Your closest family members play a significant role in your life. Each one of them have impacted you in an amazing way — and without them, you might question where you’d be in life right now. You have your loving parents, incredible spouse and amazing children (and even brothers, sisters, grandparents, etc). You love them all dearly and deep down you want all of your family to feel loved by you. However, because of all the significant people in your life, you may have displaced the order of relationships in your life. Who should be first in your life? Who comes before who? In many marriages, the struggle comes between the spouse and children. Some married individuals even place their parents on the highest pedestal. So, those are the 3 parties we will focus on today.
So, who comes first?
It’s important to point out that GOD comes first before anyone else in your life. He’s your Creator. He’s the One who gave you life, extended His grace to you and sustains you. He blessed you with your parents, spouse and kids. God declares that no one (or thing) should ever come before Him. Never make the mistake of putting God second (or third, or fourth) in your life. He even declares that He is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 6:15). When God isn’t first, you will find that your life and relationships will begin to be disrupted.
Keep God first.
Who comes after God?
This is where some of the real confusion can begin. Some believe that their kid comes first, others believe that their spouse is top priority — and still others regard their parents as the most important people in their life. But there is only room for one person to come after God. Who might that be?
Your spouse should come before your parents and your kids. Let’s look at parents first. You’ve probably heard of the typical “momma’s boy.” For wives, it can be especially hard to have a husband who is a hardcore “momma’s boy.” He gives too much of his attention to his mother. He always sides with her, even when it comes to choosing between his dear wife and his mother. In essence, the wife feels like she has to compete with her mother-in-law for her husband’s love and attention. There are even some women out there who give more attention to her parents than her husband. But is this supposed to happen? Absolutely not. How come?
Leave and Cleave
The Bible clearly states that a husband should leave his mother and father in order to cleave unto his wife and become one with her (Gen. 2:24). Becoming “one” literally means that the husband is part of his wife and vice versa. Being one with each other is a clear indicator that your spouse comes right after God. I know that your parents may mean a lot to you — and they always will. They’re the ones that God used to bring you into this world. They provided for you and even gave you what you wanted. But once you take vows with your spouse, everything changes. Now you have the responsibility to cater to your significant other, procreate and build an empire together, just like your parents did. Now your focus is on the present and future with your spouse. This makes him/her your top priority. This isn’t to say that you reject and neglect your parents. Your love for them is to remain and your presence should definitely still be in their life. But now your spouse’s needs and desires should always come before your parents. Remember, “leave and cleave.”
But what about my kids?
This can be a tough one. How in the world do you put your spouse before your kids? Why do you have to do it? And does this mean your kids become neglected for your spouse’s sake? Obviously a lot of questions can arise on this subject matter. Let’s be realistic. Your kids are your pride and joy. They need a lot of nurturing and attention in order to feel loved and develop properly. They demand a lot of energy from you and you want to do your best to supply their needs and desires. Let me start by saying, there is nothing wrong with this. Any loving parent wants the best for their kids and will do anything in their power to give their kids the best.
In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of raising your kids, you cannot forget about your spouse. In fact, you must maintain your spouse as the #1 being in your life (right after God, that is). You can’t forget that your spouse is half the reason your kids are here in the first place. Learning to give your spouse love and attention while raising your kids together is vital. Your spouse should never feel like you’re neglecting him/her for your kids. This can bring about resentment — and resentment, when it’s fully mature, brings about separation. The key to successfully keeping your spouse first is to ensure you set enough time apart from your kids to spend time with your spouse (emotionally, physically, spiritually and intimately). Your kids should know that your spouse is the king or queen of your heart. You must keep in mind that your spouse is your best friend and your life partner. Your significant other was there before your kids got here and will be there after your kids leave. Did you think about it? Your kids are destined to eventually grow up, move out, then cleave unto their spouse as well. Eventually someone else will be first in your kids’ life. But your spouse will still be there. If you spend years and years neglecting your spouse for your kids, you’ll find that after they leave, you’re stuck with a complete stranger. Someone whom you should have intimately known, becomes someone you barely know. All of the lost quality time and love will result in you both feeling lonely after your kids have gone.
Avoid that loneliness at all costs. Place your spouse right after God, now.
Remember that you’re one with your spouse and he/she should never feel neglected or unloved. Use wise discretion when you dish out your time. Let your love extend to your whole family, but keep your spouse at the top! This is essential to a healthy marriage and a happy family. Support your kids, love them, nurture them and guide them. Love your parents and appreciate them. But above all, honor your spouse and regard him/her as your top priority.
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