A while ago, my husband brought up an interesting question: should you love your spouse more than your kids, or vice versa?
After a bit of discussion, we agreed – spouses should love each other more than their kids.
Now it goes without saying that love is immeasurable, and that at the end of the day, we do love our kids to the same extent as we love our spouse; and in a different way to how we love our spouse. I think it’s more a question of priority.
So why should a spouse get priority? Because your spouse is really the only person in the world that you choose in a mutually exclusive and committed manner – they’re the one person who is yours and only yours. We don’t choose the family we come from; and we don’t choose who our kids will be. We may choose our friends but they are not exclusively ours in the way that a spouse is.
Your kids are yours for a time but then they grow up and live their own lives, and you are left again with your spouse. Where would that leave you as a couple, if you’ve neglected each other while bringing up the kids?
Now when I say priority, I mean long-term priority. Because in day-to-day life with kids, there will be many moments when the little ones take immediate priority over a spouse. This is only natural, because they are so dependent on their parents for basic needs. Of course, baby’s dinner comes before that glass of wine you were going to pour for your husband! But the overall attitude, I think, should be one of protecting the marriage. Too many couples neglect each other when kids enter the picture, without even realising.
And really, if you think about it, you’re doing your kids a favour in the process – after all, research shows that a great deal of a child’s wellbeing and security is dependent on seeing their parents’ love for each other. So while you’ll never love your kids any less, maybe it’s important to remember to try and love your spouse a little more – it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.