It is All About Prioritizing Your Spouse!
As parents, we end up doing peculiar things for our kids for the sake of our love for them. Have you ever stayed up till 2 a.m trying to glue glitter for your child’s art project or driven halfway across town to deliver an accessory that was left behind at home? How about trying to bribe your teen into attending college. As parents, we have all been there and done that – our tribe knows how weird we can get. However, one of the strangest things we are guilty of is loving our children more than our partners.
Now, before you think of calling the child services or trolling this article, let me clear the air – of course, one does love his/her kids to the moon and back. You definitely should prioritize their needs; there are no two ways about this.
Kids, with their crucial and mostly tricky-to-ascertain requirements, quite easily attract your devotion and affection. Our spouses do not need to be fed, cleaned, dressed, or have their tears wiped, and common, let’s state facts – they are nowhere near being as cute as our munchkins.
Loving your children is just like breathing – it happens involuntarily and just comes naturally, but loving your spouse is like having to study. It is up to you to put in the effort. So, why put in the effort for someone who is capable of taking care of him or herself?
Why does Parenthood have to Change your Relationship with Your Spouse?
Parenthood can completely change your relationship with your partner. After all, you are stressed most of the time having to constantly care for kids who are not able to care for themselves initially, and then you kind of get into this pattern of continuously caring and thinking of them, leaving little room in our minds for our partners and eventually, most of us end up prioritizing our children over our relationship with our partners.
If you do nothing, a relationship deteriorates even more – in the end, you and your partner are just co-parents who argue about tasks. You have to put in the effort into a relationship for it to continue being the same and even work harder to improve it.
It’s all about Quality and not Quantity
It is not about spending the quantity but the quality of time with your partner. You see your partner every day. But does seeing each other every single day equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.
What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without any interruption. It is a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication builds trust and emotional intimacy.
Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not necessarily sex (but that’s great, too!) but through cuddling, hand-holding, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection boost partner satisfaction.
Relationships flourish on time spent as a couple, holding your partner in your mind and listening to and connecting with them. You have to make your partner your priority, probably not possible for the first six weeks of the child’s life – but post that you must make time for your partner, even if it is in small amounts, to simply check in with each other and not converse about the child. This could mean some logistical planning, such as getting a family member to watch the kids or spending time together once the kids sleep for the night. Though this is easier said than done, even a short walk around the block or having a meal together can help you reconnect as a couple.
As a mom of two, I must admit that I try hard to recollect the times I spent with my partner before the kids. As parents, we tend to get so invested in the whole child-rearing process (especially in these uneasy helicopter times), that it moves from a journey meant to be undertaken as a team to the only point of the team’s existence. Over time I have realized how dangerous “the middle-aged blur” of kids and work is to people’s relationships. I am simply amazed at how difficult it for us as couples to remember a time we had spent alone with our partners – something that was equally precious and beautiful as our kids.
Over and over again, people come back to consciousness at the age of fifty or fifty-five and cannot go to a restaurant and just have a conversation by themselves. Research suggests this is the reason behind the doubling of the divorce rate among couples over fifty and tripling among those over the age of sixty-five – it is an empty-nest split. The only way to stop such a metamorphosis is to understand and remember that kids are not the reason you got together; they are here because you got together in the first place. They are an essential part of your marriage – a very engrossing and absorbing part, no doubt. However, we must learn to balance the act in a manner that we do not lose focus on each other. Children eventually grow up, learn, and then leave to deal with their own lives, and our aim should be to provide them with the ability to take on the world without losing our partners in the process.
Why Should you Prioritize your Spouse?
What we give attention to grows. If the desire and expectation are to have a lasting marriage, we have to intend to make that happen. When we put our marriage in autopilot mode, it fails. We have vowed to be with our partners, and it is important to note that while our children stay in the house with us, we make choices that will create either intimacy or separation when our children eventually leave our homes.
Having a strong and healthy marriage is the greatest thing for our kids to see and perceive. When we work together as a team to make choices, spend time together and be respectful, our kids feel that they are in a safe and secure environment. Seeing us working as a team to make choices, spending time together, and being respectful, shows them that they are in a safe and secure environment. Our kids also feel loved, and we are teaching our kids what kind of a partner they should seek later in life. Heck yes, we want our kids to be the first priority of their spouse in the future.