Your marriage is your primary relationship

Jay Dee

Your marriage is your primary relationship

Jun 29, 2016

Is your marriage your primary relationship in life?  I mean, besides God.  I know, that sounds a bit glib, as if I’m tacking God on as an after thought, but I’m not.  I just want to focus on human relationships (and yes, I believe Jesus

Your marriage is your primary relationshipIs your marriage your primary relationship in life?  I mean, besides God.  I know, that sounds a bit glib, as if I’m tacking God on as an after thought, but I’m not.  I just want to focus on human relationships (and yes, I believe Jesus is fully human and fully God, let’s not get drawn into that).  Rather, I hear from spouses, fairly regularly, that their husband or wife puts the kids first in their family.  Their relationship with their children becomes more important than the relationship with their spouse.  I’ve even had husbands and wives tell me themselves that their relationship with their children is the primary one in their life.  This needs to stop.

And it’s not always with children.  Sometimes your primary relationships can be your friends, a parent or sibling, a co-worker.  Whoever it is, it’s not right.

Now, I know, in some cases, you don’t get to choose.  Your spouse is pulling away from you, or has a long time ago.  Or perhaps they were never really close, and you can’t have a one sided relationship.  I’m not talking about those situations in this post.

Instead I just want to make sure that people are putting their relationship with their spouse first.  Your spouse should be your best friend.  They should be your oasis in the world.  They should be who you look forward to seeing every day.  They should be who you unburden yourself to, share your hopes and dreams with, and work together for the future.

Unfortunately, some don’t see it that way.  They pour their entire lives into their children, placing their spouse on the back burner, thinking “we’ll have time when the kids leave the house”.  But, that rarely happens.  More likely you end up getting divorced before the kids leave, and if not, then right after the kids leave.  Divorces after couples achieve empty-nest are becoming more and more common.

Even if you don’t get divorced, the kids grow up knowing that their parents weren’t close.  In my family, for example, as far as I can tell, my mother was completely invested in raising children, and not so invested in their marriage.  My father was invested in providing, and not so invested in relating to anyone (that’s another post).  To this day, I don’t even know if they like each other.  They never divorced, and I don’t think they ever will, but the legacy they left of how to be married damaged us for a long time.  And you know what?  I think they learned it from their parents.  My mother’s parents, I’m fairly sure, loved to hate each other, if you know what I mean.  I don’t think I ever heard them say a kind word to each other, but they couldn’t stand to be alone for long.

If you focus on your children, or other relationships, more than on your spouse, then you teach your children to do the same.  This becomes a generational effect that can potentially be damaging your descendants for decades, even centuries, to come.  Because, children need to know that their parents love each other.  Moreover, they need to know that their parents love each other more than anyone else.  That stability is what a family is founded on.  Without it, families become dysfunctional.

This is why I cringe when I hear people say “we’re staying together for the kids”.  If you’re going to put that much effort into staying married…why not put a little bit more in an actually make it a marriage you can enjoy?  Plus, you know what?  If you want to stay together for the kids, you have to do it for the rest of your life.  Because statistically, a divorce later in life still damages your children’s future.  Even if your kids are grown up and moved out, started a family of their own, a parental divorce damages them immensely.  Many deal with depression, they start to question their own marriages, job performance suffers, and wages decrease.

This occurs even if you stay together in an unhappy marriage.  If you’re going to “stay together for the kids”, then you should be trying to “have a happy marriage, for the kids”, and I don’t mean faking it.  I mean show your kids what it means to dig in, do the work, and create a thriving marriage.  Learn the skills you need, change your heart and characteristics.  Become better husbands and wives.  That’s what your kids need to see.  That’s what the world needs to see.

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20 thoughts on “Your marriage is your primary relationship”

  1. Kaye says:

    Sorry! I hit the “Are you kidding?” Button by mistake! I totally agree!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      That’s okay, it happens.

    2. Norah says:

      Haha me too,sorry Jay!!!

    3. Norah says:

      Preach it!!! I can’t stand being around couples who constantly belittle, put down, discourage,never have kind word for each other. But mention their kids, mom or dad, friends, pastor even and they act like those are the only people they care about. Saddening!

  2. Robyn Gibson says:

    I like it, this is good. People reveal much about themselves on social media. FB for instance. I see SO much of pics with moms and kids (sometimes dads and kids) but mostly moms and kids. Very few memes or quotes about husband’s or marriage. Lot’s of mean ones about “EXs” though, which breaks my heart. And is super difficult to not say something, but it’s a great lesson in learning restraint 😉

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Hey Robyn! Haven’t seen you around in a while, welcome back!

    2. Butterflywings says:

      Perhaps it could be that one parent is in the picture while the other is taking the photo?

      Although that is probably not the reason for most. While not meaning to sound sexist, (as it sometimes goes the other way) but there is a large number of men who don’t see doing things with their families as a priority. I know I certainly struggle with my husband’s refusal to do anything as a family. It hurts, a lot.

      So the kids and I do things. It wouldn’t be fair to do nothing or not take photos because daddy doesn’t want to participate in family time (even though we try to do stuff he likes).

      Plus, keep in mind, lots of dads work, with mum at home. It’s normal for mums to be doing a lot more with the kids. It’s not surprising or unhealthy for a stay at home parent to have more photos with just them and the kids than a working parent

  3. LatterDay Marriage says:

    The best thing parents can do for their kids is love each other and make each other their priority. I was blessed with parents that did that. And I’m blessed with a wife that understands that too.

  4. Xavier Hale says:

    This is extremely difficult when she believes the problem with the marriage is me only. I can own my detrimental contributions to the marriage. But when she does not see or believe that there is any error in her, it makes a possible marriage impossible. Her prayers are, “Lord help him…fix him…” My prayers are, “Lord help me…show me myself…” She can easily point the finger, while ignoring 3 more are pointing back at her.

  5. FocusedDad says:

    Sorry, but I disagree totally. If you are going to have kids everything changes and you are just being selfish if they are not your primary. You are now responsible for the life of others. You yourself even become secondary. Don’t like it? Don’t have kids and then you can stay self focused and worry about your own personal pleasures.

    1. alchemist says:

      That is due to the cultures weird idolatrizing of childhood. Your child *cannot* be your primary relationship. I’ve seen what happens to kids like that. If your kid is the one you confide in and share all your burdens with and bounce ideas off of, you are forcing them to grow up way too fast. You are crushing them. The same goes for parents who are so obsessed with their kids that they are basically living their kid’s life for them. You are absolutely destroying them beneath the weight of your expectations.

      No-one is talking about neglecting your kids for the sake of your pleasure. What he is talking about is putting things is proper perspective. The kids are not the gods of the household. You can, and should have independent interests. You can, and should invest time in your marriage. If your kids are what you are basing your hope, happiness and fulfillment on you are raising them to either be monstrously selfish, cripplingly dependent (hello helicopter parents), forcing them to cope with your emotional junk, completely smothering them or some kind of weird combination of the above.

      The idea that your children always comes first is from the world. Reactionism against the parents that think they can still live like single people and the vestiges of the weird cult of childhood thing that originates in the Victorian era. The Bible says children are a blessing from the Lord. Not your new god.
      Also, you become one flesh with your spouse, not your children.

      1. FocusedDad says:

        Never said they were my new God, but having them does and should change your focus.

        I see so many just flat out crappy parents. I’ve got 3 kids aged 8 to 18. I see parents drinking in the parking lot at ballgames. I see parents buying themselves expensive toys and yet the kids are wearing shoes with holes. I have to give rides to many kids to games and school events because dad and mom are too busy on the golf course, or having a girls/boys night out (seems like every other night).

        Grow up. the party days are over and you are not teaching your kids values. You and your spouse are not the center of your world anymore.

        If you want the care free life of pre or early marriage then don’t have kids. If you want to learn and grow with your kids and raise them to be responsible grounded adults then go for it.

        It’s that simple. You can’t have both. You need to be a responsible adult parent.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          I think you’ve misunderstood the point of the post then. Just because your spouse is your primary relationship (after God) doesn’t mean it’s your sole relationship. God is my primary relationship. Just because I get married, doesn’t mean that suddenly now I dump God. Neither does it mean that if my relationship with God is the most important relationship in my life that I neglect my spouse. My point was, there is an order: God, spouse, kids. If that order is different in your life, all three of those relationships will suffer.

          If you focus on your kids more than your spouse, then you will not have a marriage by the time they move out, and your children will learn that marriage is empty, unfulfilling and vows don’t need to be kept. If you focus on your spouse more than God, then you will not have a relationship with God by the time you die and your children will learn that God doesn’t exist, or doesn’t matter, and you should enjoy your life here, because once you die, that’s it.

          God has always been there, and He should be your first and primary relationship, but besides that, you chose your spouse, you made vows, you promised to love them more than all others. Having children does not release you from those vows, because one day your children will grow up and leave…but your spouse will still be there. Just as one day you or your spouse will die…but God will still be there.

          1. FocusedDad says:

            Nope I got your point, but I disagree with the order. It’s God, kids, spouse, yourself. If you are going to bring life into this world then that life is 2nd only to God. You have vacated any “rights” to self. It is your duty to keep them safe and raise thin in God. If that means you sacrifice your worldly desires, then that’s the way it is. Nobody every said life is fair or always what you want.

            Sex is not a right or a need. It’s an earthly desire. If I sit back at summarize this entire website I can easily make the argument that sex has become God here. It’s a very scary trend that plays out on TV, the movies and all of popular culture. I see your argument here as simply a vehicle to ensure that your desire for sex is met.

            1. Jay Dee says:

              I think you’ve swallowed a big lie with some a sprinkling of truth for seasoning.

              God, kids, spouse, yourself is incorrect. In fact, spouses who do this typically suffer from depression as they lose their sense of self. When their kids leave they often have a serious life crisis because they’ve now lost their purpose of life. And since, their marriage fell apart long ago, they don’t even have a spouse to lean on. It’s a recipe for disaster.

              Do we have a duty to keep them safe and raise them in God? Of course (there’s your seasoning). We’re not talking about focusing on your spouse to the exclusion of your children. But this isn’t a one or the other thing. Just because your primary relationship is your spouse doesn’t not mean you need to neglect your children.

              As for sex not being a right or a need…I disagree with that as well. I think sex is definitely a need for a thriving marriage. Is it an earthly desire? Yes. Is that a problem? No. I don’t think so. Apparently Paul didn’t either:

              Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. – 1 Corinthians 7:5

              I don’t think God did either, because He allowed Song of Solomon to be in the Bible. The Bible lists many good and holy reasons for sex between spouses. So, has sex become God? By no means. Rather, we are following God’s advice for the proper handling of sex. Is sex was the God, then I wouldn’t be telling people to stay away from porn, threesomes, affairs and other such things.

              So, yes, my arguments here are a vehicle to ensure that sexual relationships are maintained … because they’re a need for a thriving marriage … that’s what the Bible says. I believe God wants thriving marriages. If you disagree … well … take it up with God.

  6. FocusedDad says:

    I actually have balance, peace.

    We are not going to come to an agreement on this. I don’t find anyplace in the Bible that says put your self needs first, and that is exactly the way I read this entire website. Your personal need for sex is driving your life. It does not matter how you justify it. It has become God.

    I found this site and a few others like it by reading various normal, non-sex focused Christian blogs. What I find is very saddening and “leadership” that leads others down very troubling paths.

    I’ll pray for you and those on this site to find balance and peace.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      People with balance and peace don’t go searching for sites they disagree with to start arguments.

      No, I think something else is going on in your marriage and instead of dealing with it, you’re trying to criticize what’s promoting you to change.

      But I’ll always take more prayers 🙂

  7. FocusedDad says:

    No. Your batting .000 so far.

    Did not go searching and hunting for a fight. I was on a normal Christian site and somebody mentioned this site, one called Chrisitian Nymphos and a few others. I could not believe such sites existed so I visited and can not believe what I am seeing. I first see a lot of things that I do not think are good. Second what I see are sites full of people complaining they are not getting what they feel they want. A lot of self centered discussions that are all I II, Me, Me, Me. A lot of talk about how to get what you want.

    You are not the center. Your wants are not the center.Once you stop putting your own selfish desires front and center you can become a happier person because you are not a slave to your selfish pursuits. On these sites sex has become God. It is an idol.

    Now I’m not going to continue to push this. I planted a seed of thought and hope it grows.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think I’m going to stick with my original assessment. You have a little too much rant for someone who has peace and balance in their marriage.

      1. Weaselina says:

        I agree that this dad is delusional and trying to convince himself of something.

        Dear dad who thinks kids should be the center of the universe, absolutely, under no circumstances, should you date. Unless you are clear with her that you need intend to prioritize her and are clear that you expect to not be prioritized.

        If you want an emotional incestuous relationship where your kids are your everything, that is not healthy. For you and most definitely not for them.

        But more to the point, just do not ever think it is appropriate to date. You shouldn’t. Wait until your next life, since your kids leaving home will likely not change that you feel they take priority over a spouse.

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