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Marriage or kids #1 priority? - Page 4

post #61 of 116



Couldn't have said it better myself!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post

If you and your spouse are united in putting the kids first, doing that and putting the marriage first are the same thing.

 

Certainly, it's good for the whole family - kids included - if parents get the occasional night out alone, that type of thing.  But when it comes to making sacrifices, if both parents agree that the kids' needs should be the top priority (while they're still minors), then, for example, sacrificing, a special couple's vacation or date nights at expensive restaurants, to pay for the kids' tuition or college savings; or giving up alone-time in your room to let a toddler sleep with you; doesn't mean you're putting your marriage second.  Knowing you're doing the best possible job of raising your kids IS a marital priority, something that makes you feel pleased and on the right track, together.



 

post #62 of 116

As the child of divorced parents, the idea of making marriage a priority is huge for me. And as an only child, raised by a mother who made me her everything, I completely agree with the above poster who said to make sure your children know they are loved but not the center of the universe. Let me tell you from experience, you cannot (despite your very fervent intentions) take care of your children as well if you are not making sure your marriage is taken care of. Like other posters said, the two aren't actually separate. 

 

I do see why some of you are balking at the idea of putting children "second", as if they're less important human beings. As co-sleepers and semi-attachment-parenters, we're always negotiating the boundary of how to give your all to your children, not balking at making sacrifices in your personal habits ala "children should be seen"-style parenting. Attachment parenting is not incommensurate with making your marriage "first" -- what AP doesn't work with is making yourSELF first. But then, neither does marriage. 

post #63 of 116

I feel like I am hearing a lot of temporal answers. "Right now" the kids are our number one priority, etc ... when I listen to this question- I feel like it really asks for a "big picture" answer.

 

Which is our number #1 priority- marriage or kids?

 

That's a hard question for any parent to think about. Right now, my husband and I have a 6.5 year old, 3 year old and an 11 month old and we are not done having babies. We are definitely in the "kids attached at our hips" stage in our lives. We love it. We are happy. Our kids love it. They are happy.

 

BUT our kids will not be living with us forever- at some point, they will go to school and/or get married, possibly move far away (Please no! I want my grandbabies near me!!) ... and we will move onto a new chapter where it is just us (my husband & I). For the rest of our lives, it will be us.

 

I think this question's answer is really formed in the way you look at marriage. We married each other for life. So for us, our relationship is THE most important relationship we will ever give our energy to.

 

Do most of our time, energy, thoughts, prayers, advices, kisses, etc, go towards our children on a daily basis- YES! Eventually and realistically, however, our children will be adults someday. Because of this, our kids are OUR priority but our marriage is our number #1 focus. All other positive, heartfelt, life decisions and children come from this focus- not the other way around.

 

We DO go on dates when we can- usually with the youngest baby in tow (still feels like a date if you don't have all three!). Putting your marriage first doesn't have anything to do with dates and trips. To me, this life focus signifies: I will respect my husband despite disagreements, we will be a team (even when our 6.5 year old "slyly" tries to divide us), we will hold hands and even "make out" in public no matter how old we are, we will cuddle every morning for a few minutes before we face the day, we will maintain our sex life and our communication. This all can be done while still keeping our kids close ... but we will not lose our identity as a couple in the choas.

 

I want to come out the other side knowing we have grown older together and that we still know each other as well, if not better, than when we first fell in love.

post #64 of 116

I put my ds WAY ahead of my husband.  A spouse can take care of themselves, a child cannot.  

 

I'm a single parent, and I should have probably left my husband years before I did.  It took having a kid to realize where my priority should be.  I put my son first, got divorced and our lives are much better for it.   

post #65 of 116

Much like everyone else, I think it's a balance. However, my husband and I always believed that children were added to a family, they don't create one. So for us, making sure our family unit is in a good place is important whether that be between us, or between us and DD, or DD and any future children we might have.

post #66 of 116

What a great conversation.

 

I came from a divorced home, so my marriage and my relationship with my husband does come before my children, but I don't think that means that my children are neglected or less important. And we still very much practice attachment parenting.

 

Based on what I experienced growing up I feel that the very best thing I can do for my children is to love and respect their father and that he does the same for me. This doesn't mean we neglect our children or leave them out. We do have bi-monthly date nights without the children, but they LOVE those nights because they get to either spend it with their grandparents or with their favorite babysitter. We still cosleep but DH and I make sure that we make an effort to be intimate outside of the bed where the children are even if it takes more time, planning, and energy.

 

I would say putting our marriage first does require a little extra sometimes. For example, we do have a babysitter and I invested a lot of time having her over and spending time with me and the kids so they felt comfortable with her while I wasn't there. Of course most of your time and energy goes to your children (especially when they are really young) but we always make sure to keep the health of our marriage a top priority because someday our children will be grown and all we will have left everyday is each other and we want to enjoy that time and not look at each other and wonder what happened.

post #67 of 116

I seriously think that anyone who would divorce his or her spouse because that spouse is too focused on the kids is probably someone that the family is better off without. I agree with Jeanine that putting the kids first during their high need times IS putting the marriage first. Of course, I also believe in making sure my dh feels loved. This is fairly easy for me since he has never demanded that I stint our children in any way in order to "prove" my love for him.

 

I guess I can understand the fearfulness about marriage problems for people who've been badly hurt by divorce. In my case, I'm naturally concerned during times when I feel like dh and I are losing touch. I naturally put a little more effort into getting us back into communication. But I'm simply not scared that he's going to cheat on me or leave me just because things are crappy at a particular moment. We just get through it and go on.

 

I'm sorry that this hasn't been the norm for many people. Of course, when I say crappy I'm not talking about abuse, but really more of a feeling that things are not as good as they could be. I do believe that there are some situations that definitely warrant a divorce.

post #68 of 116

For those who put their marriage first, I do have one question. What does that actually look like, on a day-to-day basis? I mean...dh and I are both wiped out. We're financially tight right now (not broke, but we bought a new minivan last January, and it won't be paid off for a while yet - it puts a  strain on the monthly cash flow...and ds1's grad year has been bizarrely expensive). DH is hugely important to me, and I love him tremendously. I also agree with the poster who said that he and I are for life. DS1 is already on the verge of moving out (would be doing so, except that he can pay his way loan-free through his three year post-secondary program if he lives at home). I know that the other three will do so, eventually, although it's still a long way off for dd2!

 

But, I just...we can't reasonably afford date night very often. We don't have a lot of energy for getting through the day, let alone putting a bunch into each other. I just can't quite imagine what putting each other first would look like.

post #69 of 116

For me this is what I do. Sometimes it doesn't always happen but I know for  my husband it speaks his love language and he feels appreciated at the same time as well as leaves us both connected in a lot of ways. We are financially tight as well to what I say is broke. Before DD came along and in the last 6 yrs. I always get up with DH before he leaves for work and I make the coffee and fill his mug. The night before I lay out his clothes so its all ready for him. (he is very capable of doing so himself, I just choose to do so). When he comes home from PT in the morning I make him breakfast and lay out his uniform for him on the bed. Again he is very able to do so himself I just do it because 1. I enjoy doing it for him and I know it helps him out. He views it as an act of service(his primary love language) and 2. he works such long hours that now with DD he misses out on a lot of the little stuff so this way he can spend a few extra minutes with DD.

If he will be home by 730pm I will wait and eat with him. However if he isn't home by 730 or doesn't call or text and say hey I will be home in a few I will go ahead and eat without him. DD gets fed before that but I will wait for him. 

 

Now when I first had DD and sleep deprived I adjusted a few things. Like if DD was up and fallen back asleep like a half hour before DH got up I would make his coffee set his mug out with a note and go to sleep myself. After we got adjusted I started getting up with him again. Even if I would go back to sleep soon after he left. Same with his breakfast during that time he ate a lot of quick microwave breakfast or made them himself. 

 

Every since we got married he has had some form of job that he was never home much. He drove truck the first 2 yrs of our marriage. some odd normal jobs in between then finally joined the army our 3rd year of marriage. Every Sunday night when he left on the road I always stuck a note in his bag. That has continued to now everytime he leaves for the Army be it field training, deployment or schooling there is always a note. Now I have added one from DD as well. Although I forgot this last trip so while he understands I felt like crap. He also knows its there but not to open it till he has left the house and on the plane or to his destination. 

 

Date nights yeah don't happen since having DD. But once a month what we will do is after DD goes to bed we will watch a movie either one we already own or if there is one we really want to see that is on PPV we will order it, play a card/board game or a video game and have a late supper. Or we will just sit outside or in the living room and talk with no distractions.  (which is huge since his phone is more of a distraction then anything) Of course if DD wakes up its gets squashed temporarily. Or if we do have a few extra bucks we will go out to eat. Eating out is a treat for us. So even with DD with it still is nice. 

 

Our biggest hurdle we have at the moment is sex. and that is because we are just so both exhausted. I am chasing around a 9 month old and pregnant, he is working such long hours that its hasn't been happening as much as we like. But in turn we have been doing a lot of cuddling at night something that we generally don't do. 

 

I hate all things mechanics like working on stuff just not my cup of tea at all. But I will sit out with him if DD is napping and watch him and talk to him. 

 

We have had our fair share of problems down to almost getting a divorce but we have always worked through them and improved in the areas we need be. We stopped looking at our marriage as what can I can get out of this and what can I do for the other person even. I found the Love Dare and the 5 Love Languages to be very helpful for us. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

For those who put their marriage first, I do have one question. What does that actually look like, on a day-to-day basis? I mean...dh and I are both wiped out. We're financially tight right now (not broke, but we bought a new minivan last January, and it won't be paid off for a while yet - it puts a  strain on the monthly cash flow...and ds1's grad year has been bizarrely expensive). DH is hugely important to me, and I love him tremendously. I also agree with the poster who said that he and I are for life. DS1 is already on the verge of moving out (would be doing so, except that he can pay his way loan-free through his three year post-secondary program if he lives at home). I know that the other three will do so, eventually, although it's still a long way off for dd2!

 

But, I just...we can't reasonably afford date night very often. We don't have a lot of energy for getting through the day, let alone putting a bunch into each other. I just can't quite imagine what putting each other first would look like.



 

post #70 of 116

This is all interesting. We have some similar dynamics. I think dh's primary (or maybe secondary - he really, really likes sex) love language is probably acts of service. That doesn't work out that well, as I'm just too wiped. (I also don't like receiving acts of service all that much, which is an ongoing "thing".) I could never do what you do in the morning, because dh is the morning person around here (actually, he makes my coffee on weekends!). So, there are differences, but the overall picture is fairly similar to ours...but I don't feel that I put my marriage first.

 

As with all subjects like this, I think maybe we're all interpreting terms differently or something...

post #71 of 116

good question Storm Bride,

 

As I stated, for everyone its different. I agree, everyone has different Love Languages. Also, putting your marriage first before children, or Anything. I have a BIL for didnt have children but put his marriage after his career, and most likely marriage was third or maybe more than that. His previous wife had so many designer bags, not that she cared. But he traveled a lot and all around the world for days at a time. He after being gone for days or weeks, no doubt presented her with a new fab expensive bag or whatever. How lucky she is to receive! Right? WRONG. But that was his love language, material possessions.

I have heard spouses do this to each other. And fail.

 

I think putting your marriage first can be done for pennies or just minutes daily. Coffee in the morning not your thing? Find something else maybe a folded shirt or a little note in his car etc.

 

Since we had 5 years in our married life before having the children, we knew what worked for one another.  

post #72 of 116

DH and I have never been together without kids. He met me when ds1 was seven, and moved in when ds1 was eight.

 

I think we are just interpreting things differently, though. We're not note in the lunchbox type people, but I wouldn't consider that sort of thing as putting the marriage first. I'd just consider it part of keeping the balance. In many ways, the kids are "first" right now, as ds2 probably has special needs, and dd2 is still a barely verbal toddler. But, we strive for balance, and the kids being first doesn't mean I just ignore him (although I have had a regrettable tendency to treat him as a servant in my early weeks post-partum/poat-op :o ).

post #73 of 116

I think that is what makes some difference is for us we had been married 7 yrs before we got pregnant with DD. So it turned more into how do I balance being a new mom as well as being a wife. It is all about balance and I think wording is just that and how one reads it and not really meaning to take the word priority as face value. For us its more about the intent of something rather then the actual action. If I am doing stuff to just do it with no heart into it, DH would be offended and say no thanks I will do it myself. But if I am doing it because I want to do it then it is different. So I also think some of it is how your SO feels about it. We still struggle in a lot of areas.  

post #74 of 116

I don't think you have to choose, as long as you are mindful to both. If I have to choose, I guess it would be my marriage. I don't know if my actions would support that claim, though.

 

There are seasons where our marriage is on the back burner, but I am in this for the long run. It's not like I would ever choose not to meet my son's needs... but it certainly is easy to neglect a husband, and so I make a conscious effort to love on him, too. 

post #75 of 116

I think when people talk about putting their marriage first, it simply means that making sure the marriage is a priority and all one's energy isn't used up on the kids with nothing left for the marriage.  It doesn't mean you have to use babysitters and take vacations without the kids and make the babies CIO.  It simply means that the spouses need to take time for each other.  That could even involve things like strapping a baby into a carrier and taking a walk together, or putting the kids to bed early so you have time together, or making each other their favorite meals, phone calls in the middle of the day.   Even something as simple as stopping what one is doing for 10 minutes and taking time to REALLY LISTEN when the other spouse tells you about their day.   How it looks will be different for each couple, but making sure that each spouse knows the other one is important, that their marriage is important and that they will take the time and energy to nurture it to the best of their ability.

post #76 of 116
I still completely reject the idea that either has to come first. There is no competition between my husband and our kids. We are a family, and our whole family comes first.
post #77 of 116

DH and I were talking about this last night. And another area he brought up was one way to keep the marriage first is by keeping a united front. That even if we may not agree on something that we don't hash it out in front the kids if its something big. Some disagreements are healthy but fighting and major discussions should be done in private or if one parent is taking control of the situation(not talking abuse because there are situations where I am sure one needs to step in) and the other parent stepping in because they say its not right my way is better. That really puts a wedge between the two and sets a front that its easy to pit mom and dad against each other. Also just showing respect to each other. While I know DH and I have very traditional backbone for our marriage as in he is the head of the household, he gets final say on a lot of things. We are a team and nothing gets done without discussion unless there isn't time to make one which happens at times with his job. And I just have to trust that what he decided was for good reason. 

 

I know if DH is taking care of DD it took me a bit to learn to back off and not be right there and let him find his own way. 

 

And its about even though I am tired or cranky I still take time and energy to put into my spouse and relationship that I make an effort to make sure they feel love. So many people have kids and all their time and energy goes into the kids that they just put everything else on the back burner from self, marriage to friends. 

post #78 of 116

I think this says it the best....

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ameliabedelia View Post

I think when people talk about putting their marriage first, it simply means that making sure the marriage is a priority and all one's energy isn't used up on the kids with nothing left for the marriage.  It doesn't mean you have to use babysitters and take vacations without the kids and make the babies CIO.  It simply means that the spouses need to take time for each other.  That could even involve things like strapping a baby into a carrier and taking a walk together, or putting the kids to bed early so you have time together, or making each other their favorite meals, phone calls in the middle of the day.   Even something as simple as stopping what one is doing for 10 minutes and taking time to REALLY LISTEN when the other spouse tells you about their day.   How it looks will be different for each couple, but making sure that each spouse knows the other one is important, that their marriage is important and that they will take the time and energy to nurture it to the best of their ability.



 

post #79 of 116

new2this, in reference to what you said about a united front, I used to think (before having kids) that my husband and I should never disagree in front of the children.

 

Then I had my had my own children and learned how very difficult it would be to ever have any real conversations if we saved all big discussions for the approximately ten or so minutes a day that we were both awake and our children were both asleep.

 

I do believe in disagreeing respectfully and not raising our voices to one another if we can help it. However, I now actually think there's value in children seeing that Mommy and Daddy can disagree and sometimes they can even get mad about something, and yet they still love each other and still stay together.

 

I also no longer see the term "united front" as a good analogy for the parent-child relationship since we are not at war with one another.

post #80 of 116

With things regarding the children, we do keep a united front. We pretty much agree 99% with the other regarding the raising of our children. There will be exceptions as there has been which usually the other helps the other backpeddle.

 

But yes, if we saved things we dont agree about to only when the kids are not present, we would have no times to just be us because we would be going over anything and everything. We dont normally fight but yes we disagree of various things and neither has any issue saying anything about it to the other. Not in an attacking way, but 'hey next time you are going upstairs please bring you 3 pairs of shoes.' Which btw, could be either of us saying it to the other one! Or DH reminding me to please please water the outside plants in the early AM because it was a sorcher and we just planted them. I forgot the day before and yes, please do it!
Of course then fast forward 3 days, we had a huge rainstorm. He said that morning, hey dont bother with the plants...both my kids just cracked up.

 

Also, yes I agree sometimes your marriage might take the back burner while something else takes priority. But there is a fine  line how to manage that. How long on the back burner and why? How do  you move it forward and away from the back burner?

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