At first thought, my answer was no. Of course, I love my husband. We were "one" even before we had children. I understand how important it is for my kids to see that my husband and I are a stable couple. So, my priority (after God) is my husband, right?
But, despite my confidence in this, the question keeps bugging me. Do I really love my husband MORE than my kids? Or is it the other way around?
Panic starts to set in as I realize...
I spend more time with my kids than I do with my husband. The time I actually do spend with my husband is most often zoning out in front of the TV or a good book after a long day.
I read parenting book after parenting book to try to get this mothering thing just right. But, am I working that hard to figure out how to be a better wife?
I study my children and wrack my brain all day long trying to figure out how to best communicate with them and love them? Have I quit studying my husband?
I spend every ounce of patience I have each day on my children. When my husband comes home, do I have any left for him?
I am more than happy to talk about all the cute or loving things my kids have done lately. But when was the last time I got excited to talk about how great my husband is?
I rush to give my kids hugs and kisses when I have not seen them in a little while. Why don’t I rush to give my husband hugs and kisses after his long workday?
From all outward signs, I actually love my kids more than my husband.
This realization hit me right in the heart. No wonder we have so many misunderstandings. No wonder we don’t have the passion or romance we used to have in our relationship. No wonder I feel like my husband is more of a roommate/partner than my lover and friend.
Many people might not think there is anything wrong with loving their kids more than their husband. From surveys I have seen, most women do, in fact, love their children more and are happy to admit it. Some of you might be outraged that I am even trying to fix this "problem" in my life. Our children are the only thing we leave behind when we die, right? We better put all the effort and love that we have into them, right?
Well, as I have spent time thinking about this, my personal thought is a great, big "NO!" One of the greatest lessons you can teach your children is that they are loved by you and your husband as a couple, allowing them to feel stable and confident in their family.
My struggle is this... What kind of love can compare to that of a mother’s love the first time she sees her baby? How can a husband compete with the bond of mother and child? When you spend almost all day every day with your children bonding and making memories, how can the hour or two at the end of a day with your husband compete with that?
It is not easy, but nothing worthwhile is easy, is it? It takes serious commitment from both you and your husband - hence the "till death do us part" promises you made. Whatever it takes, I am willing to work harder to love my husband at least as much as I love my children. Not that I will love my children less, but I will work to increase my efforts and make him more of a priority in my life. It is the least I can do for my stud-muffin husband. :-)
Here are a few ideas on how to get back on track with loving your husband just as much as you love your children:
- Try not to have many expectations. They kill relationships. Don’t expect him to be romantic. Don’t expect him to comfort you when you are upset. Don’t expect him to love you all the time. Let God do all that. Let God comfort you, love you perfectly, make you feel like a million bucks every minute of every day. Your husband cannot be perfect. God is perfect.
- Live gratefully. Constantly think of all the reasons you love your husband and are grateful for him. For me, it always comes back to thinking about "What would I do if he died at work today? Where would I be without him?" Try it. See? Instantly grateful.
- Make the most of every moment you have together (and I am preaching to myself the most right here). I know at the end of the day the last thing you might want to do is try to come up with stimulating conversation with your husband. It might be easy to only talk/argue about money, to-dos, children, etc., but try to use this time to reconnect and keep learning about each other. I love asking my husband questions or having mini-dates in. Here are some other great ideas for connecting that I have on my Pinterest page.
- Continue to grow as a person and grow in your faith. When you can bring the best of yourself to your marriage, it is a lot easier to connect. If you are super stressed, super needy, always tired, grouchy, or whatever it is, it will be much harder to have a healthy relationship with someone else.
Remember, your kids will grow up and move out. But your husband is your partner for the rest of your days. Love him!