What are your priorities in your relationship?
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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Default What are your priorities in your relationship?

    A recent thread got me thinking about this - and I was reminded of some advice I remember hearing years ago that I took to heart.

    Proper priorities in a marriage/family - the order of importance you should place on your personal relationships.

    1) Yourself. (Some would say God - but as you know, I'm an atheist, and it amounts to the same thing). You need to know yourself and accept yourself. You need to know your needs and your wants, your goals and your values. You need to be a person you can respect and trust. If you don't know yourself - how can you ever truly know how you relate to someone else? If you don't respect yourself, how can anyone else respect you?

    2) Your spouse. When you marry, the spouse becomes equal to yourself in importance. You are now a partnership - for life. Getting to know everything about them you can - interests, goals and values - some you'll share, some you won't - but what matters is you put the spouse on an equal level with yourself in order of importance. NOT before you - if you do that you risk losing yourself in the relationship - you cannot be true to yourself while putting someone else before you. NOT after you - if you do that you risk simply being a user of your spouse.

    3) Kids. Yes, moms - I am telling you - put your kids THIRD. Too many parents (dad's too but more Moms in my experience) put their kids first in their lives - before spouses, and before themselves. This is worse than putting spouse before you - because not only do you risk losing your own identity, but you are betraying the primary responsibility you have to your children. Your job as a parent is to prepare your child to go out into the world and make their own way. Your job is to get them ready to leave. If you put your kids before your spouse, what will you have left with your spouse when your kids are grown? If you put your kids before yourself - what will you do when they leave? Who will you be if you your kids are your identity and then they go away?

    That's how I see it anyway - what are your thoughts?

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    Registered User andrew's mom's Avatar
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    I agree in many respects. I do believe in a power greater than myself to help me through the rough spots of my life (it's not about religion but about spirituality).
    I struggle with #3 but I know from my own family of origin how devastating putting your kids before oneself can be. I was an only child, my dad passed away 8 years ago and I was the center of my mom's life. I can see how lonely she is now. Even during the marriage she alienated herself from my dad and she put all her energy into me. It really crippled me for a long time and I am now making the long journey back to myself through recovery. BUT being a mother myself, I can see how difficult and tempting it is to take the same path. I can see her choices more clearly now and I can accept them and use them to learn from them.
    I make a conscious effort to take care of myself first but there are times when it is very difficult. It helps I have a very loving and supportive partner who has been very patient. I am making my own way through life and I can see as much as I try to really help my kid, the only thing I can do for him is let him go. I will guide him and love him but let him make his own choices and walk his own path. The analogy that works best for me is the one of exercising. If you want to be healthy and in shape you must exercise every day (or most days). You can have a personal trainer but that person can't exercise for you. I can't live my kid's life for him, but I can support him and encourage him along the way. And that's good enough for me.

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    Registered User Rosebush3's Avatar
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    For me, the three you mentioned aren't static but fluid dependent upon the current situation. Sometimes I need to be first, sometimes I don't. They are all interchangeable depending upon the moment. If I always come first, and the kids always come last, that is very unbalanced to me. I don't see a need to put priorities in a static list and keep it so, I know my priorities and they shift throughout the day.

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    I don't have children, so it's hard for me to say. I already struggle with putting other people before myself (this includes my SO, of course). I think there needs to be a balance. It doesn't ALWAYS have to be about me, but there are times that it should be.

    I do agree that putting your marriage before your children is critical, although hard, I'm sure. I think that the children will benefit from it in the end, as well.
    Last edited by Kitten20; 11-13-2009 at 11:53 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    I got into a conversation about this once some guy I used to know. He was married to my bff. He was going on and on about how your spouse should come first and I found the idea to be pretty repulsive. A couple years after this conversation he decided that he really didn't much care for being married.

    I don't think it's necessary to rank these priorities, but if I had to choose, I'd say that my children always will come first.

    I work very hard on my marriage and it's better now that it ever has been, but in the past when things got rough, it was our dedication to our kids that kept us together long enough to fix things. Call it sad if you want, but it is what it is.

    My children and my marriage have concurrent needs. Neglecting your husband to coddle your children is not healthy for you, your marriage, or your kids. Neglecting your kids to pamper yourself is no healthier. We all live and function well with balance and harmony in the home and I do not often find that the three compete with each other.

    That is just my opinion.

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    I'm not suggesting *neglecting* anyone in the list of priorities. Clearly neglecting ones children for the sake of the spouse is going to be unhealthy.

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    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greebo View Post
    I'm not suggesting *neglecting* anyone in the list of priorities. Clearly neglecting ones children for the sake of the spouse is going to be unhealthy.
    I guess I just don't understand the question then. I don't understand why you need to prioritize when caring for one doesn't compromise the other? It's kind of like saying, Is your brain more important, or is your heart?

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nishu View Post
    I guess I just don't understand the question then. I don't understand why you need to prioritize when caring for one doesn't compromise the other? It's kind of like saying, Is your brain more important, or is your heart?
    I only asked for thoughts after expressing my own.

    I think we're really saying the same thing - don't neglect one relationship for the sake of another. I'm prioritizing them in the order in which they should be attended to. Take care of yourself - don't compromise who you are for a relationship with spouse or child. Take care of your spouse - you will be with them a lot longer than your kids. Take care of your kids so they can grow up and be healthy and have strong self images and strong relationships.

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    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    Tonight my husband came home from work and started roughhousing with my kids so I punched him in the arm and told him to pay attention to me. I can feel my marriage improving already.

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    I don't always put myself first and when that happens I suffer and my family suffers. I am cranky and lose patience. It's just simple stuff like taking time for me like painting my toes, making a healthy snack, or going for a walk. If mom/wife is happy everyone is happy.

    However I will put my children first before anything because I am responsible for them. My dh is a grown man so he can wait for his time. I think number one and two go together in a way and I'm sure it's different for everyone.

    That is if I even understood this.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nishu View Post
    Tonight my husband came home from work and started roughhousing with my kids so I punched him in the arm and told him to pay attention to me. I can feel my marriage improving already.

    *snort*

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nishu View Post
    Tonight my husband came home from work and started roughhousing with my kids so I punched him in the arm and told him to pay attention to me. I can feel my marriage improving already.
    Now that's *MY* kind of marriage therapy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greebo View Post

    3) Kids. Yes, moms - I am telling you - put your kids THIRD. Too many parents (dad's too but more Moms in my experience) put their kids first in their lives - before spouses, and before themselves. This is worse than putting spouse before you - because not only do you risk losing your own identity, but you are betraying the primary responsibility you have to your children. Your job as a parent is to prepare your child to go out into the world and make their own way. Your job is to get them ready to leave. If you put your kids before your spouse, what will you have left with your spouse when your kids are grown? If you put your kids before yourself - what will you do when they leave? Who will you be if you your kids are your identity and then they go away?

    That's how I see it anyway - what are your thoughts?
    I think one of the worst things parents can do for their children is to put them first. Doing so teaches children that they are more important than everyone and everything else around them.....that the world revolves around them. Which, of course, it doesn't....so the children are being set up for some huge disappointments to come. I think it's better for children to learn that they don't always come first, that the parents' value their marriage, that each parent has interests of their own....I feel this is a much healthier example to set.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosebush3 View Post
    For me, the three you mentioned aren't static but fluid dependent upon the current situation. Sometimes I need to be first, sometimes I don't. They are all interchangeable depending upon the moment. If I always come first, and the kids always come last, that is very unbalanced to me. I don't see a need to put priorities in a static list and keep it so, I know my priorities and they shift throughout the day.
    My sentiments exactly. It can change many times thru the course of a day. Some days by the hour.
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    I feel like it changes as things go along. I know that when my kids were little, they came first. Now, not so much. They are old enough to fend for themselves somewhat and we are raising them to be indepedant. DH and I didn't really have a relationship for years because of so many kids and us both working (opposite shifts, couldn't afford them when we had them). Now that the boys are older and are more independant, we are working on the relationship.

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