A healthy marriage is the cornerstone of a home. While your children are incredibly important and make up a significant part of your family, they are not the ones holding it all together. You and your wife are responsible for that. You both are tasked to lead your family and make sure it functions smoothly.
It is so easy to just get caught up in the day-to-day mundane tasks that keep your family going. You might always be focused on getting your children to school, attending their sports games, and helping them with homework. We allow our kids to consume our entire lives and forget that we ever had one of our own. Slowly you start to feel like a taxi driver, lunch packer, and homework checker. This can be the beginning of the end. You and your spouse become so busy focusing on everything but each other that you drift apart. Spouses should not function as roommates, because they are partners and lovers.
Will your wife still be happy if you put the kids first? Of course, she will be because she loves them dearly too. Over time, though, she might start to feel insignificant, unappreciated, or even resentful. If you find yourself retreating from your marriage in favor of the kids, you will eventually see her drift away too. When was the last time you took your wife on a date without the kids? Do you still let your children sleep in the bed, taking further time away from your wife? It might be time to rethink some of those actions.
For some, it can be hard to say that you put your wife first because you feel like you are neglecting your children. The opposite then becomes true. You are neglecting your marriage. While your partner is a grown human that can take care of themselves that doesn't mean she still isn't worthy of being a top priority. You can be there for your children and raise them without sacrificing the success of your marriage.
Before your children ever came along, it was just you and your wife in perfect bliss. Think of the times you all spent together going on dates, getting your first house as a couple, and all the great milestones you all have hit. Your marriage and union are sacred. Protect the vows you made to each other on your wedding day. Your children fill your lives and hearts with joy, but so does your wife.
If you do not put your wife first in your life, who else will? You vowed to be there for each other through thick and thin for as long as you live. So be the person who puts your wife's best interests at heart. Your wife might be the type who always puts others before herself, which can mean she rarely gives herself the breaks she deserves. Do your best to make sure she is well-taken care of and that her needs and wants never go ignored.
It is also necessary to think about the future. Eventually, your children will go off to college, get married, and have lives of their own. After they move on to their next big adventure, it will just be you and your wife again. You will want to go into that new phase of life with a strong, healthy, and committed marriage intact. Your children are a part of your marriage journey, but to keep the future protected you must put your relationship first today.
Your kids look up to you as an example, so it is vital that you two work together to act as one. As they start having relationships of their own, can they look at your marriage as something they want to have too? Do they see their father loving their mother wholeheartedly and giving her the attention, respect, and care she deserves? You are raising your children to be successful adults so give them a healthy view of relationships.
A way to tell if you put your children before your wife is that your kids will slowly become self-centered. They think the world revolves around them because you start to cater to their every need. It is natural that children who are continually put first become self-centered, and you might be contributing to this selfishness. Your kids should know how sacred marriage is, including yours, in order to keep them grounded.
None of this is to say that your children are not a priority. It does not mean you love your children any more or less than you do your wife. It is about making a conscious choice to put your wife first, because you chose to go on this adventure together in marriage. It is a balance you must find and it's a discussion worth having with your wife. Your children should never come after your friends, career, or hobbies. They should, however, come after your wife. If your marriage crumbles, the confidence your children have in your guidance can begin to erode too. Give them something to look up to.