The Reverend Theodore Hesburgh once said,
“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”.
The opposite is also true of course; the most significant thing that a mother can do for her children is to love their father.
This leads to the often-debated question of which a woman’s first priority should be her husband or her children. This has become somewhat of a "chicken or the egg" argument in parenting circles. The answer of course, as implied in the quote, is her husband.
This can be difficult for some women and mothers to accept. However, few relationship experts would dispute that although the immediate needs of the children often take precedence, the marriage is ultimately more important.
No one is suggesting that a child’s needs be ignored. It is always the responsibility of both parents, particularly the Mother, to provide for the physical and emotional needs of her children. However, there are several important reasons why a woman must make her husband and her marriage her first priority.
When a man and woman marry, they take vows with one another. These vows include the words, “till death do us part.” Marriage was meant to last forever. Long after the children have left the nest the husband and wife will remain together. If either parent were to consistently put the children ahead of their spouse during the marriage, then the marriage would likely suffer and the relationship would be strained after the children are gone.
Children thrive in an environment where their parents care for one another and treat each other with love and respect. If on the other hand parents are feuding or have a hostile relationship then the children will most assuredly be negatively affected.
One of the most powerful ways that children learn is through a process known as modeling, watching and copying Mom and Dad. If parents model a relationship marked by mutual caring and love then the children will take this and use it as their template for their own romantic relationships. Parents who do not treat their marriage as a priority and allow it to deteriorate because of the children’s needs are not giving their children an ideal love template. The children will pay the price for this down the road.
Spoiling and overindulging children causing them to believe that they are the center of the universe does not serve them well since eventually they will be faced with the harsh reality that they are not the center of the universe.
Empty nest syndrome refers to the period of sadness, depression, or grief that some parents experience when their children are grown and have moved out of the house. It is more common in women but it can affect men as well.
For women who have lived their lives catering to their children or who have derived their sense of purpose and identity as Mom it is a much more serious problem. In some cases in can be so serious that it jeopardizes the husband/wife relationship.
Women who put their husband and marriage ahead of their children have a much easier time adjusting to the empty nest. The marriage does not suffer and in many cases, the intimacy is rekindled when the children are gone.
A woman should always place her husband and her marriage ahead of her children, while also providing for the immediate needs of her children. When a woman places her marriage and husband first, she is also placing her children first and giving them a tremendous gift.