E! News anchor and celebrity personality Giuliana Rancic and her husband, The Apprentice winner Bill Rancic, made headlines recently when she made a very public statement in US Magazine about putting her marriage first, and her new baby second.
She said, “We’re husband and wife, but we’re also best friends, and it’s funny because a lot of people, when they have kids, they put the baby first, and the marriage second. That works for some people. For us, I find, we put our marriage first and our child second, because the best thing we can do for him is have a strong marriage.”
This, of course, stirred up public debate (everyone’s got an opinion), and all sorts of discussions of whether or not this sentiment of “marriage first” is right!
The story gained a great deal of attention, including reports from Fox News, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, and a host of other nationally (and internationally) syndicated media outlets. The “comments” sections on each of these online articles register comments by the hundreds, some supportive and some highly critical.
Well, at StrongMarriageNow, we’re inclined to agree with Mr. and Mrs. Rancic – putting your marriage first is only way to ensure that your bond will stay the strongest it can be!
Now, we should be perfectly clear that putting your marriage first does NOT mean ignoring your kids, or thinking of them as any less important. It does mean, however, that to create the best environment for your children (and yourself), it takes parents who love one another, who have a strong, visible connection, and above all, who communicate in an open and healthy way.
For the people criticizing Giuliana’s statements – and some of the comments were harsh to say the least – it’s possible that they are missing this important point completely. No one is advocating the idea that your children shouldn’t be a priority in your life. Instead, the rationale is that putting your marriage first will create an ideal environment in which to raise children – an environment of love and support, of communication and honesty.
If marriage is not a priority, and begins to disintegrate because of it, this can be far more damaging than the idea of the kids being “second priority.”
If parents are fighting often, not communicating, being hostile to one another, or even if there is simply a lot of tension in the home, no amount of “prioritizing” is going to make it a healthy environment to raise a child.
Putting your marriage first IS beneficial to your children because it’s beneficial to your happiness and stability as a spouse and parent. When you are in a better mood, and not spending your energy worrying about your marriage or fighting with your spouse, you will have more energy for the kids, less stress, and be able to share more happiness on a daily basis.
Giuliana added, “So we’re even stronger than we ever were before and even imagined we could be.”
Despite the backlash over the Rancics’ comments, many people have offered comments of support and agreement, and this may very well show that couples across the country have experienced the value of raising children in the context of a strong, top-priority marriage.
Even if the thought of not making the kids your top priority makes you bristle, understand that making your marriage healthy and strong is probably the best thing you can do for your kids!
Making your marriage your top priority has a serious ripple effect into the rest of your life. When your relationship is stable and happy, you, in turn, are stable and happy, and those are two great qualities to have in a parent!
Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness!
Dr. Dana and Amy