Keep your priorities straight

Your spouse (not your children) are your first priority and responsibility. I know, I know, those little people demand a LOT of your attention and you must nurture them and teach them how to navigate this world, but that doesn’t mean your spouse should take a back seat until your children are grown. In fact, if you neglect your marriage while you’re raising your children and pour all of your energy into them by taking them to this class and that activity, your children will reap the unfortunate benefits of that decision.

The best way to give your children a strong foundation from which to navigate this world is to have a solid marriage  wherein both couple members seek to operate as a cohesive team. To be cohesive, you need to be intentional about your time together and make the most of the time you have. With little ones, this is especially challenging, but not impossible. Often times, you need to simply say “no” to some things that would encroach on your schedule. If you have a date night scheduled with your spouse (and you should always have one on the horizon – look for that in an upcoming post), and your child suddenly wants to do something that would interfere with your plans, don’t simply resign yourselves to not being able to go on your date. Please move forward with your plans to be together. Your children will be alright if you occasionally say “no” to their requests.

When your children are young, set a bedtime for them that allows you and your spouse to have the alone time that you desperately need. Simply explain to your children that sometimes mommy and daddy need their time together just as they sometimes have a special day with mommy or daddy. Instruct your children that they must knock and be invited in before opening your bedroom door. A lock (or a hook and eye) on your door can do wonders for uninhibited physical intimacy and may allow you to avoid awkward “how are we going to explain this?” moments.

Ask yourself who is first on your list of priorities…your spouse or your children?


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About Lori Mitton

Lori Mitton is a licensed clinical psychotherapist (MA, LLP) specializing in marriage and family therapy. She is co-founder of Permanent Passionate Partnership.