Who Should Come First, Your Spouse or the Kids?
February 27, 2017|Posted in: Uncategorized
Who should come first, your spouse or the kids? I did some quick research on this topic, and it brought up articles that gave conflicting advice. “Put your husband first to preserve your marriage and thereby your children’s happiness.” “By putting your husband first you teach children what it takes to have a happy marriage so they in turn can have a happy marriage someday.” Other articles said the opposite. “Remember spouses may come and go but your children will always be your children. Be careful who you put first.” and “My daughter is my everything. Her father was the mistake.”
The truth is, if you want to have a happy, healthy family then no one should come “first” all of the time. When a couple makes a decision to have kids it comes with a responsibility to care for them and provide their needs. It always requires sacrifices on the part of the parents. But a parent who sacrifices everything for their child, does that child a disservice.
Healthy, happy, well adjusted people balance their own wants and needs with those of others. Sometimes we even put complete strangers first. We let another car go in front of us. We encourage our child to allow another child to have the first turn on the slide. But if we always let every car go in front of us and are always the last to leave the parking lot every time, we just might not be so well adjusted. If we oftentimes put a stranger’s wants and needs before our own, how much more important is it to do that in our families?
A sick child may require us to get up with them in the middle of the night. We may have to sacrifice by taking a day off work to care for them. As parents there will be times we have to forego relaxing at home to attend a school program. Playing with our children when we’d rather be doing something else is another important parental sacrifice. Anyone who is unwilling to make these sacrifices, and many more, isn’t worthy to be a parent.
A spouse that expects you to always put their wants and needs before everyone else’s is a selfish person. If you have that kind of spouse they just might be the “mistake” that was referred to above. Sacrifice as part of a healthy marriage, goes both ways. There has to be a give and take between both partners. Selfish people are unhappy people. Caring for others is a tried and true method that makes people happy.
Does that mean that we always have to play with our kids instead of doing a preferred activity? Of course not! Maybe tonight it is much more important to spend time talking with our spouse. We want our children to know that they are important but that other people are important too. What they want and need is important but what Mom and Dad want and need is important too!
What about when your kids are sick and needs to be cared for. Do we have to make that sacrifice every time? Well yes . . . and no. What if you’re sick too, too sick to care for them? Ideally, your unselfish spouse will step in and care for the kids. If not, you’ll have no choice but to call grandma, a friend, or someone, to come and care for them. After all, we can’t take care of anyone else if we don’t take care of ourselves!
If you always put your spouse’s wants and needs before your children’s you’re hurting him and the kids. Of course this applies in reverse, if you always put your kids wants and needs before your spouse’s you’re hurting your children and your spouse. We should expect the best of our spouse and kids. Selfish people are unhappy people so we should expect all of the members of our family to be kind and considerate of each other. Kids need to see both of their parents make sacrifices for each other as well as for them. We also need to teach them to make sacrifices for others, especially their parents and family.
Examples of Balancing the Wants and Needs of Your Spouse and Your Kids
You and your husband have planned a night out. Then one of the kids comes down with the flu so you have to cancel your plans. Later that evening your spouse has an appendicitis, so you call someone to stay with the kids while you go to the hospital.
On a less serious note,
The kids have been watching the TV for awhile when dad comes home and wants to switch the channel to see which sports teams are playing tonight. Mom comes in and says the kid’s performance at the school assembly is about to be featured on the evening news. So dad switches the channel to the local news.
Our kids are grown now, but my husband and I still make sacrifices for them on a regular basis. We lend them tools that will probably still be at their house the next time we need them. We watch the grandkids even on days that we’re tired. The kids also make sacrifices for us. They rearrange plans to go to an activity with us or they take time out to help us with a car repair. That’s just what families do!
My spouse has always been a good dad. He has always been willing to balance his needs and wants with those of our children. Sometimes he comes first, sometimes I do, sometimes the kids come first and sometimes even a stranger takes priority. That’s just what kind and caring people do!
So What is the Answer?
We need to consider lot of factors when we decide who should come first in any given situation. But clearly no one’s wants and needs should always come first, not our own, not our spouse’s and not our children’s.
So who should come first? Every person should come first sometimes but no one should ever come first all of the time!
You might also enjoy reading: Why My Kids Are (and always have been) My Best Friends.
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