like that. As a child, I never understood it, because a gift was a tangible thing to me. Something like what was indicated in the quote just sounded like a way to gyp me out of one. Now that I'm married and have a daughter of my own, I understand it much better. I was first a woman, then a wife, and then still a mother. My husband frequently encourages me to spend time in each of these roles, so that I maintain my own identity, not just that of "_____'s mom."

Summer said...

I agree with the comment that said,

"I don't think going out of our way to tell our kids we love Dad more than them is good."

It's just not necessary and may be detrimental, even if they ask about it. Our actions can say all that is needed and make spouse and child feel equally loved.

I do agree that too many women place total priority on their children and forget the man who helped create them. There needs to be more emphasis on nourishing a marriage in addition to nourishing the children. You are right that a happy marriage will cultivate a happy family.

I also believe that too many women place so much priority on nurturing children that they not only forget their spouse but they forget who they are too. They lose all sense of learning and growing for themselves.

I think Marina Carr put it best when she said, "...the idea that you sacrifice everything for your children--it's a load of rubbish...You're meant to adore your children at all times, and you're not meant to have a bad thought about them. That's facism, you know, and it's elevating the child at the expense of the mother. It's like your life is not valid except in fulfilling this child's needs. What about all your needs, your desires, your wants, your problems? They're going to come out anyway, so it's better they're acknowledged straight off. Having said that, I really do believe that children have to be protected. They have to be loved. Somewhere between the two, I think, something needs to be sorted out."

Leigh said...

I completely agree, too - and it's so hard to do as a mom. The kids take up so much of my time and energy that if I have not purposed in my heart to keep my husband first, there would be NOTHING left for him at all. And I totally see it in our life, too - if my husband and I are not doing well together, the kids are acting up/acting out. When we get back together/on the same page, the kids shape up! It's amazing how the Lord's plan for the family works... it's beautiful and hard all at the same time.

Tammy said...

I agree 100%!

Tammy said...

I agree to a certain point. My love for my husband is a completely different love than the love I have for my daughter. So to say I love my husband more isn't accurate - I just love him in a different way. And I do agree that putting your spouse first is best. In practice it is a little hard though, especially with a tiny tot.

Robin M. said...

I read here regularly... but hardly ever post. I have to say though that I love this post and really needed to hear this today. I totally agree :) Thank you so much for sharing.

Allysha said...

NIce post.

J at said...

Have you heard of Ayelet Waldman? She took quite a bit of heat a few years ago for saying essentially the same thing. That she loves her husband first and foremost, and that this is good for the structure of the family, good for the kids. She was raked over the coals by the blogisphere.

I agree with you that the best thing we can do for our children is to give them a stable home life, and if possible, to show them a happy and healthy marriage. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to enjoy that happy and healthy marriage, for it can carry you into your old age with joy. Even in times of great stress, it is important to take time to be a couple. Go on dates. Spend time together.

I also agree with the premise that started this, that putting the children in the center of the universe creates narcissists. Much better to do your best to raise loving, compassionate children, rather than kids who think the sun shines out their butts. So yeah, honor your children. But also, honor your marriage, and your self. Actually, I read a book awhile ago about eating disorders, and one of the therapies for the family to go through is for each person to do something GOOD for them self, every single day. Because a child with an eating disorder doesn't believe they are worthy of good things, and they look to their parents for example. If they see you only sacrificing for them, and for your spouse, they get the message that you don't feel worthy of good things for you. And if you're not worthy, they might not be either.

I don't believe in the hierarchy of love, however. I don't love my husband more than I love my daughter, or more than my parents actually. I love them all differently. But the quantity of the love is just as strong and fierce for them all. I show my daughter a good example by being loving and caring towards my parents, towards my husband, and towards her. In no particular order. If the boat were sinking and I had to save one person only, it would be her. Not because I love her above all others, but because as a parent, it is my job to raise her safely until she is an adult. My husband would do the same. Because she is a child. If she were an adult, the decision would be more complicated, wouldn't it? Thankfully, in real life, we aren't faced with sinking boats and only save one scenarios. Whew.

J and Company said...

I'm really surprised people gave you a hard time for saying so. I believe there are even studies out there that back what you have said. I asked my parents the same thing and was told the same thing. It at first confused me, but then my Mom lovingly explained it and I was not hurt. Now as a parent I think it is absolutely vital. Kudos to you.

Rosanne said...

I had a necklace made with the quote, "The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." On the back is a picture of my husband playing with our 3 kids.

I agree with what you're saying, I think it's just hard for some to read it the WAY you're saying it. I think my kids would be crushed if I TOLD them that I loved their daddy more than them.

But I don't think I will ever have to tell them. Actions speak louder than words. So if they see and feel the love their daddy and I give each other, and see and feel the love we give to them, then all is right in our world. ;)

Reno said...

On top of this- our husbands should know that they are #1 in our life. I'm facing an empty nest in a few years. Children don't stay with us. Husbands do.

TJ said...

anonymous, did she say she went out of her way to tell her kids that? you are putting words into her mouth. i don't SAY it to my kids either. but when their dad calls me (and he is deployed) and they are trying to talk to me while i am talking to him, i try to tell them that they can talk to me when i am done talking to dad, and that they need to wait. yeah, it's just a small thing, but my kids are also small. when he was home for R&R i almost felt bad for taking him away from them for a few nights so that we could go out on a date. but i got over it. my relationship with him is just as important (if not a little bit more) as theirs with his.

and the whole save one person thing is just silly. it is a way to manipulate someone.

and i am really looking forward to when my husband is home so that we can really spend time on our relationship and be able to SHOW our kids how much we do love each other.

Anonymous said...

Nice Post! I don't believe I read anything about not beleiving in God or not including the religious aspect of family in your post. I think you opened eyes to those of us who sometimes forget that to have a family there has to be a solid and good relationship with the parents of that family. Seems to me you hit the nail on the head with that issue. I also don't recall you mentioning anything about loving children less than loving your spouse.
You did a good job of opening eyes to a different and perhaps a better way of approaching pariental responsibility.
Hooray for you!

~Seth and Nancy~ said...

good post! i couldn't agree more. i recently had someone say that her husbands family was depicted in how they sat at at one end and dad at the other and the children in between. as more children came, the parents got further and further apart. she had heard someone say that the picture should be more like a and dad together in the middle and the babies surrounding them...with time they gradually push them out of the nest and are still together because that's how it's been all along :-)

Kayris said...

I don't see how it's possible to compare the love a parent has for a child to the love a woman has for her husband. IMO, they are two distinct kinds of love. And if my children asked me that question, I couldn't really answer it. It's like asking if two of your children fell in the water and you could only save one. How would you choose?

I agree that it's important to keep a marriage healthy and that you can't let life with kids get in the way of that. But that doesn't mean you love your husband more.

flip flop mama said...

I agree with you that the marriage must be strong in order to have a strong family. I do not believe that I love my husband more though, but differently. I guess you could say that I love him first. I mean without him I wouldn't have our children. I do agree that parents need to be very united and that children can definitely tear their parents apart if they let them. I'm surprised that some people actually think that their children should come 100% first. I feel bad for the kids actually because as adults their parents will probably be divorced. And then the cycle just continues.

Headless Mom said...

I love Seth and Nancy's image of the bird's nest with the parents in the center!

I think that it's also important to add that as the children get older and less dependent on parents that it's MORE important to show the love and affection for your spouse. Modeling healthy, adult relationships begins with your spouse. If you bicker all the time isn't that what the children are going to model to others?

mumple said...

Amen and Hallelujah!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

I love when husbands and wives feel this way. It is important to love your husband more... you married them and loved them first... you married him to be able to have children... so... why should you marry and use your husband just to then push him aside and take care of your children. I looove my daughter, but I got married to be with Curtis and we love each other and had Lucy.

Anonymous said...

AMEN. (pretend the font on my AMEN is about 10 times bigger, because that's how I feel.)

Every married couple that I know that places children at the top of thier love hiearchy, above spouses and sometimes even above God is visably miserable and they seem to have no clue as to why. Those that do it God's way seem to have much more peace, happiness and contentment, AND happier, more secure children.

My parents raised me this way and I can't even begin to describe what a good foundation it has laid for me.

Chrissy Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chrissy Johnson said...

Like Tammy and Kayris, I agree that it's a different kind of love (obviously!) and doesn't need to be felt stronger towards anyone! You love God in your own personal way, you love your spouse in a hopefully romantic, sexually connected, partnered and strong way, and you love your children because it's that raw, primal, amazing motherly love because they're your children and amazing people. My mother and father were and are VERY much in love and they weren't shy about showing it. Sure, we girls rolled our eyes all the time at my mom's proclamations, "Isn't your dad just sooo handsome!" and my Dad's impromptu kisses for my mom...but we knew they were married, in love, and grew up to find healthy relationships of our own as adults. I always note my parents as my #1 model for marriage. They made the distinction in their own way, ultimately educating us in the variants of love in a family. There is so much room in each of our hearts for so many different kinds of love, express them all...I don't feel it's a matter of loving someone (or something) less or more than another.

April said...

I *completely* agree. Totally.

My mother told me once of when my older brother was small (and I wasn't born yet), whenever he'd try to talk to her, she'd stop talking/listening to my dad to listen to my brother. This upset my dad, for good reason (men need respect as much as a woman needs romance).

She had to learn the hard lesson of putting my dad, not kids, first. And we (the kids) are much better for it! I had so much more respect for her and my father after she shared that story with me (I was probably middle or high school).

I wasn't surprised by it though. I knew from their actions that they really really really loved each other. And as a result they really loved me, too. I just respected her even more after that story because I realized it was a conscious decision of hers to put my dad first.

Spouses should love each other most (after God), so that the children are free to love their future spouses. Otherwise you end up with Daddy's girls and Mama's boys that can never cut off ties with parents, even after marriage... which can be murder on their (the child and the new spouse's) marriage.

So glad you speak your mind, Michelle. You have great things to say. I'm still wanting to buy your book about life/marriage/parenting if you ever write one! I really respect and admire your world view.

page2 said...

I agree. I've noticed that if there is tension between my husband and myself I have a hard time being my best for my children. If we've had an argument, I'm too distracted to totally be there for my kids.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Bravo Michelle.

Frankly, I'm surprised there are so many resistant to the idea. Maybe it comes from a world where marriage is temporary but children is forever?

But a strong marriage creates strong children. Putting the children as the foundation of the family is dangerous and even scary for them. It's up to Mom and Dad to keep their relationship strong so the family survives. I wish more parents felt this way.

Amateur Steph said...

I grew up in a household where my mom always put us kids over her husband.

It has been painful to watch as we have moved away and their marriage has struggled and almost disintegrated.

I also believe that we have a sense of entitlement that we all fight to overcome, and that hampers a healthy relationship with our parents.

Her life, my dad's life, and in turn ours would be much more stable and peaceful if they had practiced the principle of putting each other first.

Anonymous said...

Yes, right on the money. I don't know why people think marriage will just wait until the kids are grown. Love it!

Beautiful Mommy Princess said...

Absolutely! Love your post! If the foundation of coming first with your spouse isn't there everyone suffers, including the children.

Chele said...

Like I just said on your post that brought this heat. I stand firm that my husband comes first. If there is not a good relationship between husband and wife, the children reap the consequences. So in all reality, our children NEED us to put our spouse first. I'm still there with you Michelle! Hoopty Doopty said it well!

Scribbit said...

Thanks for chiming in on this-and I think Summer is right when she says we have to be able to remember our roles as women. Keeping ourselves fed intellectually, spiritually, socially makes us better wives and moms anyway. Not to mention so much happier.

bigguysmama said...

Standing ovation for this post! Husband and wives need to demonstrate for their children what a healthy marriage is so that their children will recognize it in their own lives. I've heard time and time again how secure kids feel when their parents are devoted to each other first, and I don't mean to the extent that they shut the kids out and the kids end up wondering if they are even loved.

We're talking about how the love that the husband and wife share and then it waterfalls over to the children. When you have a strong bond with your spouse, it's bound to spill over to the kids.

What happens down the road? The kids leave and it's just the parents again. If you aren't connected to your spouse, it's going to be so hard to overcome the empty space that's been left by the children who have overtaken their world.

Hurray for this post!


LoriJill said...

I have been reading your blog for a month or so but have never posted.
I just wanted to say at first, I thought how could this be that so many women feel this way? And then I read this 2nd post on the subject, and for some reason it clicked! I can tell you, if I could start over, do it all over again, because my children are all almost grown now, I would! One is graduated and the other two are right behind him.
My children are products of divorce and I centered my word around them before and after the divorce, although I don't believe that it's all one sided. He didn't center his world around any of us!You have to get into a marriage with a man who agrees that you come first and hope he continues to feel that way as time passes. So, don't beat yourself up ladies, he has to be in on this too!
I also agree with the post, that our feelings of children are forever, and marriages aren't, have created the opposition to the putting our husbands first. I do tell everyone I know, if they are getting married and planning on having children, don't ever get divorced! That's the only thing that will "fix" or help our future generations. However, I am far from being an expert on how to make a marriage last forever. It's not just putting your kids 2nd, or a job. Thre are so many things in todays society that cause break-ups! I think both people in a relationship having a strong belief in God and the Bible, and actually practicing their Christianity (coming from a southern baptist area I have to say that)would be a good place to start! I can sure attest to what happens if you don't!

Nancy from Two Mountains said...

Oh, touchy subject isn't it. I expected as much when you posted your opinion last week. But I agree with you 100%. I have 5 kids ranging from 10 to 22 (4 boys, 1 girl). Two have already left home. I don't love one more than the other...but they do come after my husband. How would my husband feel if he were in 2nd place for some 30 years?? (or 6th for that matter...LOL) What kind of relationship would we have once the kids have all gone? We'd be strangers, roommates at best. My husband, their dad, comes first. We were a couple before we ever became a family. It hasn't been all rainbows and sunshine either. We went through a rough period with our eldest son (for 6 years +) but we stood by each other. Others have told us most couples would have separated or divorced but we stayed together and talked, argued, cried and supported each other through it all. My kids KNOW and have known for quite a while that their dad comes first and you know what? They accept and acknowledge it proudly. They also know we love them with all our hearts and that each and everyone is important to us.

Lei said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you and it is something I definitely need to work on! I didn't have the best example growing up (both because my parents divorced and because my mother was abusive) so I find myself feeling torn between the pressure to do better as a mother and better as a wife. Both are important, but when my children are grown and gone I definitely want to look at my husband and feel a connection with him, welcome a reward for the team effort, and not feel loneliness because the house is suddenly so quiet.

Patricia L said...

So right... because, after all, the kids will grow up and move out and we don't want to look at our husbands after 20 (or more) years and say, "now who are you again?"

Don McNeill said...

Previously divorced twice but kept searching and have been gratefully married for almost 16 years and even have full custody of my now 18 yr. old daughter from my second marriage.
Mom always told me she would rescue me first and so did my dad since they had lived fantastic lives and would like to see me and my 3 older siblings live before worrying about saving them selves or each other.
God has always been first in our home but of course we have never had to rescue him from drowning.
I think my folks gave us kids a very secure perspective and have been happily married and happy with each other 85% of the time, as I quote my mom, for over 60 years together.
I know my wife and I love each other more than anything else on God's green earth but both of us agree - We would save the kids first but when they turn 18 they are off to college. They only have three more summers at home. After that they are on their own.
I do so appreciate reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to Hoopty Doopty, 100%

Right on lady! LOVE IT! I feel kindof irritated with the people misunderstanding what you are saying. You are not saying you don't love your kids and you are not saying you worship your husband. You are simply saying when you said "I do" it was the first promise you made and therefore is the first priority. Doesn't mean the love you have for your children isn't as great as the love for your husband, it just means without order there is chaos. Another thing to consider is the people who feel most touchy about this subject probably have had bad experiences with their own parents or within their own marriage? (which is completely understandable). Thanks for being brave Michele and two thumbs up! Great post!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to copy and paste this on my blog--giving you credit of course, would you mind? I agree and don't see why I should rewrite all you said so well!


Let me know!

Anonymous said...

I think you are confusing two issues. I agree that putting the marriage first priority is good and will benefit everyone.

But as far as 'love' (which is what your comment was about)...I don't think its natural to feel more love for a spouse than for a child (I feel so strongly about it, I don't quite believe you do).

One example. Most people are devastated, but can survive the loss of a spouse and even re-marry. But most people intuitively understand its not the same thing at all to lose a child. Its a much deeper wound.

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Anonymous said...

thanks Michelle, for having the courage to actually state an opinion in this day and age...and to state it so clearly, calmly and with such care and thought.

Jenna Consolo said...

You did a great job on this controversial topic. It IS Biblical, and keeping maybe not the quantity of love, but the order of love in line would make a big difference in the emotional health and safety of our children. It is something I believe in, and strive for, but have not yet achieved. The dynamics have been very strange being married for a second time and having had a much longer relationship with my children (and more history) than with my husband. But it's definitely the way things SHOULD be, and what I'm reaching for.

Lori said...

Well written! I agree entirely.

Jane Hamilton said...

That's a well-written post! I have to agree with almost everyone here, and say that if your priorities with God are right, then everything falls into place...
God first, spouse second, and children next...

Being close with God means that He will give you the strength to give of your self to your family...and being one with your spouse means that both of you will be able to give the best of your selves to the children.

Andrea @ said...

Great post! I loved the narcissist post as well! Keep them coming!

Anonymous said...

Here, here. Good post and an encouragement to me to put up with as much from my significant other as I would from my other, significant others. :)

celita said...

Thank you for this post and the narcisist post as well. It is something that is not popular in today's culture, in the states or here in Italy. First came marriage, then came children. Both are a blessing. A healthy marriage does wonders in raising children. (even when challenges come...)

I agree with Hoopty Doopty and others who said similarly... Go see what she said. :-)

Funny, that as I was thinking about who to save in the water... i kept thinking... If I save my husband, then he can help me to save the children, as we both love them so and are stronger. If I save the children, who will be strong enough to help me to save him?

and... I have seen the damage of putting children first in the lives of close family members. They have expressed themselves as being at a complete loss of what to do and how to be with the one who is supposed to be their best friend. It IS like living with a stanger, when after years of neglect, you try to put the pieces back together again. I refuse to do that. I saw it firsthand and want to learn from it... Dates with you hubby are important. even if it is only a cup of coffee in the back yard, a few minutes to just be together. Having the kids understand that mommy and daddy need to strengthen their relationship by time alone is great. It allows them to see our need for God and how He works as we do better each day. Of course, reinforce your love for them, that does not change, but... I am one with my husband... not ONE with my kids. That is what marriage is... becoming one with your spouse. If you neglect that other part of yourself, it is like not using an arm as it should be used. It weakens and over time, loses mobility. Think on that just a bit...

Thank you for such an interesting topic. I believe I may have to use the idea of it in the near future, if that is okay...

Hugs. By the way, You have a beautiful family! :-) and sorry I have not been over much... I just had to comment on this one. Now, I am off to clean broken glass... sigh...

jnetsworld said...

Thanks for the great post!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Love this one and just had to tell ya!

My kids are little (4 of them now with the oldest being 7). When we have our date night, they head to bed early and know NOT to bother us during our movie or chatting. Honestly, I think they like knowing we are downstairs spending time together. It does truly give security!

Good thoughts!