Recently my daughter asked my husband, “Who do you love the most?”
Without hesitation, my amazing husband said, “Your mom.”
My daughter feigned disappointment then giggled and moved on with life. Meanwhile, I was struck with the depth of that simple interaction. I began to wonder how important our marriage really is in the midst of raising children. Should my husband love me the most or should our children be the center of our world right now? Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that prioritizing our marriage really is important.
It’s so important, in fact, that our marriage should take priority over our children, and this is why…
1. Putting our marriage first is Biblical.
Scripture doesn’t blatantly say, “Thou shalt prioritize your marriage over your children.” Sure, that would be convenient, but a basic understanding of what marriage is basically says that very thing. Just in God’s way.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
In marriage, the two became one flesh. We are one unit. The children that result from that one unit are separate. We are not three or four or five that become one. No one is added to that original unit once it is established. Eventually our kids will do just as we did and leave us, holding fast to their spouse, becoming one flesh.
2. Putting our marriage first prepares us for long term.
Not long after I left the nest myself, I was surprised by how many of my friends’ parents were getting divorces. I couldn’t imagine being married for so many years just to suddenly throw it all away. I didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t sudden at all, but it was from years of neglect.
Children are time consuming. They need our attention and care for so many years. While our spouse is top priority, the fact of the matter is we put a lot more time and effort into our children as a necessity. It’s so easy to lose ourselves in the daily grind of raising babies and completely neglect to nurture our marriage. What’s left when all those littles grow up and leave home? A starving marriage on the brink of death. Prioritizing our marriage even in the exhausting (yet rewarding!) journey that is child-rearing will protect us from crumbling when that day-to-day job is over. A well cared for marriage will enjoy an empty nest like a second honeymoon!
3. Putting our marriage first will give our children a solid example to follow.
The last thing we want for our children is to see their marriages fall prey to divorce. Statistics say that children of divorced parents have a 35%-60% higher divorce rate! The bottom line is, our kids just might follow in our footsteps so we need to be careful where we walk. We’ve been tasked with the privilege to train our kids up in the way they should go, teaching them what a godly marriage looks like through our example. Let’s not take that lightly.
4. Putting our marriage first lends to happier children.
Our kids struggle enough with self-centeredness, don’t you think? It’s part of our sinful nature to think of ourselves first. A child who is the center of his or her parents’ universe will also be the center of their own. Imagine the shock of leaving home only to find that they’re no longer number one! It’ll be a painful reality they haven’t had the opportunity to learn how to handle before being thrust into the real world.
Not only that, but children who grow up with unhappy parents tend to struggle with insecurity and mistrust. Kids are more intuitive than we often give them credit for. They know when something isn’t right even if they can’t pinpoint what that something is. Children who are blessed with happily married parents will grow up with a sense of security, and, ironically, feeling loved.
Take the time to love your spouse. Be intentional about prioritizing each other while shamelessly telling your children that you love Daddy the most. A stronger marriage means a stronger family, and we could really use a few more of those these days.
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