Right after we found out I was pregnant with Jack but before we told anyone we were up the mountains with my family. I don’t remember how we got on the topic but we were discussing which is more important: prioritizing your marriage or your kids. I’ve always felt it is important to make your marriage number one as often as possible. I felt like if we treated our marriage like the man who built his house upon the rock we would have a stronger foundation for our family.
Tim and I are both children of divorce and neither of us can remember a time where we thought of our parents as friends; I can barely recall a time when my parents spoke to each other for more than five minutes. Tim and I are friends, best friends; this is the biggest attraction for me. He’s the first person I tell most of my news to and the one person who knows my craziest thoughts and I know his. We have the solid basis for a strong marriage, but it still needs to be nurtured. Time is both our enemy and our friend. There is never enough of it to do everything and we’re dedicating only a fraction of it for ourselves. The first word in the headline of this blog is “marriage” and yet there are twice as many parenting entries than marriage. We can blame time or lack thereof but the truth is we don’t prioritize ourselves. We feel guilty for leaving the kids but I imagine the guilt we would feel if our marriage floundered would be even greater.
When we were kid free we took the time to be alone and focus on ourselves, whether it was lazy weekend mornings in bed or a spontaneous dinner. Obviously spontaneity has gone the way of the dodo since having children. Last week we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. We decided to take some time for ourselves. We enjoyed a trip into the city to visit the art museum and then did some window shopping. We relished in the peace and quiet and our freedom from work and strollers and snotty noses. We started talking about where our marriage lies in the grand scheme of our lives. Our last date night was a brief dinner before going home because we couldn’t find anything else to do, a whole night of free babysitting cut short due to boredom. We should have done anything else but go home but we felt bad leaving our babysitters there when we had no real plans. With more than one example of a night like that we realized that we need to start putting ourselves number one on the list of important things.
All of this isn’t to say that we’re not struggling in our marriage. Quite the opposite…we want to spend time together we just need to make it happen.
How do you prioritize your relationship with your spouse or significant other?