God, Kids, Husband. In that order.

"Cranky" is going to be crankier than usual today with this blog.  Please forgive my strong opinions on this one, and bear with my hypothetical reasoning.

Several times this week, I've heard stories about people putting their spouses before their children in terms of priority. 

On one of the "Real Housewives" reality shows, the wife often talks about how, in a Christian marriage, God comes first, spouse comes second, and children come third: 

Then I read about an author couple in which the wife is seen to be almost obsessive in her love for her husband, and much less effusive about her children:

Finally, I saw this over-the-top post from an English husband regarding his family:

I realize that I am far from the first person to respond to this issue, and I also realize that this is merely a theoretical construct, but I still feel it's worthy of attention.

First, let me make this clear: I love my husband to death.  He is my best friend, and in some ways, my hero.  He's a brilliant, sweet, supportive, affectionate, funny, deeply spiritual, responsible, and honest man... not to mention, a fabulous dad.  We have stumbled upon a kind of Ozzie-and-Harriet relationship these days in that my husband is the sole breadwinner and I stay home with the kids.  However, the man is a feminist who still manages to bring me coffee every single morning and roses for no reason.  He wrote me poetry and even served as my "doula" when I was a surrogate.  He baptizes our babies, reads stories in silly voices, spends his weekends doing chores, and has never said an unkind or untrue word to me (or to anyone, if memory serves).  He doesn't have a jealous or spiteful bone in his body.  My family adores him.  There is not much more that anyone could ask for in someone, in my opinion.  You could say I am rather fond of him.  I realize how fortunate I am.  (I even have amazingly awesome in-laws, as a bonus!)

But would I put my children before my husband?  Absolutely, and I'll tell you why.

1. Children are vulnerable, and they must be protected.  My husband is a grown man who can, in most aspects, take care of himself.  My children need help, like any other children, and so tending to their needs trumps tending any non-vulnerable adult's needs.  That's a no-brainer. 
2. Children didn't ask to be born.  My husband and I, as their parents, had control over that, and therefore we have an additional duty (again, a no-brainer) to be responsible for them.  However, my husband and I chose to be together and to commit ourselves to each other; in the extremely unlikely event that we'd ever change our minds, that decision is also within our control.

Sure, I understand what my critics are probably saying: a happy, strong marriage makes a happy, strong family.  It's important to tend to one's marriage/partnership for the sake of the family, and that bodes well for the kids.  In most cases, I'd agree wholeheartedly to this.  I do believe that the kind of love that my husband and I model with each other, as well as the way we model our cooperation, conflicts, affection, and so forth, are really important.  I also think that it helps that we are a united front when it comes to family values, discipline, and the like.  (That doesn't mean we always agree, of course, but we back each other up on the important stuff.)

But the idea that kids are at the bottom of the list really churns my stomach.  They are kids!  (Should I underline that for emphasis?)  One real-life, tragic example is of a relative who stood by her husband even when her children were being abused by him, and who claimed that it was the biblical thing to do.  If, God forbid, something happened and I had to choose between the lives of my children and the lives of my husband, I would choose my children's lives... after all, I'd choose their lives over mine anyday.  Children are precious, no matter to whom they were born.  Case closed.

But what about the "God" part?  My many loved ones who would consider themselves agnostic or atheist might wonder about this.  To explain... I think of God as my highest ideals, the source of love and the ultimate.  I would put God first - or honestly, I would hope to, but reality says I often fall short - because God, for me, equals life and all of humanity.  Life itself is more important than even one precious family, even though, of course, every family is an indivisible part of that big picture.  (Clear as mud?)  But love conquers all, and it isn't party-loyal to kith and kin, as they say.

One final postscript: the Dailymail piece is from someone who would be writing for the Reluctant Dad website.  The site has got to be a joke, right?  Some people really shouldn't have kids.

Do these children ever make it to adulthood without hating their fathers or becoming misanthropes?  I hope not.  What do you think?


  1. I completely agree on the children vs. spouse opinion. I believe biology gives most parents, especially mothers, an unconditional love for their children, and I feel it is unhealthy for an unconditional love to exist in any other type of relationship.

  2. Everyone is different, period. I totally disagree that it is unhealthy for an unconditional love to exist in any other type of relationship besides parent to child. I mean, are you serious? My husband and I aren't having children. Does that mean I shouldn't love my husband unconditionally? I don't think so. And if we do end up adopting down the road, my unconditional love for my husband would not make me a bad mother. My love for my husband would only strengthen my love for our children. Everything we do together makes me happy and makes my love bigger and I imagine this would also apply to our children.
    For me, I just don't think there should be a hierarchy of love when it comes to partners and kids, and even whatever faith one has.
    Again, that's just me!
    ♥ Jenn

  3. By unconditional I mean, if your husband/wife murdered your family you should not stand by them unconditionally? If he/she beats you and threatens you I feel a health person would fall out of love. A parent will often love a child no matter what mistakes they make in life, no matter how awful they might seem to the rest of us. But in a partnership there needs to be respect and it is unhealthy to love someone with no conditions on that respect being given. Again, my opinion, just trying to clarify in case I was misunderstood.

  4. Yes! Totally agree with that. Ok, definitely sounded different at first--the bad part of online communication! LOL. Yes, yes, yes!
    ♥ Jenn

  5. Thank you for your great comments!


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