Spouse or children, who comes first?

K. - posted on 08/03/2010 ( 84 moms have responded )

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So I'm starting this thread based off of another conversation I had been reading and replying to and I thought it was a pretty interesting debate. Who comes first in your life? Your husband or your children? Now by no means do I mean the children get neglected or ignored or mistreated or anything like that. Just curious as to who is "first" and who is "second".

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Isobel - posted on 08/06/2010

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When I come home from a long day, the first kiss usually goes to my husband. I love hearing about my children and how their day went, but I feel like putting the extra attention into knowing and caring about my husband helps to ensure that my kids won't have to worry about me having to choose whether or not they will be FROM a broken home, or live IN one.

[deleted account]

Yeah Krista, we're 'friends'. :) Going well at the moment. Of course, he works a LOT and I've got 3 crazy kids, so we don't see each other enough. Which is why we are on the friend status for now since we can't really DATE at the moment. Trying to work on changing that. ;)

As far as the original topic of this discussion. It's not putting your child over your spouse or your spouse over your child. It's putting your marriage (relationship) first FOR your child. If my ex and I had both been able to do that then our kids would have both parents fully involved in their lives instead of the mess we are all trying to survive now. By putting your marriage first, you ARE putting your kids first. :)

Charlie - posted on 08/04/2010

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My fiance comes first and as a parenting team our children are our number one priority , it is important for mother and father to be in a happy , healthy and united relationship not only for us but for the children , they will model their relationships on what they live and learn from us , i want them to learn that a couple should love and respect each other , that as a parenting team it is our job to love , nurture and provide for our child , together we are a stronger more supportive team and that is a huge benefit to our children.

I want to still "know" my SO after our children have grown up and had their own kids , i want our grand kids to be able to come to our house and see a lifelong love still existing , far to many people put their relationships on the back burner and wake up one day next a stranger you call your husband .

I think being this way not only lets us give the best of each other to our relationship but it gives the best of us a parents , people and role models to our children , there is nothing more beautiful than having happy children , happy parents , happy family and i hope when they grow up they treat their wives and children with just as much love and respect .

Its important to note that saying my fiance comes first doesnt mean the children are second, it means together they are OUR priority, in case that wasnt clear :D

[deleted account]

No offense Melissa, but that viewpoint is (IMO) the biggest problem w/ society. And, unfortunately, I AM connected to my ex for the rest of our lives whether I like it or not BECAUSE of our children anyway.... Their lives would be much better if we had been able to put US first. Or as another poster put it, GOD first, us second, them third.

Charlie - posted on 08/05/2010

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See i agree that we seem to be talking about different things some are talking about extreme circumstances fires, drowning ect ect an adult has more of a chance getting themselves out of those a child doesn't of course we would go for the child first , of course we make our kids lunch first , of course we do for our kids physically and emotionally what they need where the misunderstanding is that those who have said husband first are talking about unity in their relationship and how it affects the family unit and not any particular circumstance .

Anika if our kids were in a life or death situation of course we would save them first for the reasons i stated above .

If we had a date and our child was sick we would stay home and reschedule no biggie !

However what we are saying is we are not going to be so engrossed in our children that our relationship suffers , we will make an effort to love and respect each other to be a united front , we will make decisions together and not without each others consent , we will make time for each other , alone , without children so on and so forth ....

Im sure its just a matter of how people have perceived this question .

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Erin - posted on 08/13/2010

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In most situations, outside of basic necessity, my husband comes first!! If you don't have a healthy marriage/partnership then you can't be the best mom you can be. Just my opinion. But, my parents were asked this in marriage counseling, when I was an adolescent and my dad said "the kids come first, period." and the counselor told him he was wrong....and lo and behold, 20 years later he agrees that his marriage should have come first!!

Julie - posted on 08/12/2010

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I was going to say basically the same thing Krista E. said. The kids will eventually leave, my husband won't (at least my current husband won't, lol). The only reason my kids would come first (looking at the big picture) is if my husband abused them. He'd be gone faster than the blink of an eye!

Sally - posted on 08/11/2010

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My husband had me all to himself for 10 years before we had kids. If we have average lifespans, he'll get me back for 20 years after they grow up. Also, he can take care of himself.
That said--If I were completely neglecting him we wouldn't have more than one kid :)

[deleted account]

Whitney: I personally couldn't choose between my husband and son but you said " They were brought into this world by us" - yes they grew in our womb and we gave birth to them but they were brought into to the world by both man and woman. Without the man's sperm that baby wouldn't exist.

Wpaigecoates - posted on 08/10/2010

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Baby comes first. As mother it is your job to make sure your baby is protected and cared for nomatter what no matter how. They were brought into this world by us it is out job to make sure they have the best possible life no matter what it takes, even if it means putting the spouse second.

K. - posted on 08/10/2010

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I will repost what I've said in the initial thread because I think it sums up my feelings on the topic quite well.

The best thing I can do for my kids is to love their father. I want them growing up in a home with two parents who support each other 100%. There will come a time in all kids lives where they will try to pit one parent against another to get what they want. I think those kids are called teenagers. I want my kids to see a united front. I'm not going to give to my children or do things for the children at the expense of my marriage. There are enough divorces as it is. I once heard this but I don't remember from where "Children will go on to forge lives of their own, but the relationship with your spouse is forever." And while some people may say that marriages come and go, I'm not going to be one to toss that statement out there so casually. My marriage is not disposable. I choose to take mine a bit more seriously BECAUSE my kids mean the world to me. I don't want them coming from a broken home nor living in one. And children are not children forever, they grow up and learn to take care of themselves and eventually leave the house to live their own lives. And the couple who've spent 18 years putting the kids first will probably find that once the kids are gone so is the marriage. I would rather that not happen.

Britney - posted on 08/10/2010

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I have been a single mother and now have been married for a few years. both can be done so to me, nothing and no one comes before my children. men can leave at anytime your children are your life forever, not just until they move out. we have children not soldiers. my marriage is great because we both believe our children come first and we do not suffer in fact we rather enjoy it.

Pamela - posted on 08/10/2010

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I think our spouses generally need to come first. Obviously when our kids are at home we need to attend to their needs. But I think it's a great temptation for us moms to want to focus almost exclusively on our children (they need us!) while putting our husbands a little to the side. But I don't think this is a totally hard and fast rule - there will be a fluctuation that occurs according to what's going on within one's family. But I try to always keep within my mind's eye the fact that the kids will be moving out one day; DL & I are in it for the long haul. So to continue working on our marriage to one another needs to be a pretty high priority.

Valerie - posted on 08/09/2010

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I don't think anyone here who said they put their marriage first said men and women are unequal in anyway. Quite the opposite. Since both parents are equal, it is not just the sole responsibility of one parent and so having a strong marriage helps to keep a united front in the parenting department.

Diana - posted on 08/09/2010

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The children always come first until they are old enough to be on their own. The spouse can take care of his self and help with the children. It is an equal job, and I believe men and women are equal!

Chanel - posted on 08/08/2010

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It is my belief that when you and your spourse are well taken care of that you are on a more united front and parenting becomes easier.

[deleted account]

I have a 6 1/2 month old son and I put him first for everything or I make my husband put him first. I mean if I am cooking dinner and he starts crying then my husband picks him up. If I am changing a diaper or feeding my son then my husband knows to do what he needs himself.

Jessica - posted on 08/07/2010

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Depends, keeping in mind that the kids didn't get to choose to be in the relationship

Rachelle - posted on 08/07/2010

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I believe my relationship with my husband comes first and then our children. Everything just flows better when our marriage is on solid ground!

Isobel - posted on 08/06/2010

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I should say that I am divorced...and I won't let them go through that twice.

Theresa - posted on 08/06/2010

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my children come first no question i love my b/f but he's not my kid he can take care of himself lol

Isobel - posted on 08/06/2010

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and I'm pretty sure he feels the same way...and even though he's not their bio dad...I'm pretty sure both of us would save the children from a burning building first :)

Charlie - posted on 08/06/2010

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Jane i get what your saying and i agree , i always take time out for myself whether its reading a mag quietly in the afternoon or going out for lunch with my girlfriends once a week or treating myself to a massage once a month at the beauty therapists all this is possible because i have a very supportive partner he gives me the opportunist to take care of myself because i give back in return between taking the kids to the park everyday , play gym , visiting the animals and their friends we deserve a little time out now and then and it gives us outside adult stimulation which i think is important .

I just didnt mention it because it wasnt part of the question :D

Valerie - posted on 08/06/2010

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Well put Lisa! That's a good way to sum up what everyone has been saying in such a sweet and beautiful little package. Gives me warm and fuzzy feelings inside. :) Thanks for making such a positive description of what we as mothers do!

Lisa Marie - posted on 08/06/2010

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Kristen,
All too often responsibility gets confused for priority. These two words are not necessarily interchangeable. I have many responsibilities that I attend to through out my day that are in no way more important than my priorities. My priorities include my relationship with God, my husband, my children, my career, my ministries, you get the picture. Regardless of the order in which I prioritize in my heart, some days I focus on one more than the others. Some days it may appear as though I haven't focused on any of them. Until I stop and realize that meeting my daily responsibilities is my way of honoring all of my priorities. Meeting the responsibility of tending to my children is making my husband a priority because I am carrying my load in contributing to OUR family and this makes his load lighter. Even taking time for just me is honoring my priorities because it refreshes me and equips me to keep going each day.
Blessings

[deleted account]

Valerie and Teresa, I thought the conversation was going that way because someone said the problem with this world was people's attitudes to marriage and people getting divorced. I may have read something in to that which wasn't intended. I'm still not getting an understanding though on this topic. Must just be differences in culture/religion/experience/situation. The prevailing theme has been though that everyone wants a strong happy family life for their children and that makes me happy. So yay us, even if we disagree on the small details. :)

Valerie - posted on 08/06/2010

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Jane - I totally understood what you were saying in your original post about putting me first, so I never bothered to comment. It is important to set aside time for yourself, but you seemed to have put it very clearly and didn't really feel I had anything to add. But I don't think anyone here thinks you're selfish by what you said or that you didn't also treasure your child and SO. :)

[deleted account]

Jane like Amber I have my 'me' time and my hubby actively encourages it BUT I don't consider that putting me first at the moment my son needs me to put him first because of his age, this may change as he gets older idk. I agree with the fact this is all just semantics because who we put first changes with the situation and needs of those involved, I would never neglect my health just to run around after my hubby or my son though.

Amber - posted on 08/06/2010

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@ Jane~ I always make sure I do for myself. I go out with just the girls every two weeks or so (Tonight's girls' night! WOOT) And my SO lets me go to the spa and get mani/pedi, massages, or facials about once a month. I try to take some "me" time every day. And luckily my SO thinks that I should have me time.
But..I don't consider that putting me first. Because if something comes up, I'll cancel. If my child needs something, or Chad needs me to run a couple of unexpected errands...well, I can reschedule a facial for tomorrow. I can't reschedule my family for tomorrow.
I always make sure that I'm happy and healthy for my family...but I'm willing to give up a little of my time for them when needed.

Also, just because I feel that my child comes first, doesn't mean that my SO and I don't parent as a unit. We talk things over and make decisions together. It's not me vs. him in parenting. It's us together. I just know that he can take care of himself, so I do for my son first.

Jane - posted on 08/06/2010

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The one thing I find interesting in all of this is not ONE person, except me said they put themselves first! That means that you might all think I'm extremely selfish, which I'm not because I give more than most mom's I know OR everyone forgets about themselves and immerses themselves in either children, husband, God, whatever. I think it's extremely important for all human beings to think about themselves and nuture and care for oneself above and beyond anyone...yes, even your kids. If you are not healthy and happy, you cannot possibly give back to those you love. Think about it :)

Carolyn - posted on 08/06/2010

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Valerie, very nicely put. Getting into marriage relationships is getting totally off track to the intended question. All relationships should be different. I have a different one with my 27yr old son, as with my 24yr old daughter. Been married now for 29yrs., & that to is different now from the day we married. More love, respect, honor just everything, because we have been through so much together. It's not hard to love your best friend, companion, partner, lover, supporter again he is just there no matter what. He would give his own breathe to save me, his son or daughter; daughter-in-law & now grand baby. It's love in many different ways, that's what makes it perfect for me.

Valerie - posted on 08/05/2010

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Sara - I just wanted to say that you put how I was feeling about this beautifully. I was talking to my parents about it. I don't know how many of you have more than one child, but I couldn't say the day my daughter was born was the best day of my life because which one would I choose? It really is just a completely different love for each person in my family and it's like comparing apples to zebras to water. They are all unique and wonderful in their own beautiful ways.

Valerie - posted on 08/05/2010

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Anika - when I said you are married to a sinner I merely meant that no one is perfect. We all lie, manipulate in some form or another, can be prone to jealousy, self righteousness, etc. As for your marriage not being pertinent here, you were the one who brought it up. I was merely reacting to comments like "Maybe I'm more secure in myself or my marriage. Maybe I was just lucky enough to meet my perfect partner. I always hear people say that marriage is hard and something you have to work at but I've never felt that. Maybe I'm just in the lucky minority ". These comments imply that those of us who stated that we thought our marital relationship was important to work on somehow did not have this. It was somewhat insulting when taken in that context. So I reacted. To me, working on your marriage means you are taking the time to work through those little disagreements you mentioned as they come instead of burying them until they become big ones. So we basically agree on how to keep a marriage healthy.

As for staying in an unhappy relationship, I have to agree with teresa that I have yet to see that in any of the posts. Saying that you put your marital relationship first to keep it strong does not mean that you are unhappy. Quite the opposite. It means you are happy, but want to make sure you are spending the time necessary to keep it that way. Basically, I don't want to be come so absorbed with my kids that I neglect my relationship with my husband and wake up one day to a stranger. (Believe me, I understand the opposite is equally damaging, to be so involved with your SO you ignore your kids)

[deleted account]

That isn't what I'm reading at all Anika. How exactly can you take a statement about putting your spouse first as someone implying they would be staying together for the kids even if they are miserable.....?

I also don't understand Emma's comment to Krista....?

[deleted account]

No, I get that an unhappy, unstable marriage can be harmful to a child. But what caused that marriage to be unhappy and unstable? In my friend's case, it was the spouse thinking someone else could make him happier. That's not right, obviously, but had they been working in their relationship then he wouldn't have looked to someone else to make him happy. If they could push through the rough patches, it could make them stronger. Then a four year old wouldn't have to deal with feelings that her dad doesn't want to be with her.

Emma - posted on 08/05/2010

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I think the best example you could set for your children is not to stay in a miserable relationship. Its an example on how to be happy. If I ever saw my children in a marriage that was phyically and emotionally draining I would get them help. I wouldnt tell they they are best to stay there "for the children" because that is utter crap. Children are happy when their parents are whether that be single or coupled. That like telling a gay man to stay married to his wife and pretend to be straight, when all he wants to to run away with a guy and be happy.

[deleted account]

Valerie, what do you mean by "You are married to a sinner"? And we have been together 10 years. I do not gloss over anything with him. I tell him what I feel, he tells me what he feels. We have disagreements just like everybody else. But they're just disagreements. But what my marriage is like doesn't matter here.

It is a very thin line, i asked what I did more to understand. The difference in opinion just intrigues me.

Oh and this isn't really on topic but the last few comments have gone this way - I don't believe you should stay in your marriage just because of the children. I think it's better to separate and be happy than stay together and be miserable. That's no example for your children. And I'm sure many of you will disagree and maybe that should be another thread topic...

Emma - posted on 08/05/2010

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My children come before ANYONE else in my life. That really doesnt need much thought.

Valerie - posted on 08/05/2010

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I would also like to point out, that attitude toward marriage would not be helpful to your child. Their parents....both of them.....are important to them and it is much more beneficial for them to have you as a unified front then separate.

Plus that attitude reveals a flippant and disrespectful attitude toward the father of your children that will also be harmful to your child. Again, if you want to put your child first you would do your best to maintain a healthy and happy environment as well.

[deleted account]

I agree with Teresa. And not saying this is your situation Teresa, but children of divorced parents have more issues with insecurity. I'm sure I could find a study on that somewhere. But I say that from observing my friends and my former students. Of course it's not always the case, but in general. Children find security in their parents love for each other. A four year old of a friend said this when her daddy moved out, "Why doesn't Daddy want to live with us anymore?" Had those parents spent time nurturing their relationship, that little girl wouldn't have to ask that question and wonder if it was something she had done to cause it. Children shouldn't have to go through that.

That being said, a love for a spouse and a love for a child are two completely different things. You can't really compare the two anyway. I love both my husband and my daughter with my whole heart. And honestly I don't spend each day tying to figure out who I will serve first, or hug first, or say, "I love you" first. It doesn't really matter, because we all love each other. But I pledged to love my husband, "till death do us part" and that I will do. Not matter what it takes. And I have a hard time believing that our efforts to keep our relationship healthy is somehow detrimental to the child. She loves to see us hug and kiss and laugh with each other.

Melissa - posted on 08/05/2010

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I put my daughter first you can change your husband whenever u want (and people do), all you have to do is sign a piece of paper and get a divorce and they have no connection to you. You're child is always your child no matter what, they are your blood.

Valerie - posted on 08/05/2010

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To make it perfectly clear....I do not think that those of you who say you put your children first are somehow not working on your marriage as well. I truly think most of our arguments are following a very thin line and we all are pretty much feeling the same thing with a different emphasis. So those of you who put your children first it does not mean you aren't also valuing your husband and that relationship as well. Just like you don't love one child more than another, just in a very different way we can have many, many relationships we cherish.

Valerie - posted on 08/05/2010

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Anika...I am curious as to how long you have been married? How many struggles and difficulties have you gone through? You are married to a sinner, as is he. This is what makes marriage difficult. None of us our perfect, and so I find it highly unlikely that your marriage is. This is what we are saying. If you think you're marriage is perfect and nothing needs to be worked out or on then you are in for a hard blow some day. My husband and I have been very happily married for 7 years. We have had ups and downs through thick and thin and love each other dearly. But he tells me exactly what he thinks, not something glossed over to avoid disagreements and I him. Arguments are not bad, only unresolved ones. Those of us who say we prefer to have a strong relationship with our partner and then our priority as a unified front is our child does not mean we are not secure in ourselves or our marriage. The implication is quite demeaning and rude.

I have not said that those who "put their children first" (I put those in quotations merely due to the fact that all of us have very clearly stated that most of this is all semantics or situational at best) must not be secure in their relationship with their children or that I must just be lucky enough to have a child that loves me even though they are second. It's ridiculous because of course our loved ones love us no matter their importance. That is what love is.

All this to say is I love best how Loureen best.....that my marriage is first so that TOGETHER we put our children first. Meaning....parenting is not only me, it's my partners wants, desires, and wishes equally. I cannot discount him or what he wants for our children if we disagree thus it is a joint venture. So I would say that my number one priority for myself solely is my marriage as my children do not play a direct role in that relationship as my husband does in my relationship with them. I hope this clarifies what I mean. Of course there are situations where our kids come first. The suggestion of what would you do if you are having a date night and a kid is sick. Well.....as a married couple our number one priority is our kids...so as a married couple we would put our kids first and cancel our date. Same for a burning house or any other unfortunate circumstance.

[deleted account]

Anita I'd have to agree that the best day in my life was the day Logan was born and 2nd our wedding day and that feeling is mutual between my husband and I =]

[deleted account]

I was thinking about this this morning (at 5am I seem to do my best thinking, even if I'm asleep, go figure) and I still find it hard to understand why you'd choose your partner over your child as your #1. I'm not saying I think those that do are terrible people, far from it. I guess it all depends on different experiences and priorities. I expect my husband to think about my daughter before me. When he comes home from work, I want him to go to my daughter first and see how her day was and if it was reversed, I would do the same. I guess it comes down to, I feel I'm a mother first and a wife second. The day my daughter was born was the best day in my life, not the day I married my husband (though it is definitely up there at #2). Maybe I'm more secure in myself or my marriage. Maybe I was just lucky enough to meet my perfect partner. I always hear people say that marriage is hard and something you have to work at but I've never felt that. Maybe I'm just in the lucky minority (and I'm very thankful for that). And sorry if this is a little TMI, but I find my husband being a good father and putting his child first (I'm not saying he is a good father because he puts our daughter first. He just is a good father in general) very attractive. Must be something primal! I think if my husband was more interested in me and didn't want to spend as much time with our daughter I would lose respect for him. I would never feel jealousy of my husband and daughter's relationship (from which this debate sprang from), I would feel increased love and pride. OK, I'll shut up now :)

Lyndsay - posted on 08/05/2010

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My child always comes first. However, my hubby is a very close second and I don't think our relationship is strained in any way by this perspective because I expect him to put our son before me as well.

K. - posted on 08/05/2010

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LOL! Oh my goodness April for the final time we are NOT talking about life or death situations here!

April - posted on 08/05/2010

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as mentioned above, i would save my son before my husband. my husband would save our son before he'd save me.

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