Lie #1: The Kids Come First
Have you ever known a mother who seemed to care more about her children than her husband? What about a husband who preferred spending time with his kids instead of his wife? How many divorces do you know of that occured right when the last child graduated from high school?
Psalms 127:3 (CEV) says, “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” We couldn’t agree more strongly. We have three children and we love them like crazy. We see our kids as one of the best gifts the Lord gave us and although we value them immensely, we love each other even more. That’s the way God designed it. The proper priority within the family should be your spouse and then your children.
When children are young they need a lot of care and attention. When a newborn first enters the world, that baby is completely dependent on others to survive. This changes as children grow up and become more independent.
But some parents are unable to make the break and allow their children to separate from them. They continue to focus on their kids, often ignoring or downplaying the needs of their spouse. This is wrong. The best parents are the ones who love their kids lavishly and respectfully, but they love their spouse even more. Make sure you’re putting your spouse first.
One way we practiced this in our marriage is that when Brad would come home from work at the end of each day, he would hug our kids and briefly engage with them. He would then kindly tell them that he needed to connect with their Mom and hear about her day, and then he’d be available for them once again. He would say that he needed 20 minutes, and if they were too young to know how long it would be, he’d show them on the clock what it should say when 20 minutes had gone by.
This communicated to our children that Heidi was his priority. Our children knew they were loved, but they also recognized that their mommy was special and she got their dad’s attention first.
Another way to communicate that your spouse is your priority is to remember your spouse’s birthday and anniversary. You probably give your children gifts and/or a party on their birthday. Make sure that you celebrate your spouse’s birthday as well. Do something special for your anniversary. It’s confusing for children when they’re honored more than their mom or dad is. The best parents are the ones who love their spouse first and then their kids.
How have you endeavored to keep your marriage as a higher priority than your children? When your priorities are right and lived out that way, you’ll honor your children and you will build your marriage.