Who has the number 1 spot… Your spouse or your kids
I’m just going to dive right in. I already know I’m going to receive a lot of controversy over this subject but this is my opinion and whatever works for you by all means go right ahead. The Number one thing I struggled with is remembering to put my husband and our marriage before our kids. I know I know, you’re either sitting there saying how could you put him before your kids or girl you better stop putting your husband on the back burner. I’m going to be real; this did not sit well with me when I first heard it in marriage counseling. We had our oldest before we were married and at that moment she was my number one priority. It was always about her. She made the rules and dictated our every move. I just couldn’t imagine anyone, I repeat anyone, taking her number one spot.
But I was serious about our marriage and I was determined to have a successful one. My parents divorced when I was 11 and that was extremely hard for me. I struggled with accepting the fact that my father wouldn’t be around much anymore and that I had to grow up in two different households. I always told myself I didn’t want that for my kids. I told my husband over and over that when we say “I Do” we are in it for the long haul and I’m not giving up on us. So if that meant I had to change my thinking and way of living slightly; then I was willing to try. I sat there listening to our minister closely and analyzing all of his reasoning’s behind why we should put each other first and it started to make sense.
He was adamant to mention not to worry. Your children won’t feel neglected. That in actuality when two people love each other unconditionally that love will trickle down onto their children allowing them to feel stable, secure and have joy in their home. When you and your husband put each other first everything thing else falls into place. In addition, kids need to see how marriage works. You and your spouse are the prime examples for teaching your children how to have a successful marriage. If they see you putting your marriage at the bottom of your priorities list, they may grow to believe that marriage isn’t that important.
I kept thinking to myself can putting my children first really ruin my marriage. I mean I love seeing my husband and girls interact with each other and vice versa. But I soon began to realize that constantly putting your spouse at the bottom of your list can make them feel like they don’t matter to you. I had a conversation with my husband recently and it hurt me when he said he was used to me putting others before him. He mentioned that it didn’t bother him anymore, but that bothered me. To know he was feeling that way didn’t sit right with me. I mentioned before I struggle with this but I thought I was getting better. My husband’s feelings are extremely important to me and I never want him to feel like he is not my number one priority. In counseling we learned that keeping romance alive is crucial in a marriage. Once the romance fizzles out you end up not having much left. Then you start to forget why you got married in the first place. Now I’m not saying you should ignore your kids completely. There are going to be times where your child’s needs come first. But this shouldn’t be an ongoing thing and definitely not at the expense of your spouse. Listen, it’s important that no matter how busy you are you must always find time to show your spouse how important they are to you and that they are loved.
Now, we also learned that when you don’t focus on your marriage it can turn your entire life into shambles. If you are constantly spending time thinking about how your marriage is falling apart or worrying about what you both are lacking, it can begin to take away your focus at work and more importantly the time you devote to your children. It is extremely hard for someone to give their all if one aspect of their life is falling apart and they are unhappy. Your kids deserve the best YOU they can get, so if making sure your marriage is healthy, so you remain happy is the key, then you should do it.
Finally, it’s a huge debate that when you put your children first, they tend to grow up spoiled and with a feeling of entitlement. This is going to be extremely hard to reverse in the future when they try to go out into the real world. Believe me when I say, they are going to have a quick reality check when they realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Sadly, once the child leaves home this causes utter silence between the couple because over the years they lost touch of each other due to putting their own desires and needs on the back burner for their children. This is one of the reasons why a lot of couples end up divorcing after their children are grown and have moved out.
Again, I want to mention this is solely my opinion and what I have learned through our sessions. I already know people are either going to agree or disagree. But I wrote this mainly for those that are on the fence. Those that are just like me; not sure how to feel, or what to do, or struggled with balancing marriage life, mommy life and your social life. Look, I still struggle with the balance. I’m not perfect. None of us are. We are human. But as long as you are able to admit that it is something you need to work on and that you want to have a healthy marriage then that’s all that matters. I tell my husband I’m a work in progress, and that I will give my all to make sure our marriage thrives. And you know what he says to me, “We may be picture perfect but ironically we’re not a perfect picture. What we want we have to work hard for, but it’s worth it so I’m working with you.” And that right there shows me that our marriage IS our number one priority.