Why I Choose my Husband over my Baby
If given the choice, I try to make a conscious effort to choose my husband over my baby. I know this view will not be popular and some may stop reading right here, but before you do, give me a chance to explain.
I met one of my husband’s childhood friends after church a few months ago. Like us, he too recently had his first baby. One thing he said bothered us and has stuck with me since he said it.
He said, “The love I have for my fiancé will never match my love for my son. I will always love my son more than I love her and she will always love him more than she loves me. That’s just how it always is.”
Although he meant this in an endearing way, hearing it made me really sad for him. What’s even more sad, to me, is that a lot of couples feel this way. Many people put their children before their spouses. Oftentimes this isn’t intentional – it’s probably something that happens out of habit and survival. But, to me, that is why it is even more important than ever to make an effort to put your husband before your child.
Here are 5 reasons why my love/relationship/attention toward my husband must come before my baby.
1. God calls us to put God first, spouse second, children third
Remember the last time you flew on an airplane? As you may recall, there was probably a pamphlet in the seat back in front of you with details on how to use the oxygen mask if there is a sudden change in air pressure. If you read on how to secure the mask, you might have seen a statement that said something to the effect of: “Put your oxygen mask on first and then help others.” When I think of God’s design for families, I often think of this example.
God is with us every step of the way. He is kind of like the oxygen mask that drops from the upper compartment. Whenever we need Him, He is right there ready to aid if we are willing to accept the help.
I then think of us putting on our masks as us putting our spouses second. Just like if we were to put on the mask, our spouses are often our line of defense in times of need and we often give that same comfort for our spouses.
Thirdly, once our mask is secure, we can then help others, such as our children.
So, you’re probably thinking, how does a silly example about an oxygen mask tell me about God’s design for families? That was kind of a stretch, but I hope the point isn’t lost in the silly example.
Our God is a jealous God, so He wants our full attention with HIM first. While I constantly fail in this arena, I consciously try to set aside time for me and Him every day without other distractions.
Like God, I do my best to set aside time with my husband every day without our baby around. Luckily, he goes to bed a lot earlier than we do, so we often have a few hours at night together. Where we get in trouble is when we tend to spend our “alone time” with other things instead of each other (ahem, our phones).
Unlike God and my husband, I don’t really have to try to spend time with my baby at this point in his life. It just happens. He is much more vocal about his needs than God or husband, so much of my time is spent with him when he is awake. When he grows older and he isn’t 100% dependent on his parents, we will teach him how important it is that he also puts God first, his future marriage second, and his own children third.
2. Our marriage reflects Christ’s relationship with the church
When my husband and I were in pre-marital counseling, my eyes opened to a whole new perspective on marriage. My parents divorced when I was 9, so I have few memories of their marriage.
At the beginning of one session, our pastor started off by telling us to read Ephesians 5:22-33 with him. In this passage, Paul provides a side-by-side comparison of how wives should love their husbands like the church loves Christ, and how husbands should love their wives like Christ loves the church.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Loving one another in this way is incredibly difficult, but the few times I’ve gotten it right are very rewarding. My husband and I strive to love one another in our marriage as God designed it, but we fail daily. As Christians, we ask God for His guidance in hopes that each day we get a step closer to loving one another like Paul depicts.
One way we stay close in our marriage is by reading a devotional together. As much as I’d like to say we read one every night, some weeks it might be once a week.
One devotional book I’d recommend is called Moments with You by Dennis and Barbara Rainey (click to view it on Amazon). There are 365 devotionals – one for each day of the year! This book has been great for us because the devotionals are short (think: less than 10 minutes) so we can squeeze them in before bed! I HIGHLY recommend the Moments with You devotional.
If you aren’t doing a couple’s devotional, I’d suggest you slowly integrate it into your routine. Consider reading a devotional together once in the first week, then move to two nights the second week, etc. until you get in the habit. It’s all about small wins. No couple is perfect and you’ll surely miss days as you go along. But trust me, I have grown so much closer to my husband by spending time in devotion with him.
3. Our baby benefits from parents with a strong marriage
We hope that our son learns to love his future spouse by mimicking the love he sees between my husband and me (especially on the good days). When we have our less-than-perfect marriage moments, I cringe when I look down and see my baby was watching us as his mom chose harsh words or his dad stormed out of the room.
One thing we have promised each other is to never fight in front of our kids. If we feel that a disagreement is turning heated, one of us usually mentions that we should “leave it for later.” My in-laws have done this so well that we wonder if they’ve ever had a disagreement (which is a good thing!).
The stronger our marriage appears to be, the better example we can set for our son. When my son sees me respecting my husband, he will hopefully grow to want someone to do the same thing for him one day. Likewise, when he sees my husband care for me and love me unconditionally, he will hopefully grow into that same man one day.
Research also shows that children raised in families with parents in a strong marriage become more successful adults than children of divorce*. As a child of divorce, I can say that dating in high school became tricky when I really didn’t have a firm grasp on what a healthy relationship looked like. It obviously turned out okay for me, as with many other children of divorce, but providing your children with the “head start” of a household with a healthy marriage is a great foundation for their future.
4. My love for my husband is just different
My husband and I are best friends. Truly. We never tire of spending time together, laughing together, and showing love for one another. We fell in love long before our son was in the picture, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love our son just as much. In fact, we do love him just as much. We just love him differently. We want to protect him, care for him, and mold him into a God-fearing person. Very similar to how God loves and cares for us.
My love toward my husband only grows deeper as I see how great of a dad he is. He was meant to be a dad and I feel lucky that I get to experience him in this way. By showing my husband that I love him as a father doesn’t make me love my son any less. In fact, I love my son more when I see so much of my husband in him. They are just different kinds of love, both equally rewarding and equally important.
5. Loving my husband first makes me a better mom…and wife
When my son goes to bed for the evening, my husband and I try to be intentional about spending that quiet time together. We don’t get the time to spend alone when our son is awake, so it’s a perfect time to focus on us. We have to be intentional because when our son is awake, it’s all about him. As a baby, he requires our full attention most of the time and we love it. In fact, by caring for our son, we are showing love toward one another as well.
After the peek-a-boo giggles and bath time snuggles are done and we have put our son down for the night, I often feel a fullness that I cannot get from anyone or anything else. Although I often instantly miss my son, I also feel ready to focus solely on my husband. I am able to give my husband my full attention like he needs and he is able to reciprocate that.
Having that dedicated time with one another at night leaves fewer opportunities for us to fight for each other’s attention when our son is awake. (Let’s face it, our son is pretty cute, so he usually wins that attention-seeking game!)
Since I have started putting my “wife hat” on first, then my “mom hat” on second, I can honestly say I’ve become a better mom and a better wife. I also want to mention that I fail at this daily so I’m thankful for a forgiving husband and a baby that doesn’t know any better yet!
What about your relationship with your husband makes you a better mom? Share with us in the comments below!
*There are many articles on this topic, but one I found particularly interesting from The Heritage Foundation can be found here.
Interested to learn more about the awesome devotional, Moments with You by Dennis and Barbara Rainey, I mentioned above?