Thursday, July 29, 2010

Who’s #1: Marriage or Kids?

First comes love then comes marriage then comes baby in a baby carriage…..then what?
Lately I’ve heard a lot of dialogue about whether couples should place their marriage over their kids as a priority in their relationship. My guess is most people will say it depends on the situation. Oddly, my husband and I only talked about this topic after we had our daughter. His first response was, “KLV comes first, of course.” I retorted, “She will come first most of the time but if we are not in sync there will be no us and she will be left with divorced parents.” He agreed but truth be known, KLV has stolen his heart :-)
I think it’s incredibly easy to put the kids first in a marriage. But should we be?
Is there any coincidence in a divorce rate of 40-50% when kids, careers and (fill in the blank) all come before a marriage?
What do you think, should the kids come before the marriage in a relationship?

21 comments:

  1. (My initial comment got got lost thanks to my browser)

    I believe that there is a balance between the two. At any given time, you put first what needs the attention most. It's a real juggling act.

    My mom once said that children grow up and leave the house and spouses don't.

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  2. What a great topic, one that is near to my heart.

    No contest for us - my husband comes first. He is the love of my life and my number one priority. That doesn't mean that he doesn't have to wait sometimes for my attention (or vice versa). It just means he is the most important person in my life. In fact at dinner, we will ask the kids to stay quiet for a few moments (difficult for the 2 year old, but the 4 and 6 year olds have it figured out) just so he and I can talk.

    I think kids NEED to see the marriage relationship as priority #1. It gives them security and a foundation. I was never in doubt that my parents loved each other. I might have rolled my eyes at their kissing antics, but I knew they loved each other and still do 40 years later. I want my kids to roll their eyes at their lovey dovey parents someday.

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  3. Great topic and question. Theoretically, I think it's best to put your relationship (time together - alone) ahead of children, but that's an ideal. It's really hard to do, especially as kids get older. Older children have a way of sucking up a lot of your energy, not to mention time spent carting them around to various activies. I think a healthy relationship/marriage, can survive a few years of taking a back burner to all that parenting requires. But, at some point you have to feed the relationship and move it to the front burner again. It is about balance and as children grow, they need to understand that mommies and daddies need alone time.

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  4. Love this topic! I agree that it is a balancing act. The kids require so much attention that usually I'm spent at the end of the day and I don't have the energy to focus on my own needs nevermind my hubby's. I love him very much though and I've really had to learn to work on spending quality time with him and putting us first sometimes.

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  5. I think it's apples and oranges so you can't compare. Your RELATIONSHIP with your spouse should be top priority - you've chosen to join your lives together and exist as a team and that means alot of hard work and dedication. When a couple neglects their relationship that's when things fall apart. Your AVAILABILITY to your kids should be top priority too. Your kids depend on you for life, essentially, and need you to be available to provide all that entails. Things fall apart for them when you neglect that responsibility. The problem comes when someone confuses these two things (relationship vs. availability) and feels like they have to put one over they other. I wholeheartedly disagree. You can be 100% engaged in your relationship with your spouse and still be 100% engaged as a parent because they are different. Does that mean it's easy? Certainly not! And sometimes the needs of both overlap. But I think it's a misnomer to say that one has to chose between them.

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  6. That's got a million right answers. In my opinion,your kids need to see that you have a good marriage, because that how where they learn to have healthy relationships. I don't think it's really about which one is more important, because to me, they are equally important.

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  7. What a great post! It is a balancing act between marriage and children, but my marriage needs to be strong so I can be strong for my children and give them a good example of what marriage is. But I think truthfully God needs to come first then marriage and children, actually God would be the center! If we put God first it is much easier to handle our marriage and children. Both are clearly very important but God is the most important. IMO

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  8. Great post, TV! I agree it's a balancing act in practice, I mean with the hubs away at work for most hours of the day while I'm w/ the kids at home, it takes a lot more time to "make up" for the time w/ kids.

    However, to the best of my ability I hold in my mind & heart that Hubby is priority over the kids. The hardest part is when Hubby doesn't feel like he's a part of things as much, but what can you do about that? I try to make up for it w/ words of encouragement and praise for him.

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  9. Wow, love the post and the comments! I think Aimee is SO right :) My husband and I sometimes feel like we've lost our "adult" time because having a three year old and one year old can be so demanding. Not that we don't love our children, but we want to make sure we focus on each other too! Great POST...got me thinking!

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  10. Now that my children are older, hindsight (which is a heck of a tool) tells me that I should have taken a little more time to work on the marriage when the kids were growing up. However, I firmly believe mothers and fathers have to be the champions/protectors/teachers for each child and that is sometimes exhausting work. But it is also liberating to finally figure out, your child will survive (I use that in it's broadest sense) without you one night each month. My advice to young mothers? Make date night mandatory each month.

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  11. Awesome, timely, topic. Given our kids are at the in laws tonight, we spent some quality time not only on us, but also on ourselves. Hubby got his run in while I did Yoga. We had a great (late) dinner (we didn't have to eat at 5 to rush to get out the door to some activity). We've just been enjoying each other and the silence. I read my People mag from cover to cover!

    And then, we called them and heard about their day. And now I'm sad because they're not here. Now, I'm missing them.

    Hard to have it both ways.

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  12. TV, thank you for being my blogger buddy :) I gave you an award too! Come check it out at http://jinnialow.com/the-thankfulness-continues/

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  13. In theory, this is what we decided a long time ago:
    We invest in ourselves first.
    That fills us up, makes us whole, and we are able to offer more to our marriage second.
    That builds a strong familial foundation that our children can blossom in third.

    Whenever we lose sight of this and don't fill up our own tanks, and our love tanks, it all seems to fall apart. We can't give to our children what we don't have ourselves.

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  14. You can put both first. Why choose one over another? Although don't listen to me since I recently posted about how I needed an intervention and have never been able to leave my daughter alone.

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  15. TV I know I left a message here. Did you get it? Well, I would like to say thank you for your sweet comment. You are always so kind! Have a great night!

    Mama Hen

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  16. Marriage & family raises so many questions, in my mind! It's so hard to find the right balance and perspective.

    I'd like to share an award with you! It's at
    http://discoveringthemeinmommy.blogspot.com/2010/07/another-award_30.html

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  17. This is something I've been reading & discussing with people a lot lately. I am of the opinion that the marriage comes first because if mom & dad aren't connecting, then the entire environment for the child is skewed. But I don't believe that putting the marriage first means that the kids get neglected or pushed aside. It's just making sure that you are always aware of the climate & environment of things in your family - especially the marriage, which is the core relationship of the family - the relationship that started the rest of it.

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  18. I think there has to be a balance and that can be really hard to do sometimes! Obviously there are many things that kids can't do for themselves and there for it is our job as parents to help guide them through those things in life. But taking time out for your spouse should not be something that gets neglected! Striking a balance is the only way, at least that is how I feel!

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  19. This is a great topic that speaks to my heart. I know exactly how you feel and I can say that there should be a balance but your husband should be first. If you don't keep the marriage as a top priority there won't be a family in the long run. The rest will just fall into place after wards. The relationship between married couples fails after children because once the babies leave the nest what is left if they put the kids first? Nothing. That couple has nothing between them anymore because they filled themselves with something else for the 18+ years of raising children. Sometimes they fall apart before the children are grown because they are not #1 anymore. Thanks for discussing this. Glad I found you through the Nestwork!

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  20. Hey TV, I love that I keep seeing everyone getting around from the "Nestwork" like my frined Tiffany above! She was one of my first bloggy friends when I started blogging! It makes me happy to bring everyone together! I want to say thank you for your sweet comment! My Dad was an amazing man! He really made such a huge difference here on earth. Have a great night!

    Mama Hen

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  21. Great post!

    Marriage comes first. If you don't keep a relationship with your spouse while the kids are small, there's nothing there once the kids are grown!

    At least, that's what I've found in the various relationships around me. :)

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