mom

Why My Husband Will Always Come Before My Kids

by Marielle Petkoff
Marielle is a business analyst turned stay-at-home mama, living in Minnesota with her husband and two little loves. She writes about faith and motherhood at TheResplendent.com, and likes long walks down the aisles of Target, spending Friday nights on the couch watching Parenthood, and anything containing the ingredients chocolate or caffeine.

“My husband comes before my kids.”

Have you heard someone say that before? I’m sure you have. And I’m guessing that when you hear that statement, you either nod your head in agreement or you are extremely confused by it. You might even think the people saying it are crazy and/or bad moms.

Well, in my life, this statement is true (or at least, I strive for it to be). When asked the order of my priorities in life, this is how it goes: God, my husband, and then, my kids. Yes, I’m one of those women. And I’m fairly certain that 99 percent of people who think I’m crazy for saying this have no idea what I actually mean by it.

So, just to clear up any confusion, let me explain exactly what I mean when I say, “My husband comes before my kids.”

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It means that for the 18 plus years that my kids are living in my house, I will continue to prioritize and invest time into my marriage relationship. It’s the difference between saying “we’ll have time together again one day” and “how can we have time together, today.”

And it’s not just that.

Putting my husband first means that I will not pursue or invest time into anything that could permanently hurt or negatively impact our relationship. So when making decisions for our family, we ask, will this negatively impact my marriage in any way? If the answer is ‘yes’ or even ‘maybe,’ then we don’t pursue it. Anything that hurts my marriage will ultimately hurt my kids.

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For example, if we are contemplating whether or not to sign little Susie Q up for her third extra-curricular activity, and we know that between Jackie’s basketball practice, and Susie’s soccer games and dance classes, my husband and I will already barely have time to exchange glances throughout the week, then we will say “no.” If it will cause us to neglect our marriage, then it’s not worth it. Sure, Susie would have enjoyed that art class, but in the long run, she will benefit more from happy parents who communicate well and find time to love one another more than cranky parents who are slowly growing further and further apart.

Therefore, in this scenario, I put what is best for my husband and I before what may seem “best” for my kid.

Let me put it this way: Imagine your family is a house. You and your husband are the foundation, and your kids are the rooms. What good would it do to keep the rooms super clean and tidy if the foundation is crumbling?

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And vice versa, it wouldn’t make any sense to have a strong and beautiful foundation with decrepit, neglected rooms inside. All parts of the house are important. But at the end of the day, if the foundation crumbles, the rooms go with it. We must secure the foundation before we worry about decorating the rooms.

What it doesn’t mean: Putting my husband before my kids doesn’t mean I neglect my kids in any way or somehow treat my husband like a child. It doesn’t mean I always serve my husband’s dinner plate first, that I leave my young children unsupervised in the living room because my husband yelled for me, or that I constantly drop everything for him.

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Putting your husband first is about saving a little of yourself each day for him. Maybe some days you won’t do so well. Maybe some weeks and months will be harder than others. But at the end of the day, instead of saying “oh well, it can wait,” you run to the calendar and you pencil in a date night. And then? You make darn well sure it happens. You don’t let yourself get so busy with life and kids that you throw your marital relationship to the wayside.

It’s about making sure that after your kids are grown, you don’t wake up one day and find yourself staring across the breakfast table at a complete stranger. It’s about holding true to your vows to love each other even when it’s not easy or convenient (and remembering that love is a choice, not a feeling, which plays out in our actions). It’s about remembering that you were a wife before you were a mommy. It’s about growing and learning and actually doing life together, including the parenting part.

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So, why must I make a conscious effort to prioritize my husband? Well, let’s be honest, it’s easy to love your kids. You birthed them. They are a part of you. Your spouse, on the other hand, isn’t always as easy to love. The relationship with your husband is one you chose. It doesn’t always come as naturally.

Life gets in the way. Kids get in the way. So that is why it is so important to continue to make the effort to uphold your vows, day after day, even when it’s not convenient. Even in those years when it would be easy to let kids take over your world. Because you made a covenant. You promised your husband that you would love him through all that life had to bring, including kids.

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And when you love your husband well, you will reap the benefits. In my house, when our marriage is strong, our family is strong. We make wiser, more sound decisions as a couple. My kids feel safe, secure, comfortable, and loved. They learn balance. They learn what a healthy relationship looks like. When my husband and I thrive, so do our kids.

At the end of the day, when you do what is best for your relationship with your husband, you are doing what is best for your entire family.