There used to be this old saying when I hear parents say, “My child(ren) will always be my #1 priority…no matter what!”
While I understand the need to protect your child, there is this underlying implication your marriage will take a second seat. It implies, at no matter what cost, whether it’s your marriage, work, or friendships, your children’s needs are at your beck and call first and foremost.
Before my parent’s divorced, I remember thinking…”I saw this coming.” Although, still sad, confused and torn, it seriously was no surprise. My parents bickered, fought, were distant, not intimate, held grudges, and overall were dishonorable to each other.
I’m in my 6th year of marriage (going on 7) and as you know, I pray for my marriage almost daily. Marriage is a spiritual battle you have to fight for! The enemy wants nothing but to tear down our marriages, because ultimately it tears down your identity and your children’s.
Biblically speaking, when we enter into marriage, we enter into a covenant with our spouses as one flesh. It is no wonder our heart and soul hurts to the point of physical pain when separation occurs.
My mom’s back went out the day my dad left her. She became physically handicapped to the point of being bed-ridden. Unforgiveness and heartache caused her body to go out. She found identity in her marriage and the marriage foundation was broken.
During the separation, I rebelled. I dated the wrong guys. I partied with friends to numb my brokenness. At one point, I even considered becoming a lesbian (yeah, can you see that happening?). I wanted to shun men forever to mask my pain and my insecurities. My identity was shaken.
Then along comes my husband, who was and is probably the most patient man I’ve been with. He dealt with the wounds and insecurities stemmed from my parent’s severed marriage. He asked me 3 times to get married and 3 times…guess what I said…I said hell to the N-O…no! I mean, would you stay with me if I rejected to you 3 times? Well, my husband – for whatever weird reason stayed.
A couple years pass and after couples counseling, we got married in 2013 and now we have two beautiful boys. Our marriage was no coincidence. I was at a pivotal time in my relationship with my husband (boyfriend at the time) when I heard a whisper say to me…”You have the power to change your destiny. You are not a product of your parent’s divorce.” Since then, to the best of my ability, I will fight for my marriage. I will fight until my death.
You have the power to change your destiny. You are not a product of your parent’s divorce.
It wasn’t until my first son was born was when God spoke about the importance of keeping the marriage covenant sacred. As I reflect on my parent’s marriage, I saw no fruit. As a result, it has taken me years to heal. I stand my family on this scripture from Galatians. God’s word also says, when we produce fruit, we reap the harvest.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
I continue to ask myself these three questions:
- What do I want my boys to see when they see mommy and daddy together?
- How do I want them to honor marriage?
- How do I want them to honor and treat their future wives?
By setting my marriage as a #1 priority, I am setting an example for my kids. I strive to give my children a firm identity in Christ. Teaching and disciplining my children is good and scriptural, but when their identity is firm because of the love my husband and I show towards each other, it will create strides in their relationship with others. The hopes is they will grasp and live out the fruit they saw in my marriage.
This goes against the grain of placing your children first, however today I’m urging parents out there to put their marriages first. Glean on successful couples out there. Go to couple’s counseling. Read marriage articles. Enroll in a marriage course. Set up regular date nights. Whatever it takes.
Your children are a product of you and your spouse. Set them up for a godly future wife/husband. Set them up for a successful marriage. They become what they witness. Your example is your testimony.