May 10, 2021
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord – Colossians 3:18-20
Who comes first – the spouse or the children?
I’ve been asked this question so many times. Sometimes it is from frustrated husbands who feel that their needs are going unmet. Sometimes it’s from frustrated wives who feel that the children need them more, and the husband should be more understanding since he can take care of himself.
Either way, it is a valid, age-old question.
The bible doesn’t provide an enumerated list of priorities, but there are several clues as to God’s intended order. He created husband and wife before he created children. He gave man and wife responsibilities and expectations of how to treat each other and then how to raise children. From the context of multiple scriptures it seems that husbands and wives should prioritize each other first.
The question of who comes first typically arises when someone feels that they aren’t on the list at all…when they feel like they aren’t a priority. They aren’t against taking care of your children. They are just frustrated because they don’t feel that their needs are being met.
Listen, God wants us to have healthy marriages. Marriages that are filled with love and mutual respect. Marriages that our children can pattern their marriages after. Marriages in which the question of who comes first never arises.
If we center our lives around our children, we will create distance in our marriage and make conditions ripe for a breakdown. If we make them the center, we often find that there is not much room left for our spouse.
Note this: our husbands coming first in no way means that they are more important than our children. It simply means that they are the people we are working with to create safe, thriving environments for our children. It means that we are keeping our relationship solid, so that we can provide a solid foundation for our kids. It means that we really believe that we are one.
Raising children was supposed to be a two-person job. If the two of you create a God-honoring environment, He will come first and everything else will fall into place.
If you are looking to grow in prioritizing God, I encourage you to check out my new book, Undivided. It offers practical strategies for keeping God first and everything else in perspective.