Marriages Comes First
Not kids, author says
By: Kellie B. Gormly
Everyone who is a parent knows that the kids come first and foremost, before everything else in life, including his or her marriage.
Right? Not quite, says author John Rosemond. That may be the common wisdom of society, but if you follow it, your marriage — and, consequently, the kids — will suffer, he says.
“That is the way most people conduct themselves these days: they put the children as the center of attention in the family,” says Rosemond. He is the author of Parenting by The Book: Biblical Wisdom for Raising Your Child ($19.99; Howard Books).
“Most of today’s children don’t understand the benefits of living in a household where the adults are the center,” says Rosemond, of Gastonia, N.C.
While parenting needs to be a top priority, he says, your mate is your lifelong companion — who should long outlast the 18 years of active parenting — and ultimately should come first. When husbands and wives nurture their marriage first, the children then will be nurtured in a more loving and secure home, Rosemond says. As for the parents, they will be much happier overall if their primary relationship is happy, he says; neglecting a marriage is a common trigger for affairs and workaholism.
“People who have been parents exclusively … when the last child leaves, they don’t know how to be married again,” Rosemond says.
While both fathers and mothers can overinvest in their children and neglect their marriages, mothers particularly face societal pressures to put their children first and themselves last.
“I think it’s taken for granted today that the mother’s life, especially, should be focused on her kids — that she should function almost exclusively as mother, and not as wife,” Rosemond says. “My job is to liberate women from the constraints of modern motherhood.
Because of societal pressure, Rosemond says, when a woman has kids, “she acts like she took a vow on her wedding day that says, ‘I take you as my husband until children do us part.’ “
Put your marriage first
Author and columnist John Rosemond has this advice:
- Go on some vacations without the children.
- Go out on regular date nights with your spouse, and leave the children with a sitter.
- Put the children to bed earlier, or send them to their rooms early, so you can have some quality alone time with your spouse.
- Reduce your children’s involvement with extracurricular activities. This way, you’re not spending so much energy on your children’s interests that you have no energy left for your spouse.
- Don’t try to explain too much to your kids — why, for instance, they can’t come to dinner with you and Mom or Dad — and don’t let them manipulate you into taking them if they’re not happy about it. They will eventually learn and get it.
- Don’t forget to make time for romance.