Your spouse should be No. 1 -- even when you have kids

Posted April 18

This may not be a popular thing to say, maybe even controversial. But, your spouse should come before your children.

That's right. All those cute offspring your love has created and brought into this world come second while your spouse—your marriage—comes first. Yes, kids require a lot of work. I'm not suggesting we neglect our children; we still need to feed, clothe, bathe and love them. But, don't forget your spouse!

Having children alters your life forever. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of day-to-day chaos with kids. Soccer games, homework, piano lessons, cooking food, cleaning up after everyone, work schedules and everything else life may throw at you. However, if you don't make your spouse and your marriage your number one priority, it will fall apart.

Don't let children rule your life

"If your devotion to your children has gotten to the point where they walk all over you, there is bound to be tension in your home," stated an article on marriage and children. As much as children try to assert their "authority," you and your spouse are in charge. You shouldn't let children call the shots. Decide together how best to discipline and raise your children. Frustrations can grow within a marriage if one spouse is a push-over and the other is the authoritarian. You have to be on the same team with the same goal. If your children are in charge at your house, that doesn't lead to happiness for anyone.

Make time together happen, no matter what

Put the kids in bed and spend time together talking without interruption. You can do this nightly or weekly or whatever works best for you. You need time to reconnect as a couple and discuss the day together. Talk about the simple things, your relationship, children, plan vacations or find solutions to problems you may encounter. Good communication is necessary for a healthy marriage.

Schedule date nights

My husband and I are the parents of six children, whom we adore. But, if we don't plan date nights, they could take up all our time. Our plan is to go on a date together once a week. Sometimes, it doesn't work and it's a noticeable void.

Spouses need time to reconnect and reignite their love for each other. You didn't fall in love by running around in the craziness of life. You fell in love by doing activities together. By talking. Holding hands and expressing that love through intimate moments. Doesn't it make sense that in order to maintain that love, you need to keep dating? Get a babysitter or put the kids in bed for a night in, but do it! Make it a priority.

Make decisions together

Though children can sometimes be involved in decisions about where to go on vacations or ways to help out around the house, ultimately the husband and wife are the decision makers. Couples should act together as one unit. Discuss options or problems together and make a unified decision. Husband and wife, together, are the head of the household, not the children.

A happy marriage equals a happy family

A happy family starts with the solid foundation of a strong marriage. Children need stability and need to feel safe at home. If their parents are volatile or not unified, they will sense it. Kids need to see solid examples of parents who love each other and work together through problems. They need to see parents who apologize to each other. As you and your spouse work together to create a happy and healthy marriage, it will impact your children in a positive way.

If you make your spouse and your marriage your number one priority, not only will your marriage become happier and stronger, but it will also have a positive effect on your children. Yes, your spouse should always come first, but by putting him/her first, your children will benefit.

Wendy Jessen is a regular contributor for and frequently does media reviews. She blogs at Twitter: @WendyJessen Email:


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