New York Times Best Selling Author” Ayelet Waldman said it best….”I love my husband more than I love my children” in a prior essay she wrote about marriage and children. She was also “booed” on the Oprah show for her remarks. After reading her prior essay and listening to Ms. Waldman on the radio program, Fresh Air, I can’t wait to go out and get my copy of ”Bad Mother.”‘
With that, her essay point begged a post on the subject of the first rule for every marriage and especially blended family, spouses must love one another first and must put each other first, before the children and especially ex-spouses, in their lives. In America, and I am certain in other countries as well, we have been trained so differently, especially if you are a single mother. We are taught that once we have children, they come first, at times, even before ourselves. All we know is our children. All we want to do is take care of them first and foremost. Not only is this philosophy wrong and detrimental to our emotional health and well-being, but to our marriages as well. In order for our marriages to survive and in order for us to create a healthy, happy home life for all of us, we have to align with our spouses and have a bond that is stronger than that of the bond with our children. This is a daunting task to say the least because like Ms. Waldman being “booed” on Oprah, society just can’t always wrap their minds around the idea that if your marriage is unbreakable and your husband/wife is first in your life, not only will your overall family life be better, but your children will be happier, well-rounded and emotionally well.
Of course, I, like most parents, can understand the fear behind the idea of putting your spouse ahead of your children because up until about 3 years ago, if you asked me if I would not have put any man before my children, even their fathers, I would have said “No” unequivocally. However, 3 years ago, my marriage wasn’t at all like it is today. The Bible tells us to cling to our spouses but some of us still cling to everyone but our spouses. The very day that I made the decision to always put my husband before my children, grown or not, my marriage changed for the better. Not only is this rule good for you, your spouse and your marriage, there is an incredible lesson being taught to your children. Your children learn that there is no room for division. They learn what it means to have unity and security. Moreover, when they are older, they will be more likely to enjoy healthy, happy marriages themselves. It has been proven time and time again that if your marriage is not strong, your children will be able to feel and sense it which in turn makes them insecure. Being on the same page and putting your spouse first teaches your children that they cannot dismantle the family hierarchy but rather fortify their role in the family as well, thereby avoiding confusion.
In my opinion, Ms. Waldman has it on point. The luckiest thing that has ever happened to me is meeting my husband. It is a remarkable feeling to know that he and I always have one another’s back, that we stand united together in not just our decisions, but in the wholeness of our marriage. Although our children may not like it at times, they know they cannot drive wedges between us nor can they play one of us against the other. These are life lessons that they take into adulthood and into their own marriages. By my husband and I always putting one another first and taking care of our marriage first, we are making sure our needs as a couple are being met. For example, when you board an airplane, what is the first thing that happens? The flight attendants teach you how to use the oxygen masks first as parents, and then give them to your children, correct? That is because if you are not stable, they won’t be stable. The same applies in your marriage and family life. If you as parents aren’t stable, there is no way you can provide a stable environment for your children. The most important part of that stability is loving your husband or wife first and putting your marriage before your children.
Say yes to your marriage and remember the number one rule: Love each other first.
Peace & Blessings.