Monday, January 23, 2012

Intentional Marriage - Kids First?

As I’m about to post this, I just read of Heidi Klum and Seal’s separation.
Here is part of their statement:

“While we have enjoyed seven very loving, loyal and happy years of marriage, after much soul searching we have decided to separate," the joint statement read. "We have had the deepest respect for one another throughout our relationship and continue to love each other very much, but we have grown apart. This is an amicable process and protecting the well-being of our children remains our top priority, especially during this time of transition.”

Although I don’t know them and we never know the full story of what goes on in someone’s life – it breaks my heart to hear of a couple separating simply because they’ve grown apart. If we are keeping our spouse our priority, against the odds, then we can’t grow apart. And “keeping the children a top priority” seems natural, but really we must keep our spouse our top priority in our marriage. Anyhooch, onto my post today!

From the moment we have them, we are enamored by them. They are so tiny, soft, sweet smelling, gentle, peaceful – what’s not to love and obsess over? They seem so fragile and completely dependent upon us. In those first months of newborn life, we eat, breath, and sleep (not so much) this tiny being who in one moment radically changed our life. And really only one other person can completely understand and relate to this new love – our spouse. In those first months we gushed over our babies together. Their mere presence bonded us closer together and deepened our love for one another. And then real life set in.

My body naturally was tuned to these tiny beings and their every needs. When they were hungry, my milk came in. When they cried, I knew exactly what they were communicating. If there was a new spot or bump on their skin, I discovered it. My world quickly revolved around these precious people who captured my heart. Being so vulnerable and dependent upon us, how could we not put them first in every way?

But do they still come first when they are 2? When they are 5? When they are 15? What at first is a natural, unavoidable positioning of hierarchy, can easily become the new way of life. But that is dangerous. Especially to a marriage. Especially when there are multiple children. As moms we are in high demand! How many times a day do you hear, “Mommy”? Sometimes I wish I never heard that word again! But they look to us for everything and our natural response is to meet their needs. With three small children who call upon me endlessly, at 7pm when they are in their beds, I am done. I have nothing left within me but to turn on the TV and just stare. Every now and again I might get up the energy to go meet a girlfriend for a movie, but it is a grand effort! Oh yea, and then there is my husband. Um... what do I have left to offer him? When the kids come first in my life, that means everyone and everything else comes second.

You’ve heard it said, “The best way to love your kids is to love your spouse.” A healthy marriage and a strong commitment (not just in word) between husband and wife creates a safe environment for family. When the kids see mom and dad talking, laughing together, kissing, holding hands – everything is right in their universe. Their foundation is solid. There is nothing to fear. They gain extreme confidence. When mom and dad pass like ships in the night, live like roommates, barely exchange a word – there is less peace in the home and not as much stability for the children. Have you ever been in a minor disagreement with your spouse over something silly like “who took out the trash last week?” and you barely raise your voice yet the children jump in with, “STOP FIGHTING!” They don’t like any kind of discontent between their Mommy and Daddy. That is why we must NOT put the children first, but put our spouse first. Plus, that is God’s grand plan! In our lives we must put God first, then our spouse, then our children. If that order gets rearranged, then there is chaos.

So how do we practically put our spouse first when our children demand so much of our physical, mental and emotional being? We must become aware of who we put first and if it is not our spouse, then we need to have a little change of heart. We can schedule more time with our spouse on the calendar, but if they don’t come first in our hearts, then nothing has really changed. A change of heart leads to a change of attitude and a changed attitude results in a changed person. As Moms, sometimes I think there is a fear of letting go of the control of our children, trusting God with them, and meeting the needs of our spouse first. But when we do, there is nothing but blessing.

Prayer – each morning ask God to focus your heart on your spouse.
Pray that God would open your eyes to see their needs that day and how you might bless them.
Pray that God would make you mindful of your spouse through the day. When you are thinking of your spouse during the day, it leads to little things like phone calls or texts, maybe when you’re at the grocery store and you see his favorite beverage or snack and you pick it up. Maybe that means you run and put on lipstick before he comes home from work! Sounds little and silly, but when you are thinking of someone, you tend to do things for them and it truly shows that they are a priority to you.
Pray protection over your marriage and that the enemy would not allow the children to come between you and your spouse.
Pray that God would give you a heart to completely trust Him with your children. Let go of the control that tells you you’re the only one who must do everything for your children.

How do you put your spouse first?


  1. I felt really sad to hear about the split too. In our culture it sounds so noble to "do what's best for the kids" when under it is the selfishness of not wanting to change, repent, serve and re-prioritize. Thank you for your beautiful reminder. I sent my husband an email telling him I was praying for him to meet his goals in his business this month because it's important to him.

  2. That is the sweetest picture ever of your girls holding hands. Great series you have going here. And I hadn't heard yet about them splitting, how sad. I thought they seemed like they were different, like they would beat the Hollywood odds.

  3. I focus on this priority all the time... and still fail at it at some point almost every day. Such a struggle. But what great advice - putting your spouse first in your heart and thoughts and the rest will come. thank you.

  4. I think this is definitely forgotten once you have kids that it's important to focus on yourself and your relationship. People think it's selfish and the kids might be getting neglected or something. But the truth is, when you nurture your relationship, everything else falls into place and the rest of your life is happier. Love this series!!

  5. I'm a new follower, loved this post. Great reminder to put first things first.



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