When Mark and I found ourselves sitting in a counselor’s office around year 7, we found that we’d made a very big mistake.  We’d put our kids before our marriage.  We also learned this was no more healthy for our marriage than it was for our kids.  Here’s both of our perspectives on this:

Jill says:

Once kids came on the scene, Mark easily moved to the backburner.  He could dress himself, feed himself, and take care of his own needs, but these little people couldn’t do those things.  They easily became the priority. 

When I learned the concept of “wife first, mother second,” I came to understand that this is actually a counter-intuitive thought for moms.  It’s not easy for us to leave our kids.  It’s not always easy for us to prioritize our husband before the kids.  But it comes down to daily choices we need to make.

I’ve come to learn that my kids need me to make their daddy a priority because 1) it models for them how to invest in their marriage someday and 2) it provides them with a sense of security knowing that mom and dad love each other and take time for each other.

It’s still hard to leave my kids…and the only ones still at home are teenagers!  But I’ve certainly discovered that any effort I make to spend time with Mark daily, weekly, and for an annual getaway or two is always worth it!

Mark says:

I’ve always been big on romance and the concept of us taking time for our marriage wasn’t a real difficult thing for me to understand.  However, in that counselor’s office I discovered that the very thing I wanted, I was keeping from happening because my expectations were crushing Jill.

“What expectations?” you might ask.  Expectations that there was a prize at the end of any of my effort to make our marriage a priority.  And that prize was always spelled S-E-X.  Jill and I couldn’t spend a fun evening together without my expectation of the night ending in sex.  We couldn’t go out on a date without my expectations lording over my head and my heart.  I don’t know that I actually enjoyed the non-sexual time together because I was so obsessed with when the non-sexual would become the sexual.

Over time I began to understand that my expectations were off the charts and I needed to bring some balance to this area of my life.  Through counseling, seeking out God’s truth for my life, and some honest work on my heart, I brought the expectations to a healthy level.

And the best part of it all?  The physical part of our marriage greatly improved because Jill was now free to be herself and I was no longer crushing her under my expectations! 
That was one of the most important lessons I learned about dating my mate!

What about you?  What practical strategies have you found for making your spouse a priority?

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