January 22, 2007

Children Before Lovers

I was in my boss's office the other day when I saw she had what must have been 20-30 framed pictures of her children across a cabinet but I could not find one picture of her husband. After a sarcastic comment about "have enough pictures" I asked why there wasn't one of her husband?

She showed me a picture of him on her desk that was smaller than any of the other pictures of her children and was from their wedding twenty years ago. To me this seemed as if her children were more important than her husband and that was depressing to me.

This is a man she married and decided to make one of the biggest commitments with by having children with but once they were around he was pushed aside. Maybe I'm making too big of a deal about this but to me I don't see why it has to change everything.

Obviously a child needs more attention than an adult but to keep a happy union it can require a lot of work and maybe that's why so many marriages don't last after they have children. My relationship is one of the most important things in my life and I'd hate for that to fall by the wayside. Maybe it's selfish but I don't want to sacrifice the very best thing in my life.

[Photo: Originally uploaded to Flickr on January 17, 2007 by Tixu Oty]


AlphaGirl said...

My mom and step-dad are celebrating their 35th anniversary today. This is the formula that has kept them together for 35 years, and will do do for many more:
Marriage first.
Children second. You can't be an effective parent if your marriage is neglected. No theraphy, no self-help books, no marriage workshops or couples retreats. Just a lot of common sense and placing the marriage first. =)
My folks came up old school, and that's how it was done =)

Robin said...

Alphagirl - Yes, I completely agree. I wish my parents had been more important to each other.

Colleen said...

New here.:)
I agree its very important to appreciate your spouse and spend time with them, with or without children. People need to remember what brought them together in the first place.

emeraldwednesday said...

Hooray alphagirl! Exactly.
Yourself first, your spouse second, your kids next. This is actually the best way to give your spouse and kids everything they need.

twiga92 said...

This is probably why my aunt and uncle split up after being married over 25 years. My aunt's whole life was her kids and once they left the house, she didn't want to be with her spouse anymore. So sad!
One of the reasons I think my marriage is as great as it is is because we don't have children coming between us.

Maureen said...

My husband & I put our family first. Sometimes that's the kids. Sometimes that's us as a couple. Sometimes that's our own selves as individuals. Sometimes that's our family as a whole.

To each according to their needs, from each according to their ability.

Our marriage doesn't suffer because the kids are there or because we both realize how short and how important their childhood is. It's something that we are loving doing together.

I *know* that's not for everyone, though and that's OK.

Just wanted to give a different point of view on it all. It is possible for a marriage to survive and thrive with kids. It takes a shared desire for it to do so on the part of both partners, though.

Say my husband got it in his head that he was going to really get into Nascar. He started following the races, learning about cars, about all the different drivers, spending our money on memorabilia, watching TV shows about it all weekend long, going on weekend trips to Nascar conventions, etc...

If I didn't share that passion or support his love of that, it would surely affect our relationship, cause strain, and, if we couldn't communicate about it & come to a loving agreement, it would probably destroy the marriage altogether.

But, if we were doing it *together*, supporting each other, having fun with it, it would make our relationship stronger.

Same goes for parenting, I think :D And, again, I know that parenting is *not* the best hobby/life path for everyone -and- that's OK.

Anonymous said...

I rather like the "doing it together" part of coupledom. I want to adopt four laying hens (yes, chickens) from a friend. The property we are living on has a old coop on it. We are a bit out in the country and the lot is zoned for farming and animal husbandry.

I needed my husband's help to rebuild the existing coop. He is hating every minute of doing it. I am a little worried this will be a sore point between us. Perhaps it's just the stresses of this moment in time that we exist in. I am hoping the fresh eggs will win him over. I am quite certain I will be the one feeding them and cleaning the run.

I can imagine if it were a bigger endeavor such as raising kids, and both parties were not on the same page. Once you're committed, there is no going back. It could be miserable if both parents were not motivated and enjoying the journey. For the kids too.

Dave said...

In March 2005 a writer named Ayelet Waldman caused a stir in a NY Times essay called "Truly, Madly, Guiltily" in which she said, "I love my husband more than I love my children."

Needless to say, mothers across the nation freaked out. The inevitable apology/clarification on *Oprah* followed. Many commentators said that she could have clarified that she was using the word "love" in different ways, and I agree.

Nevertheless, I'm glad she said it so plainly and caused the uproar because, as Robin observes in her post, too many mothers go too far in the *other* direction. And sometimes the only way to get the masses to rethink this sort of thing, or even to get their attention at all, is to lay it on so strong that people flip out.