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?


  1. We are lucky in the sense that we have a church family that helps us make at least three hours one day a month ours to do as we wish, kid free, for free. Members of the congregation volunteer to watch our military members’ kids so they can focus on themselves (or if their spouse is actually home and able to be there) or their marriage. It’s so nice!

    I’m also fortunate enough to have many friends in the congregation that is more than willing to watch my munchkins for a couple hours at at time anytime I need it free of charge (or for babysitting their kids in return!) I don’t know what I would’ve done these last 3 years (since no one took my daughter except maybe once before my son was born…I wouldn’t allow it) without this family of mine.
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  2. I think the thing I miss most right now is my marriage. PH, when suffering from depression, isn’t able to be a husband at all, much, right now. He can’t be my friend right now, he doesn’t find joy in anything, he has no interest in anything. It’s not that he doesn’t care – he does, and I can see how it hurts him to see how I’m hurting, so I have to hide the hurt, too, because he’ll never get better if he’s constantly beating himself up for things out of his control.

    I know that some day, he’ll get through this, and I’ll have him back. In the mean time, the best thing I can do for my marriage is try to accept that right now, I can’t have one.
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    Jennifer Reply:

    My heart hurts for you and PH. It’s been such a difficult year for you. You’re an amazing wife to recognize that his depression isn’t a reflection on you.

    I hope he heals quickly and you can reconnect. I also hope you take care of yourself. It’s so difficult to remember you need some time to decompress when a family member is ill.



  1. […] all your other bills and cut out the waste. We really need to apply this tactic to our marriage.  I even wrote about our desperate need for prioritizing our marriage. We don’t lack babysitters or even time we just lack motivation to challenge ourselves to use […]

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