You love your husband. You love your kids. Let’s be clear about one thing before you jump to any conclusions based on the title of this article alone. This isn’t about loving one more than the other. Can we really compare the love of our kids to the love of our husbands? Can it be quantified? No.
I love my husband in a romantic way. You can’t compare that love to the love of my children, which is a protective, maternal love. Both are unconditional, fierce, and fill my heart. One can’t replace the other and neither can be quantified as more than the other. If someone asked me to, I’d have to say I love them all the same.
Now that we’re clear about that, I want to make the case for putting your husband before your kids. It seems to go against our instinct as mothers a little bit, doesn’t it? The moment my first child was born, this love enveloped me, and it was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Every mother knows there are no words to adequately describe that love. The thought of putting anything in front of my child would have sounded absurd at that moment. That child was everything.
Putting your husband first, however, doesn’t diminish that love. It actually is because of that love. My children’s well being is dependent upon my relationship with my husband. When I think back to the best parts of my childhood, it’s the memories of my whole family together, when my parents were demonstrating their love of each other. The worst moments? When my parents were fighting. When I questioned if my parents were happy together.
I want to give my children the happiest childhood I can. That’s a worthy goal, right? I believe a big part of that is having a strong family unit they can depend upon. Having a strong marriage gives my children a sense of security. To get there, my husband’s needs have to be a top priority.
Putting my husband first doesn’t mean I neglect my children. If they are hungry, I feed them. I make sure their needs are met, both physically and emotionally. What I don’t do, however, is put my husband’s needs on the back burner because I allow motherhood to take over all that I am and all that I do.
Think about that. It’s easy to do. That encompassing love we feel for our children coupled with their intense needs can result in a forgotten husband. It can result in a relationship that is weakened as our children grow. I refuse to let that happen.
So what does it look like to put my husband first? It means I give him the best of me, not the leftover scraps after all of my energy is depleted meeting the needs of my kids and everything else in my life. I prioritize our relationship, which means I make time to have conversations with him, connect with him, and do things for him and with him.
The happiness of my children is a big reason I put my husband first. I want them to feel safe and secure in their life and I want to model to them what a great marriage looks like. But there’s another reason, too.
I have these children with me for 18 years. After that, they are free to go off into the world and do their own thing. They will eventually start their own families. I pray they will always stay close and be a big part of my life, but I know that I will not always be the center of their universes. They will likely have spouses and children of their own. Who will I have then? My husband.
He is my person. He is the one God gave me to spend the whole rest of my life with. ‘Til death do us part. If I neglect that relationship and always put my kids first for the 20-odd years I’ll have them here living with us, what will it be when they are gone? What will be left? I want our marriage to be stronger than ever when it’s just us again. The best way I know how to ensure that is to put his needs first and nurture our marriage.
For the record, it goes both ways. We put each other first. He tells me it’s not a 50/50 relationship, it’s a 100/100 relationship. We both put in 100 percent.
The season of life where your kids are growing is hard. It’s exhausting. It can be frustrating and overwhelming. Kids are time consuming and it’s easy to let them become the center of our life and leave little time or energy for much else.
I’m here to remind you of that someone who was there before the kids came along. It’s the same person who will be there after your kids start their adult life on their own. It’s your husband.