This is a very controversial question and either way, your response will be influenced by your view about marriage, understanding of family, beliefs or experiences, etc.
On my part, I know that some people may not agree or see things from my point of view, but it’s my honest opinion and fair enough, we all cannot agree on everything.
I love my husband as myself and my children are from my womb which makes me wonder why I need to answer this question.
Do I love them equally? No, and that seems to be an easier question.
Would I sacrifice all for my children’s happiness? Yes, but, to the extent that it is not detrimental to the family.
Therefore, to answer the question above, I understand it is a very dicey one especially when the children are minor, and they often depend on the parents particularly their mother for nearly everything except oxygen! The bond that a mother and child share is as thick as life itself and therefore unbreakable.
Likewise, the bond between father and child is unrivaled. Children indisputably came out of a woman, but they are also the product of the love husband and wife share together. Why then shouldn’t you choose the child over your partner?
If I must choose who to prioritize, it will be my spouse! Not because I value my children less than they deserve, but because I love them enough to make the right choice. I know this concept or choice of mine may seem absurd to some others, but it is the choice I have made.
This choice was not just made out of fantasy but on these fact:
- What God has joined together, let no ‘man’ (not even children which the couple both brought to life) put asunder! Children are in no doubt blessings from God and they bring immeasurable joy to a couple, but their absence or presence should never be the source of conflict between the couple.
Many have prioritized the need for children over the companionship of their partner to the detriment of their union. Children are not to be idolized as it is done by some. The fact that children are designed to outlive parents make some individuals to take decisions that permanently put their spouse in the second place. How do you justify the choice of making your young child, toddler or baby your next of kin?
Purchasing assets in the name of your children and making little or no reference to your spouse seems an overboard. Though, I am aware that there are cases that justify this line of thought, but a healthy union should strive to consider the partner in this regard over the child.
Conversation on who should be next of kin, whose name should be on properties, etc, are viable decisions that should be to the knowledge of both partners. It should not be a decision made because your partner is rated second class citizen in your home.
- One of the importance of a home is to model a healthy relationship for the children. It is from the home that a child learns values which eventually form his belief or way of life. The first individual to ‘show case’ these above mentioned are the husbands and wives. Children have to learn to develop and grow mentally, spiritually, emotionally, etc, and the first school these children attend is in the home.
A home is the foundation of every child. Be very careful of how such a foundation is laid. If the foundation be destroyed what can be done? One of the basic needs of a child is to be raised in a home. It takes a husband and a wife who are in a healthy relationship to build a kind of home that is a haven for a child.
Research shows that children find comfort in their parent’s healthy relationship. It is therefore a great thing if couples let their children know even in their action that the most important person in their lives is their spouse. That way, the healthy pattern is set for the children.
I could recall a season in our marriage when my husband was always travelling, and it was taking its toll on our union. Here is what I did; I took sometimes off work and travelled with my husband for a couple of weeks while my mum stayed with the children even though one of our babies was less than 2 years.
It was a hard choice, but it was such that I made having the bigger picture in mind. Those children will learn how to love their partners because they see you do same.
What if I chose the children and my relationship with my hubby got bad beyond reconciliation? What picture will be in the mind of the children about marriage even if they were the reason for the falling apart of your relationship with their father?
- Prioritizing your partner over your children is putting your marriage first! Children are subsets and not the set. They exist because the two of you exist! Couples should remind each other that children are the product of their union and these children will live better within the confines of the marriage existence.
It will be a disgrace if children were to be the cause of frictions or separation between couples because these children suffer more than any other members of the family should the family be ripped apart.
- Prioritizing your partner may mean doing everything possible to be on the same page, which to me is an essential factor for a healthy home. You started with your partner and it is ’till death do you part’. That is what an ideal marriage is all about.
Therefore, the choice you make is a pointer to the well-being of your relationship. Making your partner a priority doesn’t mean that you will not at some point make a choice to put the children at the top list regardless of their age. There are times my parents still make me their priority just like we have had to do with our children.
I have resigned from a ‘juicy’ job because of my children. My husband has turned down great offers because the children were his priority. But most importantly, let your partner know by the decisions you make that he/she is your choice and when circumstances demand that your children are given priority, it will be with deep understanding from both partners.
For instance, our babies are never allowed to sleep in between us even from day one! As irresistible as they were as babies, they sleep by my side while my hubby constantly sleeps right by my other side. Even with this arrangement, I doubt if our children would ever out-grow sleeping in our room; they will always vacate their rooms and sneak on our bed even when we agreed that only Friday nights are sleep-over in our room.
Children are very demanding especially as toddlers and it is a must you give them the attention required, but not at the expense of your union as some parents make the children substitutes to their partners. This can be very dangerous to a union.
My submission is, love comes in different shapes, forms, sizes and we are so blessed by God that we can love many people at the same time, even our spouses and children.
However, it is ideal if your love for your spouse is above and beyond the one you have for your child. Be encouraged that your choice is such that pays off when your children finally make the choice of their spouse over you as they will one day do.