Why Relationships With Spouses Ought To Come Before Relationships With Children

The Question

“How do you feel about the advice that couples put their relationship before everything else? I’ve seen some relationship experts recommend that couples put their marriage first, even over the kids. Do you recommend something similar? It seems selfish say no to spending time with the kids on a night off just to have a date night with the hubby.” Mia

You might be unhappy to find out that yes, I do indeed recommend that parents put their relationship first.

This is a great question that no doubt stirs up a bit of controversy for people, especially when they dislike their spouse and love their children more. 

I don’t think one could disagree that our children’s examples of what a healthy relationship is suppose to look like comes directly from the example of the parents or guardians.  

Today’s video response explains why focusing on the marriage first is vital

Here are two examples of the harm not putting your marriage first can cause

Case Study 1: Jim & Amy put their children first, neglecting their marriage often. The children were put on pedestals, and soon learned that whatever they needed, mom or dad was there to let them have. The children quickly became aware that all they had to do is throw a tantrum and it would put a wedge between the parents.

When they learned to put each other first, the children had to learn patience. When Mom and Dad spent time together (usually right after work), they took time to discuss their successes, the children, where they needed to unite or where they needed to have more discipline. Date night became an important part of their week and a myriad of great lessons learned for the children.

By putting each other first, they became a unified front, setting healthy boundaries and caring about each other. This builds more security in a child’s mind, gives a healthy example of love and respect and often removes the entitled behavior.

When we ignore, disrespect or divide our marriage with critical indifference, we’ve not only defiled our wedding vows, but we also defile our children’s potentially healthy views on relationships and created unhealthy ones.

Will it take work to take back the ground we’ve given over to bitterness, disregard or disrespect? Of course, but you CAN do it.

Case study 2: Teenage son smoked pot and hung out with a tough crowd. Parents were usually divided on every level, arguing and fighting often. When Troy and Jan were taught the 5 Secrets to Marriage, they began date night and to unify on important matters. This means they took time to formulate a plan that they could work together on, not against each other. When the son acted up, they spoke to him together and gave him choices. No yelling, no stress. The boy saw them take more time for each other rather than allowing him to demand attention through unhealthy behaviors.

I hope these examples help you see the importance of putting your marriage first, every single day. Being a UNIFIED couple is the healthiest example our children can have. It takes work, but its worth every second. If you’d like help creating a plan to love differently take the Love Differently Challenge here. But do it for yourself – not your children.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.