Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Does God Really Say My Husband is to Be My Top Priority?

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.  
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 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’? 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?


  1. Thank you for this post! I needed this reminder this morning. My husband and I have 3 children, 3 and under, and it is really, really easy to inadvertently neglect our marriage. Cultivating our relationship has to be intentional, because it is not going to happen on its own. I think a date night is in order! :)

    1. I love how you said "it is not going to happen on its own." So true!

  2. Great blog! My husband and I have discussed this very subject on several occasions. It has become even more relevant now that we are back in church and have rededicated our lives to the Lord. Our children are 1 and 3 and we have a 14 year old foster. We've discussed it so many times because, well, I forget. I know that if I put God first and my husband second, my children's needs are always met. Lets face it though, you get caught up. I'm blessed to have a husband who reminds me when I need to refocus. I'm blessed to have a husband that I love and respect enough to listen to and take seriously. Our lives are happy and satisfying because we try to live according to the Word. The 14 year old has trouble understanding the man being the "man of the house" because of society and what she has been taught. Hopefully being in our home will help her understand why it works better that way. Some mornings I'm exhausted because Jeff and I have been up till 3am in discussion. However, even in my exhaustion, I always feel refreshed and better about whatever it was that we were discussing. It's worth it to be a little tired to have that quality time with my hubby.

    1. God always rewards us with energy when we sacrifice good for better.

  3. Thank you so much, Heidi! God has been working on my heart in regards to this issue lately. I am a mom to two teenage step-sons as well as to two little ones, and I realize daily how much they are ALL watching my husband and me interact. It's been a particularly stressful season in our lives, and our older boys especially need to know that we are stable and committed to one another as well as to them. I appreciate everything you have shared in this post and am challenged to look for ways to bless my husband today and, as a result, bless my kids.

    1. I friend told me:
      When our relationship with God is right, our relationship with our husband is right. When our relationship with our husband is right, our relationship with our children is right.

      So true!

  4. I am loving this topic. I have been trying to work on this a lot recently. I do have one question, how do you teach a 4 year old patience, when mommy and daddy are speaking. The 4 year old wants to talk ALL THE TIME. Sometimes it is hard to get in any conversation.

    1. That's a great question. I will do a blog post to answer this next week because I think a lot of people want some tips.

    2. Here is my post about your question. I am sorry for the the delay. http://ouroutofsynclife.blogspot.com/2012/09/children-who-interrupt.html

  5. Heidi, I can tell: you love Jesus! Thank you, thank you for writing this and talking about respecting our husbands. I think too many women don't realize that "love" to a man is spelled "respect." Thank you for being a light in our dark world. You are an answer to my prayers. I have been looking for someone to give guidance on how to be a great Christian mom, wife, teacher, and housekeeper and you are that someone. Thanks again!

  6. I needed a schedule desperately. I realized I was just letting things happen, and nothing was happening! So with all the insight I've read on your blog, here's what I've come up with for our new family schedule.

    FYI, DS is 3yrs old, attends preschool 2x/wk 9am-12pm and I'm doing ABCJLM on the other days working it in throughout the day. DD is 3months and still up for at least one middle of the night feeding and DH works construction.

    5:30 Wake, (DH already gone for work.) get dressed, take dogs outside. Feed dogs and horse, clean corral if time allows.
    Move laundry from washer to dryer (to start dryer at lunch time)
    Inside for devotional -- 30min
    Fix hair and face, tidy the bathroom
    Empty dishwasher, review the day ahead
    7:00 DS awake
    8:00 DD awake
    8:30 Help DS with chores - empty silverware, make bed, get dressed, brush teeth.
    9:00 begin ABCJLM bible lesson. Depending on his attention span, move on to other activities or free time.
    10:00 snack for DS
    12:30 lunch, start dryer
    1:00 DS rest time in his room, while I empty dryer, fold laundry, tidy the house, prepare any afternoon activities, consider what's for dinner.
    2:00 DS ready for action
    4:30 DH home from work. I start dinner. I go to Jazzercise on nights we have leftovers
    6:00 Dinner
    6:20ish short family devotional before being excused from the table
    6:30 DH gives DS bath and ready for bed. I clean kitchen, start another load of laundry in washer (to be dried the next afternoon), tidy the house, consider what's going on tomorrow.
    7:00 DH reads book to DS, I come in to say goodnight and prayers. I nurse DD and get her ready for bed.
    7:30 lights out for DS & DD
    DH exercises and has free time, I do lesson planning, fb time, etc.
    9:00 shower and get ready for bed
    9:30 time with DH
    10:00 lights out

    Obviously throughout the day I'm feeding and caring for our DD too. She just has no kind of schedule whatsoever except when she starts and ends her day. DS also goes to preschool twice a week for 3 hrs so that helps give me a little free time to clean the house, plan activities and also a chance to spend a little quality time with DD. Sometimes it all gets done, sometimes nothing gets done. At least now I know what I'm aiming for and I can be sure we're not spending the entire weekend cleaning the house and doing laundry.

    happy sigh. :)

    1. I pray that the scheduling series brought you some answers and direction. Please let me know if you have specific questions!


The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.