02 December 2014

Is your spouse #1?

Over the past little while, I've noticed a couple of things crop up around the Internet about putting your spouse before your kids and how important that is to your marriage and for your kids, as well.

I'm interested in thoughts about this. Everything I have read seems to suggest that if you don't willfully prioritize your spouse's needs above your child(ren)'s, then you are in some need of adjustment.

I take issue a bit with this stance, but I'm also a little uncomfortable with my reasons for doing so. Reading what I've read has made me feel a bit guilty because I suspect often that I put my child's needs ahead of my husband's. Not intentionally, but I do so because my child is a very little human. He needs are more numerous and constant, often more simple to fulfill, more urgent, and he requires my constant presence/supervision. While I theoretically value my marriage enough to prioritize it over my child, I think in pragmatic terms it's a bit impossible, at least for me. We don't really have the resources to seek out a date night every week, for example, and I haven't prioritized it. When you don't have a free (or affordable) and reliable babysitter, it's easier to just take walks and hope the kid keeps quiet long enough for you to finish expressing a coherent thought. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn't. We just take what we can get.

I don't think it's realistic to think that your marriage will be prioritized the same way as it was pre-child. Is that just me? I justify myself by thinking that this stage of our lives (during which our opportunities to connect as two married adults are almost continuously interrupted by a young child functioning in his own dimension) is a temporary one. Our relationship probably won't go back to how it was before we became parents, but I'm sure at some point in the not-too-distant future, it will be a little easier for me to make my marital relationship more well-rounded. Sometimes right now, it feels rather like a business contract involving a parenting partnership. But is it so wrong of me to admit that my life is sort of about my kid(s) more than my marriage at this moment?

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