Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Growing up, my children knew that I loved them. I told them every day. They knew I would die for them if necessary. They knew how important they were to our family.
They also knew that I loved their mom more than them. I didn’t say it in a bragging, put-you-in-your-place kind of way. I lovingly let them know, then modeled the reality, that mom came first.
Why do you need to love your spouse more than your kids?Why do you need to love your spouse more than your kids? Read why and how to tell them: Click To Tweet
It establishes Biblical order in the home. Defining the roles in the family draws clear lines of authority and protection within the family. Clarity of authority establishes security. Plus, clearly defining who is in what position in the family also encourages the compliance of Ephesians 6:1, “Children obey your parents…”
As special as they are in the family, here are 3 ways to tell your kids your spouse is even more special than they are.
- You speak highly of your spouse in front of the children. This means in your spouse’s presence and when your spouse is not around. For example, a man can sense the respect his family has for him – or the lack thereof – when he walks into a room. I know I could. I wasn’t even looking for it but I could tell how they respected me.
Selma helped set the stage for that atmosphere of respect by always speaking positively about me. Lord knows there were many things she could have criticized me about, but she never went there, especially to the girls.
- You defend your spouse, even from your kids! I remember the time our two girls were lightly making fun of their mother (in my presence, not hers). I gently told them that was enough. The teasing, however, continued and my voice grew a little firmer. Finally, after a third round I sternly told them, “You will not talk about my wife that way.” They got the message. The priority was clear.
- You date each other. Getting a sitter and going on an official date can be good for everyone in your family. Of course, you two need to get away sometimes. When you do, make sure the kids know that you see the necessity of continually working on your marriage relationship.
When dating is part of your normal marriage routine, you kids will feel secure, knowing you are committed to each other. You are also modeling for them what to do when they have a marriage and children of their own. (And of course as grandparents, then you can be the baby sitter!)
Finally, let’s fast forward to where Selma and I are now, in the empty nest stage. A unique benefit of making sure they knew mom came before them is our girls do not worry about how we are faring now that they are gone. Throughout our child-rearing years they knew my priority was who I am with now – their mom. That gives them peace.
They also know I still love them but there is another man in each of their lives now and he is now more special than me. It is the way it should be. Each of my daughters now have a new priority, even over their own kids – their husband.
Now grandkids is another story. They probably rival my wife in priority more than my daughters did, but we’ll save that for another post!