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Marriage First, Kids Second

Laura Kuehn, LCSW
Written by Laura Kuehn, LCSW

When’s the last time you prioritized your spouse over your kids? Here are some tips to make your marriage first in your family.

Stop eating carbs, exercise three times a week, spend less time on Facebook . . . New Year’s has come and gone and so have a lot of our resolutions. But maybe that’s because our New Year’s resolutions have one thing in common – a focus on self. As Valentine’s Day approaches, maybe it is time to make some resolutions that will have a bigger impact.

Let’s resolve to put our marriages first.

And let’s put our kids second.

Making your marriage a priority this year is the very best gift you can give your children. Here are some simple things you can do to do just that:

  1. Make eye contact. This one is so simple it’s silly. But think about it – when is the last time you actually made eye contact with your spouse? Our busy lives have made multi-tasking a necessity. Unfortunately, it has also taken some of the intentionality out of our conversations. So let’s put down the phone and make some eye contact and listen to what they have to say.
  2. Don’t let the kids interrupt your conversations. Do your kids walk into the room and assume they have the floor? Teach them to stop, look and listen. Putting marriage first means that your kids are not. They may resist, but deep down, it’s what they want and need.
  3. Send kids to bed on time. As kids get older, couple time in the evening can get squeezed out. Consider adding ½ hour of quiet time before your kids’ bedtime. They can read, listen to quiet music or an audio book. Use this time to re-connect with your spouse every night. Make sure your kids know that this time is special “Mommy and Daddy time” so no interruptions.
  4. Give your spouse compliments in front of your children. These are not superficial compliments based on transient things like looks or achievements, but are based on qualities and attributes. You can say things like, “You are such a hard worker. I really appreciate that about you.” We are so intentional about making sure we affirm our children, let’s be sure to do it with our spouse as well.
  5. “Good gossip” about your spouse. Talk to your children when your spouse is not around in a positive light. You can say things like, “Daddy is so much fun, don’t you think? We are so blessed to have a Daddy who loves to play and laugh with us” or “I love these cookies that Mommy made yesterday. She is the best baker I know!”
  6. Schedule and keep regular date nights. It might be a bit harder during this pandemic, but door dash and a bottle of wine and a movie (for the kids) might just be enough.
  7. Actively seek ways to support your spouse. We make sure the dog is fed, the kids are bathed and homework is done, but how often do we check in to see if our spouse has needs? Do we look for ways that we can bless our spouse on a regular basis? The daily grind can make us forget that spouses are people too. Let’s check in to see how they are doing.
  8. Pray for your spouse. As you climb into bed tonight, ask you husband or wife, “How can I pray for you?” Then do it. If praying out loud with yours spouse is unchartered territory for you, the cover of darkness might make it less uncomfortable. Give it a try and watch what God does.

Marriage is hard work. But if we put it on the bottom of our to-do list, the work will never get done. Let’s elevate it back to its rightful place and resolve to put our marriages first this year. Strong families start with strong marriages. And that strength comes from the Lord.

“A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Eccl 4:12

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment from a qualified mental health professional. Cornerstones for Parents is not liable for any advice, tips, techniques, and recommendations the reader chooses to implement.

About Laura

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura Kuehn, LCSW

Laura is a licensed clinical social worker who offers individual therapy to women and parents. Cornerstones for Parents is the place she combines some of her favorite things: writing, parenting and God's word. She is happily married with a young adult son and a teenage daughter.

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