Last week we began creating a schedule to balance our life with God's desires and our family's needs. We discussed priorities and the need for daily time with God and the importance of spending quality time with our husband.
An ABCJLM friend left this question on one of the posts last week:
Is Genesis 2:24 the only scripture that indicates our marital relationship is of more importance than the relationships we have with our children?
Because I don't read Genesis 2:24 as a comparative between the two...
I guess I need a little more convincing that "if I am going to say that God is top priority in my life, then my husband must be placed before my children."
This is a great question.
Frankly, husband-before-children is not what the current culture tells moms to do. The thought is that the more time you spend with your child, the better chance the child will have to grow up intelligent and well-rounded. Thus, the child should be your top priority since your husband is an adult and he can wait his turn.
But, I believe this will lead to major heartache.
In the "Scheduling Success" post on husbands, I stated just what our ABCJLM friend said. I believe that our husbands are to hold a higher priority in our life than our children because this is what God has told us to do.
What Does the Bible Say?
Genesis 2:24 is the first scripture that talks about the importance of the husband and wife relationship.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
In Matthew 19 Jesus restates this point while talking to the Pharisees.
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”The husband and wife union is the only relationship declared "one flesh." In order for you to maintain this one-flesh relationship, you must spent time nourishing it. A united marriage will not occur without time, focus, and attention.
The Bible goes further to say the wives are to respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:33) and be a helpmate (Genesis 2:18). A biblical marriage is the earthly example of Christ's love of the church - those who are believers (Ephesians 5:25-32). Does Christ set the church aside for a while so that He can concentrate on something else? Praise God that Christ never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5).
Concerning children, the direction is for children to obey (Ephesians 6:1) and parents to teach (Deut. 11:13, 19) and train (Ephesians 6:4) their children in the way of the Lord. This is all in preparation for adulthood and marriage in which the children will leave their parents and cleave to their spouses.
Benefits for the Children
Our children learn positive values when our husband comes first. They learn what a healthy marriage looks like. The saying, "values are caught, not taught" applies here. The kiddos are watching us to learn how to treat their spouses. I am the example to our daughter of how to respect her husband. My husband is the example to our sons of how to love their wives. When they see us putting our marriage first, they realize that a marriage is important and something to take seriously.
Secondly, is the "me" complex that all of us are born with - a sin nature. As parents we have to teach our children that the world doesn't revolve around them. When we tell a child to be patient because mommy and daddy are talking, we are teaching respect for other people.
Next, is the stability that a healthy marriage provides for a child. Read almost any parenting or marriage book and it will declare the marriage as the foundation for a healthy family. And when God is part of the marriage, you are providing security for your child. Take God and a healthy marriage away and a child's world will begin to crumble.
Finally, a healthy marriage works as a team. Tear down the team and you have an unhappy and poorly managed home. Children pick up on this very quickly and soon start playing parents against each other.
A marriage takes work from both sides. And as I stated in last week's post, it is not something that can not be put on the back burner to attend to later.
Read a quote from author Barb Folkerts:
Never forget that a broken marriage will cost kids more than it does from their mom to invest a few hours into a healthy one.
What About My Child's Needs?
Let me explain one thing. Children depend on us to supply their needs. I am in no way saying that a godly wife ignores the needs of her children for the wants of her husband. There are times when children need us to comfort and talk to them even though we have designated the hour as "Mommy and Daddy Time." Sickness and situations comes up. And if we ignore the needs of our children, we are causing neglect.
When I say that our husband comes first, I mean that God desires for us to put our husband's needs before our children's wants. Also, as a stay at home mom, I will never spend as many hours with my husband as I do with my children. Remember that we are talking quality time and not quantity time.
Here's a little embarrassing secret. Sometimes, I use my children as an excuse to not have to do something with or for my husband. And I bet if you are honest with yourself, you do to.
How do I know the difference?
When I allow the Holy Spirit to work in those dark places of my heart, I can see the motive of why I am doing something. Also, I know the difference between my child being self-centered and truly needing something.
Heidi, you are blowing this way out of proportion. My husband says he doesn't care because our child-focused family is only for a season.
I am glad that you and your husband have discussed this. And, I pray that you continue to having open, honest dialogue about it. But, I believe that you will see that one season turns into a another season.
First is the newborn season. Who has time for marriage when you are up all hours of the night? But, this season turns into toddler time when you are exhausted from keeping up with a 2 year old all day. Then you are into school years....
And during each of these short seasons of not watering, feeding, and nurturing your marriage, the relationship begins to die. A quiet death. A process so slow that you don't even realize it is happening. Don't believe me? Ask some moms whom you respect who have just entered the empty nesting phase of life. The kids are gone and suddenly she finds that she doesn't know her husband and they no longer have things in common.
Ladies, in a blink, our kiddos are going to be out of our homes and into the world. Are you willing to kiss your marriage goodbye as well?
Next...scheduling "committed time."
How do you know the difference between a child's need and want?