Should You Put Your Partner Before Your Children?

It may be a confronting question but it’s one that was answered with an emphatic ‘yes’ in a recent blog from The Huffington Post Australia, which also claims your ‘kids will thank you for it’.

And while it seems like the opposite of what is traditionally considered the right approach, the article raises some points worth considering.

So what are the factors that influenced this conclusion, and do we agree?

Let’s review them and see.

  1. ‘The best gift you will ever give your children is the gift of a solid relationship with your partner — two parents who love and adore each other.’

A positive relationship with your co-parent is undoubtedly of huge benefit to your children.

And while having two parents who love and adore each other is a wonderful gift, it’s not always a possibility.

Trying to maintain a completely broken relationship for the sake of children is certainly not in their best interests.

  1. ‘Your children joined your partnership, not the other way around.’

Sure — but this does not mean that your priorities should remain identical to the situation before you had children.

Becoming a parent involves sacrifice and huge life changes, and that includes a massive shift in priorities and attention.

  1. ‘Your relationship with your partner will be the model through which your children perceive relationships and intimacy.’

Undoubtedly. Although again, if parents are separated, the situation will be more complex.

Either way, it is very important for parents to have a productive, consistent and harmonious relationship with their co-parent and partner, even when these are two different people.

Children soak up the energy and attitudes around them like sponges. And, even if you don’t realise it, they are acutely aware of the tensions in the household.

If you are acting aggressively or fighting with your co-parent or partner in the home, your child will more than likely be aware of it, and may even replicate these negative behaviours themselves.

The most important thing is to lead by example, and personally reflect the attitudes and behaviours that you value and would like your children to inherit.

  1. ‘Your children will one day leave the nest and you will be left alone with your partner.’

Yes, your children will leave home eventually and raising them will no longer be your priority.

And it’s a very good idea to make time for yourself and your partner to enjoy the activities that brought you joy before you had children.

But it would be unhealthy to completely prioritise one relationship over another in the meantime.

Although we understand where the author is coming from, their advice is certainly not appropriate for everyone.

Life is about balance.

Trying to find a balance between the competing demands of your personal life, children, partner and work is the best thing you can do for yourself, and for your family.

And that is what your children will thank you for.

However, if you do feel that your relationship with your partner has been neglected, the article does offer some good advice for reconnecting:

  • Schedule in ten minutes every night in your phone to talk and reconnect
  • Make time for some intimate contact every day, even simply a hug or holding hands
  • Save up for a date night once a month
  • Write each other small notes of gratitude
  • Listen to each other and use positive language, without casting blame
  • Make time for some of the activities you enjoyed before you had children

These mindful moments of together time will help you to balance things out.

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