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Who Comes First—Your Children or Your Spouse?

Who Comes First? Child or Spouse?
Grown Ups Contributor Lynda Harlos dishes on why keeping your spouse close is good for the whole family.

Child or Spouse?

A recent Facebook post caught my attention: Who comes first—your children or your spouse? I couldn’t help but read the comments, and I was surprised to see how many people immediately identified their children.

We’re all naturally protective toward our children; we want them to be safe, happy, and healthy. Sometimes we even take it to extremes, giving up anything and everything to ensure our children are cared for in every possible way. But even those protective urges didn’t explain why so many people placed their children before their spouses.

A closer examination of the replies revealed telling information: the people who had rocky or stressed relationships with their spouses indicated that “the children should come first.” Conversely, the people who tended to have loving, supportive relationships with their spouses usually answered “the spouse should come first.”

We all know children don’t need two parents to have a loving, fabulous home environment. But when there’s tension between two parents, it’s bound to transfer (however inadvertently) to your children. If you have a partner, a supportive partner, in childcare, you have more resources to get more done. If you put your spouse first and ensure you make time to nurture your own relationship, you’ll an unbreakable couple that’s well-equipped to handle any challenge. Your kids will notice.

But here’s my issue with the original question: Why is it a competition? Shouldn’t we give both our spouses and our children our very best? Parenting is a choice, and it’s a joint effort and responsibility. When both parents look out for one another and freely exhibit love and care, they set a positive example for their children. Become partners, and maybe your children will look for one, too.

About the author

Lynda Harlos

Lynda Harlos

Happily married with 4 children, I love helping parents realize they are not alone in their every day struggles and helping to relieve some of the guilt we tend to needlessly carry is the objective of my blog and book. Ensuring the reading does not feel condemnation even if they do things completely differently than what I suggest, I still tend to give a "No Nonsense Approach" to my advice. I welcome comments and suggestions of how others try to deal with any subject within my articles.

  • Michelle

    I agree, it’s not a competition. My FAMILY comes first.

  • Tonya

    This is one of those loaded questions that can really become a divisive topic. I agree with you, I don’t know why I need to choose one or the other.

  • Michelle

    I think this is a very good point. I’d much rather be a unified front with my family instead of choosing one over the other.

  • Valerie Remy-Milora

    I could not agree more, it should not be a competition and we teach through what we model. Equally important is a loving relationship with oneself. And for me the foundation of all loving relationships is my relationship with God.

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