Marriage, kids, work, chores, friends, projects, in-laws, hobbies… There’s always something competing for our time and attention – it’s just the way things are for many people across the world. We’ve got all of these people in our lives, all of these other things that depend on us, all of these things that beg for our focus and energy…
How are we possibly supposed to choose? Let’s even consider all of those “other” things – work, hobbies, friends, the stuff outside of your home life – as extra here.
How do you make your priorities just at home?
The most common and popular answer to this question is, and has been for a long time: put the children first!
Well, we’re here to say that the conventional wisdom is wrong… You should be putting your spouse first every single time.
You might be thinking, “But what about the children?!?!”
Stick with us for a moment – there’s a reason behind this approach. First, spending time together ALONE with your spouse is absolutely critical for the health of your marriage. If you aren’t taking time to be together as man and woman, the romantic connection you share will start to crumble. You have to actively maintain your relationship – especially when kids, jobs, etc. are all vying for your attention.
Now, we’re not asking you to ignore your children here. They still need your love and support, but it’s important to understand that your happy marriage as parents provides more stability and information for the young ones than you know! They see how you behave together, and it will become the template for the way they approach future relationships. If they see you and your spouse supporting each other, being kind and open, making time for each other, and being actively concerned with each other’s happiness – they will carry this with them into their relationships later in life!
It’s also important to accept that our kids, especially as they get a little older, are more independent than we give them credit for. We don’t have to wait on them hand and foot all the time – especially if it’s having an adverse affect on the amount of time we get to spend with our spouses. Again, this isn’t to say that they don’t need your help – just that as a parent, it can be all too easy to obsess about what the kids are doing at every moment, and forget all about you’re doing to keep your marriage strong.
Not only do your kids learn about relationships from the example you set, they also reflect – in their own moods and behaviors – the kind of environment they live in. If you put a great deal of energy into their wellbeing, but then fight with your spouse later (or just feel tense, sad, etc. because you and your spouse aren’t actively maintaining a happy relationship), this will affect the kids in ways you may not even notice.
They are hyper-aware of your moods and feelings, and that means that the happier you are in your marriage, the more satisfied you are with your life in a general way, the more you radiate that happiness and positivity to them. The same is true for marital troubles, even if you try to hide them away from your kids. They will pick up on tension, negativity, anger, and hurt. Even if they don’t say anything to you about it, they notice. This subtle element of raising kids is often overlooked.
Looking at this issue from the opposite direction, you can actually damage your marriage if you consistently prioritize your kids over your spouse. We’ve seen it happen time and time again – where raising children becomes the primary focus of one or both parents, and by the time they grow up and move out… The parents find that they’ve got an empty house and a stranger for a spouse.
Even before something that serious happens, the little, daily decisions to prioritize kids and NOT prioritize your spouse are constantly eroding the strength of your marriage.
Is this happening to you? You can change your priorities immediately and start strengthening your marriage today!