When it comes to a choice between your spouse and your children, who comes first? You spouse should be the one who comes first in your concerns, thoughts and plans. He or she is the one you are married to, that you have committed to live your life with, ‘for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer.’ The children will grow up and leave home and need you less. If you make them the centre of your lives what will you have left when they leave?
Yes, I missed our children when they left home and I always look forward to seeing them. I also enjoy being a couple again with Mick and I just being able to spend time together. He is the one I am primarily committed to. That’s as it should be.
However in any life there are going to be times when that will not be the case. When our daughter was seriously ill, Mick could not take unlimited weeks off work but only a few days. I was with her all the time, which meant Mick and I were apart for most of it as she was in hospital in Sydney and we lived 4 hours away in the country. For that time she needed to be my priority, Mick and I agreed on that.
Similarly when our son was in an accident I rushed to Sydney to be with him and support him. When my Mom was in hospital, Mick and the rest of the family simply had to take second place for that period of time. In normal circumstances the spouse should be the first priority but in the above accounts these were not normal circumstances.
Watching ‘Brothers and Sisters’ recently on TV, Rebecca accused Justin of always sticking up for his family and taking their side against her. Admittedly they are not married but they are in a relationship. Or they were.
One situation I believe where the child’s needs must take invariably take precedence over the spouse is in the case of abuse, whether that is sexual or physical abuse. Again that is an abnormal situation. It is not something I ever anticipated or ever had to face. If such a situation were to occur in a home there the priority needs to be the safety of the child.
But in normal everyday circumstances you spouse and your relationship should the top priority over children and over parents and other family members. That is why it is to important to work at and maintain that relationship and spend time together.