Spouse or Kids: Who Comes First?

Mar 14, 2013 by


A few days ago, Jim and I were watching Good Morning America together on our day off. We love a slow morning with a late breakfast at one of our favorite cafes. Great way to start a day off.

This particular morning a news segment quickly caught our attention. Good Morning America was doing a piece on Giuliana Rancic about marriage and children. She and her husband, Bill, have a new 5-month-old baby boy. Giuliana recently told Us Magazine her secret to a happy marriage. “The best thing we can do for him [their son] is have a strong marriage.” She went on to explain that they have made their marriage a priority over their son. The marriage comes first.

What a wonderful statement of the legacy she and Bill are establishing for their son. Our spouse is supposed to be our first priority and then our children second. Those children are only with us for a very short 18 years or so. But our spouse is with us for a lifetime. I determined a long time ago that I would not come to the day when the kids were gone and end up sitting across the table from a stranger. I wanted to see my best friend looking back at me. So we have purposefully found ways to make each other a priority. Here are just a few:

  • Kiss one another when we come home or leave each other.
  • Make time every day to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation.
  • If we have especially good news or bad news, we always tell each other first before anyone else.
  • Regular intimate moments.

Now the real reason this piece made GMA news was because it had sent the mommy bloggers crazy. One blog on JenandBarb.com said, “Babies take precedence over everything.” One of the moms said tongue-in-cheek, “Actually, the breakdown is my children, my girlfriends, then my husband.” But how many women or men would believe that to be the absolute truth?

Now while children do require our time to take care of their needs, they do not have to control our lives.  There is a two-part decision to be made here. 1. How will I mentally prioritize the people in my life? And 2. How will I divide my time between them?

The attitude of the heart is a huge area to examine. As parents, we can easily place our children in front of our spouse in our hearts. They are young, moldable, sweet, and in most cases, they absolutely adore us. We also have complete control over them.

Our spouse on the other hand comes fully-grown with all their idiosyncrasies, habits, and opinions. Even though none of us ever completely stop growing and changing, our spouse is basically take-me-as-you-see-me. Who they are as an adult has been fully formed. But we can determine in our heart to place our spouse above the children and then, make our actions match our heart.

We simply cannot put our spouse in second place and expect to develop a lasting relationship that will survive child-rearing and continue after those children leave the house. Mel Robbins, a radio host and relationship expert closed the GMA segment with “If you want a one-way ticket to divorce, just put your kids ahead of your spouse.”

What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear from you.

~Jim and Jerolyn


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