Don’t Forsake Your Spouse For Your Children (Or Anyone Else)

married-with-kidsMost of us take a vow at our wedding ceremony that states that going forward we will be “forsaking all others” for the person we are marrying.

If it’s one of the vows you made to your spouse, it’s just as important as vowing to keep yourself sexually faithful. But if we were to look into the lives of most married couples, we would see a lot of forsaking, but not of those outside the marriage. We would probably see a lot of allegiance to immediate family (mother, father, siblings) and, as mentioned in the title of this article, children.

Many couples wear themselves out working for their children and are left with no energy to contribute to their marriage. Between soccer practice, tutoring, piano lessons, ballet lessons, and school demands, if many of us were honest, all our spouse gets from us is scraps (if that).

And we wonder why resentment builds until a marriage dies.

Here are 5 ways to protect your marriage from your children (and others):

5. Accept that your child does not have to be involved in a lot of extracurricular activities or get straight A’s. There is more to life and raising children than academia and hobbies.

What’s more, studies show that children who aren’t micromanaged academically do better in college and in their careers – but even if that wasn’t the case, the acquisition of knowledge currently believed to be important by society is STILL not worthy of being given more importance and dedication than the person you married. If your child makes C’s, but your marriage is happy, healthy, and stable, your child is better off than if he/she made straight A’s but lived with parents in a troubled marriage or who were divorced.

Married couples ought to raise a hand to the face of this academic-obsessed culture. Your child could actually learn more from temporary academic failure than from being forced to study and prepare. Contrary to what the academic industry would have you believe, your child can recover from lackluster grades in many ways (in fact, many of the wealthiest people in the world never earned college degrees). But children of broken homes carry wounds and scars that can last a lifetime. Even if that weren’t the case, your spouse deserves to be placed on the pedestal you promised for him/her.

4. Your parents, siblings and children are second to your spouse.Do not side with your parents over your spouse on serious matters. Give your spouse at least the respect you would your parents. Insist the burdens of aging parents or family disabilities be shared equally by your family so that you are not adding to your work/errand/chore load that squeezes time away from your spouse. Do not participate in negative talk about your spouse with anyone and do not put up with it from anyone else either. Never give someone else authority over your spouse.

3. Make date night sacred.Except in cases of emergencies, make it a rule that you do not do anything for anyone else that night. It can wait. Your child has an important test in the morning? Okay, but you don’t and date night is more important. Give him/her the gift of learning to be independent and of having parents who recharge weekly with a date night dedicated to the two of them without distraction. Whomever it is, unless someone’s life or safety is at risk, it can wait – and it should. Learn to say “no” to others and to say ‘yes’ to your spouse.

2. Be opportunistic at carving out and finding time alone with your spouse. On a family trip with parents or inlaws? Offer your parents some special one-on-one time with their grandkids while you and your souse go out. Walk around Disney Land or the beach just the two of you. Have a nice meal or see some of the local attractions. Get a hotel room and have unhurried sex. Be vigilant in looking for times where you can be alone as a couple. Make it a hobby of yours!

1. Speak kinder to your spouse than to anyone else. Sure, we should be as polite and kind as possible to others, but sometimes we have to be firm with our children. And sometimes when we’ve been double charged but customer service isn’t very service-minded we have to talk tough. But our spouse deserves the benefit of the doubt and dedicated respect. Be respectful by refusing to argue in front of anyone else. Listen to understand – not to win a debate. Choose your words carefully and constructively. Be disciplined with and pay close attention to your tone of voice so that your words are taken at face value and don’t sound harsh or hateful.

Invest in your marriage. Dividends are paid back in lifelong love and commitment as well as children who feel loved and see it modeled.

Place your spouses desires, needs, feelings, and love above all others. No exceptions!

Recommended Reading:

 Put Sizzle and Sanity in Your Marriage!

21 Irresistible Recipes for Couples is exactly what you’re looking for, if …

* You and your spouse have a great marriage but desire to grow even closer;
* You and your spouse are struggling and need help recapturing the “magic”;
* You have never been married and want to know the key success factors for a “forever” relationship;
* You have been married and want to better understand where things went wrong so you can prepare for a new future with love and commit;
* You have a friend or family member who has a struggling marriage and you want to offer them a fast-paced, easy-to-read book with marriage helps.

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