Ok, now that I have your attention and probably have people upset and ready to jump at me, let me explain.
I’m not trying to say that a relationship has more value than human life. A child’s physical and emotional needs have to be taken care of, of course. I’m not talking about cases in which there is abuse from one spouse.
I’m saying that keeping my relationship with my husband strong all of the time is more important than keeping the kids happy all of the time.
My kids are learning that sometimes they need to go off and do something on their own so that Daddy and Mommy can catch up and spend some time together at the end of a long day. That might mean that they need to wait before they can tell us something or show us something.
They learned young that they are to sleep in their own beds once they’ve passed the nursing stage (and even then, we try to keep the kids out of our bed for the most part. But that’s a discussion for another day.) They are seeing us talk and hug and kiss and learning that Mommy and Daddy need to communicate and be close to each other.
I’m not saying that parents should neglect the kids’ needs and go do their own thing every day. Of course not! By nature, kids are needy and require more time and attention than our spouses, and since I’m home all day with them I naturally spent more time with the kids than I do with my husband.
Every good parent wants to do what is best for their kids. And some parents mistakenly believe that this means they need to put their kids before their spouse. There will be seasons in our lives in which we need to give our kids more attention than our spouse, but when times arise where it’s a choice between inconveniencing our kids or our husbands, our husband should come first.
A marriage can only stay strong if both spouses are working at it. Working hard! If we give ourselves completely to our kids and don’t have enough energy to properly invest in our marriages, the marriage will eventually suffer.
By putting our marriage first, we are doing what is best for our kids!
Our kids will have more security in a home with a strong marriage. And we are also modeling to our kids that spouses need to work on a marriage! It isn’t something that just happens when grown-ups live together.
Both my husband and I grew up in homes with single parents and we didn’t really get to see how a marriage works. We came into our own marriage not knowing what to expect and I think we had a harder time in many areas of our marriage that we’ve had to put extra effort into.
We live in a generation that tells us that the more attention we give to our kids, the better they will turn out. I don’t think that’s true, though. We need to give our kids enough attention to take of their emotional needs of course, and to develop strong relationships with them. But we also need to give them their space, let them learn how to play by themselves, how to think for themselves, and how to manage themselves as they get older.
Ephesians 5:31 tells us,
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” NKJV
We are never one with our children (after they’re born, of course.) We are responsible for them until they leave the home, but we are with our spouse until death do us part.
Graphic altered from image courtesy of imaerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net