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Discussion Starter #1
This was mentioned in another thread but thought it warranted discussion.

I know women on both sides of that argument. But my best friend and I agree the primary relationship must come first. I was a woman first (and must honor her by behaving in an independent, self preserving manner), I was a wife second (and that is my primary relationship) and a mother 3rd.

Yes, a mother's love is unconditional and sometimes children DO need to come first - I'm not talking about ignoring a crying baby. But I need to come first sometimes (the woman) so if I need a quiet bath or a shopping trip unencumbered by a child, I don't feel guilty asserting that need.

Then, sometimes the spouse needs to come first - that is the basis for the child's emotional security. Adults must present as a unified front to children so they understand who is in charge and feel happy and secure. And of course there are lots of times a child must come first but it should not be the general rule. I think it results in a spouse feeling neglected. All must be well balanced.

And I feel if I'm happy woman, I'm a better wife (or girlfriend now) and if I'm a better wife who is happy with herself and in her marriage, I'll be a better mother. Each begets the other.

Now in the age of divorce, including my own due to an abusive husband, do I put my boyfriend first or my child? There are still times one will come before the other. But I'm basing this on the assumption that he'll be around when she goes off to college and I need my primary relationship to be solid. My daughter will respect that as long as she is not neglected in the process. I think the key is to make sure they feel equally loved and treasured.

Who comes first in your marriage?
Has your current hierarchy helped or hindered your marriage?
 

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Wrong question. Its not one or the other, and you cant assume it works that way.

The corect answer is 'my family comes first'. Sometimes that means children comes first - but no part of the family can be neglected, nor can the marriage. It all requires work.

Assuming you have to make a choice misses the point. Sometimes the greatest thing you can do for your children is to love even pamper your spouse and show it. Sometimes caring for your children as you do will strengthen your marriage and foster love and respect on all sides.

Saying 'my priority is (one or the other)' is a recipe for disaster in my opinion. There is no 'hierarchy'.
 

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There are times and specific circumstances when you have to make a choice. But I don't think it needs to be your whole philosophy - (e.g. the kids come first). I guess in a "perfect" marriage, the H & W as a team put the kids needs ahead of their own, but that doesn't mean they ignore each other's needs.

I guess I'm trying to say it is the extremes that create a recipe for failure.
 

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I put my wife and child ahead of myself (most of the time) and my wife does the same. I give 60% and expect 40% in return as does she. I sold my beloved car 6 months after we found out we was having our son. Would have been sooner but it took me that long to wear down my wife so she didn't fight me on it. My wife and I believe that if you are a bad parent you are a bad spouse and a bad spouse is a bad parent. They are intertwined and can not be separated, if you have children.
 

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Women lose their entire being when they put their kids first. But it all depends if you want to be Enjoli or Mommy? Kids grow up, move out, and move on with their own lives. That can leave a mom very lonely when the kiddies are gone. JMO.
 

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I juggle everyone of my relationships. I do focus on the marriage because I know that one day the children will leave but as another guy said "family first" and it means who needs to be first is first at the moment.
Balancing act for sure but I would never put my spouse above my children or my children above my spouse for too long or permanently because they are my family and all important to me.
I do put my H and children above everyone else in my life, friends, extended family, every one is second to them.
 

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It isn't an all or nothing proposition, but if you always put children (or work, hobbies, friends, etc...) first, you alienate and probably lose your spouse.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Women lose their entire being when they put their kids first. But it all depends if you want to be Enjoli or Mommy? Kids grow up, move out, and move on with their own lives. That can leave a mom very lonely when the kiddies are gone. JMO.
I guess this, more than a 'hierarchy' is what I meant.

I was me first. In my marriage I put my daughter first because 1) I grew to resent my critical, abusive ex, and 2) heck, I liked her better! But in tolerating what I did, I lost myself. I forgot to stand up for me, do things I enjoyed and cultivate interests and a life outside of 'mommy'. I used my mommyness as a shield.

When I left I started putting myself first some of the time and I found it refreshing and it allowed me to become a more interesting and energetic person. I was actually a better mother in that I was also now a better example of a human being.

I adore my daughter. I put her first a lot, just not to the detriment of my own well-being.
 

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They are the only gift in my life. My wife checked out of the marriage a while ago now. Her greatest gift seems to be her iPhone.
Hmmm....maybe you should get a babysitter, you wife can put down the iPhone, and you can have an actual relationship. What happens when your kids are grown and gone?
 

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My children (especially my sick child) come first. That doesnt mean that I neglect my husband it just means that I make sure my kids needs are met first. I think I feel pretty strongly about this because i do have a sick child. You cant exactly neglect the needs of a baby with heart problems. And why would I want to? They are my world. My husband could be gone tomorrow and move on to a new woman but these kids will always be mine.
 

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Hmmm....maybe you should get a babysitter, you wife can put down the iPhone, and you can have an actual relationship. What happens when your kids are grown and gone?
Unfortunately, we're well beyond that point.

That being said, my kids have always been my # 1 priority.
 

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I think the point people are trying to make is that if your kids have always been #1, you shouldn't be surprised your wife checked out.
I guess I am a little confused... why should a spouse "check out" because the kids are #1. I expect my husband to put our kids ahead of me. If I ever started doing something to hurt our family or our kids I would expect him to kick my ass out to save the kids from whatever I was doing. If we were on a sinking ship and my husband could only save me or the kids, I would expect him to save the kids.
When you have kids you are supposed to take care of them and protect them and nurture them. Why is that wrong? And why should that hurt a marriage? I just dont get it.
 

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I guess I am a little confused... why should a spouse "check out" because the kids are #1. I expect my husband to put our kids ahead of me. If I ever started doing something to hurt our family or our kids I would expect him to kick my ass out to save the kids from whatever I was doing. If we were on a sinking ship and my husband could only save me or the kids, I would expect him to save the kids.
When you have kids you are supposed to take care of them and protect them and nurture them. Why is that wrong? And why should that hurt a marriage? I just dont get it.
Your expectations are that you and your spouse put the kids first. If your spouse was a person who expected to put you first and you to put him first, you would have a bit of a problem, eh?
 

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I guess I am a little confused... why should a spouse "check out" because the kids are #1. I expect my husband to put our kids ahead of me. If I ever started doing something to hurt our family or our kids I would expect him to kick my ass out to save the kids from whatever I was doing. If we were on a sinking ship and my husband could only save me or the kids, I would expect him to save the kids.
When you have kids you are supposed to take care of them and protect them and nurture them. Why is that wrong? And why should that hurt a marriage? I just dont get it.
So, you always put your husband as #2 (at best). And now you find yourself on TAM with the handle Betrayed and Confused. And you still don't get it? You're not putting 2 + 2 together here?

Anyway, my personal opinion is that our spouses have to be #1. Not 100% of the time, but the vast majority of the time. A spouse that is consistently #2 in a persons life will eventually check out.

I deserve to be #1 in my wife's life. Children will come and go. My kids are very important to me, but my wife is #1.
 
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