Last week I wrote about the real reason you need to prioritize your spouse before your kids. Today’s post gives you 7 ways to make that a reality!
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How to Prioritize Your Spouse Over Your Kids
Putting marriage “first” looks different in every season, but here are some general ideas:
0. First and foremost, put Jesus first.
If you are not prioritizing your own relationship with God you won’t be able to fully live out your calling to love your family because you’ll be loving them our of your humanity versus out of His grace.
1. Prioritize alone time with your spouse.
Date nights are such a trendy thing because they really help you reconnect. Try to plan one monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly. The keyword is plan. My favorite go-to website for date ideas is The Dating Divas (thedatingivas.com). If date night seems impossible, try to make sure you at least spend time together after the kids go to sleep or before they wake up in the morning. Talk, watch a show that you both love, read a book together, do a devotional — the point is to do it together and focus on each other.
2. Be intentional about encouraging your spouse.
Especially during busy seasons, it’s very easy for me to default to just talk to my husband about necessary things including, “This is what I need you to do,” and “This is what you didn’t do right,” and “What’s happening on a given day at a given time?” Don’t be like Busy Imani! Use the magic words often — “Please,” “Thank You,” and the bonus, “You’re Welcome.” Remember all the sweet nicknames you used when you were dating and use them generously. Be specific and genuine about what you appreciate and admire about your spouse. Write them a love note in a romantic or funny card or on a post-it or in lipstick on the bathroom mirror.
3. Serve your spouse quickly and with a smile.
Sometimes when my husband asks me to get him a cup of coffee I not only say “Ok” reluctantly, my daughter asks me for something before I’ve made it for him. Before I know it, I’m serving my daughter I forget that my husband asked me to get him coffee over an hour ago! #BadWife Don’t be like me. Remember that when we serve our spouses with joy we are serving God.
4. Appreciate and express gratitude for everything.
I said this already but thought it was worth repeating because it’s a easy way to prioritize your marriage.
5. Learn to fight fair and discuss touchy subjects before they get out of hand.
Marriage takes work because it means taking two different people and having them do life together in love even when they don’t feel it. There can be a lot of conflict and tension if issues don’t get communicated thoroughly. On top of that, it’s natural for us to be mean or cold when we’re misunderstood or feel unloved. Giving the benefit of the doubt and speaking to each other the way you want to be spoken to is a skill we all need to practice in marriage to keep things peaceful while working through inevitable differences.
6. Have fun together.
Make each other laugh. Take an interest in each other’s hobbies and do them together. Find something new to learn and try. Reminisce and relive old happy memories from when you were dating. Fun is a choice — make the most out of every opportunity.
7. Meet each other’s needs for physical intimacy (including sexual).
God tells us not to withhold sex from each other because sex keeps couples connected in a way that is reserved only for each other. It is a spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional way to bond, and when enjoyed within marriage it is a huge blessing. Don’t let outside circumstances stop you from having sex — unless it’s agreed upon between the two of you for you to fast and pray, then return to intimacy after your agreed upon time is up. If there is a medical issue, attend to that promptly and get back to it ASAP. Also, don’t forget that intimacy is not just sex. Hug, kiss, snuggle and hold hands. PDA (public display of affection) in moderation is healthy, even for your kids to see!
A Model Marriage
We have an amazing opportunity to show our kids healthy relationships, starting with our own marriages. I’ve heard a well-known marriage ministry leader say that our marriages are like a mirror; if we do marriage right we can show our children and the world the love that Christ has for the church and vice versa. Imagine if we actually put our spouses before our kids. There would be less divorce because spouses would be more unified with each other. Kid’s would likely experience less daddy issues and mommy issues because homes would have a healthier foundation. And if prioritizing our marriages doesn’t make our children feel more secure, I think it would certainly remove opportunities for insecurity. I think the risks are low and the benefits are high when we put God first, our spouses second, and our kids third.
Your Turn: What is one way that you can intentionally put your spouse first in this season? ⭐
Hey sis! I’m Imani, the Young Moms’ Advocate and Legacy Activator, who is here to help your family prosper. Also, I’m probably dancing to Michael Jackson right now.