Author: Put Your Spouse Before Your Children

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Grow up, get married and have kids. It’s the cycle of life, but why do so many couples become disenchanted with this dream?

One controversial assessment on the state of marriage, by Episcopal minister turned author David Code, says the biggest problem facing many couples today is putting their children first when they should be focusing on each other.

CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson says it may sound counter-intuitive to many parents, but after years of counseling couples, Code contends making your children top priority is a growing problem in marriages today.

“These days it seems like parents are marrying their children instead of their spouses,” Code said.

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  • Christina

    For you individuals who so easily cast your spouse aside as if there is no comparison between the too and say things like “MY daughter”, “MY son”, and “MY children” instead of “OUR daughter”, “OUR son”, and “OUR children” need to open yours. You are only a parent do to the relations you had with your spouse. A harsh reality is that if you RAISE THEM (not LIVE FOR THEM) properly they WILL leave YOU and make a life of their OWN. Although they are your children, they do not STAY CHILDREN. When they do go out into the world they will create their OWN family and find for themselves a SPOUSE. What you need to understand is that they WILL and SHOULD put their spouse (someone who’s a result of another set of parents) before YOU (their parent). If you don’t see it that way, see it this way:

    How would you feel if your spouse up their MOTHER before you??

    Its absurd because your spouse is the one who stays when your parents have past on and your children are grown and leading lives of their own. As parentS (not parent; PARENTS- two people) your duty is to raise them the best you can so they can survive and lead good lives.

    It is true, a parent child relationship is one of PURE and UNCONDITIONAL love. BUT I will never be IN LOVE with them or share a level of intimacy that I share with my spouse. I can not talk with my children on the intimate level I can with my spouse. The closest you can be to someone is becoming one flesh with someone, mind, body, and spirit. Which is something I can not do with my children.

    I will love my children forever. But I will be by my husbands side and he by mine until death donus part.

  • dla2s

    Their is no love purer than of a mother and child. If the child is what you think is the problem then one of the two or both parents are just selfish, and do the world a favor and dont have kids. They are your responsibility until 18.

    • Dar Groendal

      Where do you get 18??? So the day they turn 18… it’s see ya ????

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  • Nelson

    Lets see who is the first one to latch on to my comparison of wild animal and a child. Th smart people will get what I mean.

  • Nelson

    Some of you dont get it. You are too soft with your children and turn them into blood sucking leaches that wont leave home until their parents pass away. look at todays generation and how lazy they have become. Why? because parents have become slaves to their children and have sheltered them way too much. Wake up people. A childs survival skills are like a wild animals. If he or she can get food and shelter for free from mommy and daddy, why even bother getting a career in place. Of course there are the few exceptions but the key word here is FEW. Stop being slaves to your children and teach them to fend for themselves. Teach them to be strong individuals and not weak blood sucking leaches. Dont abandon them but put yourself first.

  • Smuzun

    If you love your children you want them to grow up in a safe environment with both parents meeting all their needs. I love my children so much, I put their dad first. I respect, honour and love him wholeheartedly every single day.
    Because I do not want my children to grow up in a broken home – I have seen what that does. It takes more than money to bring up a child and I intend to provide them with it all. By putting my husband first, the kids get a stable home. Fantastic trade off. Think about it. The only being who comes before my husband, is my God -but that’s a totally different discussion! :)

  • Tamar

    Do not u think that it is odd to decide rationally who should be put on the first place in the family? Are we rivals to each other or what? Children stregthen the families and taking care of them is our direct responsibily. Taking care of the child (children) deepens the love between the spouses

  • sj

    Yep, it should be balanced. My brother and his wife go out a lot, sometimes, taking their youngest with them. They have 3 kids (10, 14 & 16 y/o) and the 2 older kids are usually left behind. The eldest is now quite aloof of them and is hardly at home while the other is struggling with the mom. The mom usually is hot tempered when she arrives from work and scolds her children and my brother stands by her side no matter if she’s wrong or right. So yes, I should say, attention should be the same to spouse and kids.

  • geeta

    I am married for 3.5yrs and have a one yr old daughter….i love my husband equally now only that i cant spend the same time with him after our baby has arrived….its just that wen we 3 are together just spend time as a family playing with the baby and less of romantic talks as before …my husband also doesnt have any prb as he also loves our little one as much as i do…

  • jackie smith

    The author makes it sound as though it’s black and white.
    “Either the children have to come first, or the husband”
    This is rediculous.
    Anyone who has a husband and children, knows that there are times when the child or children need to be put first, and there are times when a husband’s (or the wife’s) needs and wants come first.
    In a successful family, this is done naturally.
    One doesn’t need to decide to make the children’s needs and wants secondary, or the husband.



  • Joe

    Well said Amy R!
    Family comes first.
    It’s a team, everyone basic needs and wants must be taken into account to create a happy marriage and a happy family.
    Although its esier said than done,but there are no two ways abaout it guys!

  • ange

    love their children for parents is a way of loving themselves and it is like parents are in competition to gain children love. that is not real love it is pure egoism. the comment of Mr AuQEii say it all. people do not understand any thing about marriage any more, children should bring parents more and more closer not separate them. when parents love each other children are happy other wise children are confused

  • Jon Santos

    We shouldn’t have to choose who’s first priority. There is a difference between the love for our children and the love of our spouses. They are equally important.

  • JC

    One POINT that EVERYBODY is Missing – and that is EVERYBODY.

    In AMERICA , WORK comes FIRST.

    And, before ANYBODY CONTRADICTS this – try Traveling the WORLD for a YEAR or 2. Other Developed COUNTRIES have a LOT better SENSE of FAMILY VALUES than the USA can imagine …

    What is FAMILY to an AMERICAN ? – Most ANSWER that QUESTION as A THEORETICAL STATEMENT – “Well I think.. , Well I believe..” – but Nobody does – they are busy working most of their HOURS and DAYS …

    AMERICA is dragged down by its own PROPAGANDA and DREAMS …
    – No MORALS

    Thats Why I feel DISGRACEFUL saying that I am AMERICAN – no GOOD of it.

  • JC

    I think the Author is SAYING is to give a LITTLE more attention to the Spouse and a LITTLE Less to the Children – than is already done today – to balance the family better.

    The Comments about giving ALL attention to the KIDS than the Spouse – is NARCISSISTIC ; just listen to the WHINNING in the Comments ! And Whining Parents make Whining SPOILED Kids … WAKE UP !

    Stop giving TOYS and taking the KIDS to the ARCADE – and actually put ATTENTION to the kids …

  • francisco

    I guess its similar to the airline safety advice to wear a breathing mask before putting one on your kid

    • ange

      that means to love your children together, and none thinks he loves them more than the other

  • Teach

    Personally I agree with the article. Reading the comments of those who disagree, it seems that you guys are being way to technical. Of course you see about your child when they get sick, feed them, etc. But in the long run, as I stated earlier, your children will one day hopefully be grown and take care of themselves. They will probably get families of their own. What do you do when you have neglected your spouse at the expense of some misappropriated devotion, not morally correct devotion to your kids. Then you will be the type to try to split up your kids marriage or make them feel guilty because they don’t run to your beckon call.

    • ange

      Teach ,you are right

  • Tammy

    Tami, You nailed it. Obviously many of these posters don’t have children or healthy relationships. Moderation is the key. Healthy kids will grow from healthy marriages. Simple as that. It’s people that think we are child abusers because we tell our children to go to bed at 8:00 so they are well rested and limit their activities with video games that probably have kids I won’t let my kids play with! Spoiled children are the problem of many marriages.

  • Tami

    I think several of you are missing the point, which is not to neglect children’s needs, but to model for your children a healthy relationship between their mother and father. The best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. Your commitment to your spouse needs to be strong in order to do that. How many marriages have fallen apart or suffered from infidelity when the dad feels that his children have become more important to his wife than he is?

    • JC


  • gerry

    well said doug – blood is thicker than water and it’s true to almost every living creature in this planet. no one could ever replace your child’s place in your heart but you can always re-marry when you lost your spouse or if he/she ever left you for someone else. your children’s needs (i mean children and not adult since they’ll have their own life when the right time comes) should always comes first.

  • lynette m pascual

    children are related by blood to either parent whereas husband and wife are not related to each other except by marriage. children should be prioritized because they are the gauge of a successful marriage.

    • Beth

      Oh my goodness. Children are not related by blood to either parent. They are related by blood to both parents!!! So if the children are the “gauge of a successful marriage” what happens when that “successful marriage” ends? Are they the cause of it? They’re sure going to feel like it with this line of thinking. A successful marriage doesn’t need to be gauged by anyone or anything.

  • Etoile du Nuit

    Remember always the primary reason WHY you get married. If the reason is to raise a family then THAT is the function of your arrangement. If you marry, the decision is based usually upon mutual benefit. Loose sight of that, violate your vows, be intolerant of the changes in life & each other, eg: growing old, fat and ugly together;and no amount of attachment will hold. The responsibility of one spouse to another is to be emotionally, physically as well as intellectually accessible to one another (as well as their children). The FAMILY is a single unit with individual parts that MUST be nurtured/maintained in order to facillitate a functional system. Ignore/remove just one of these and the family unit fails.

  • doug

    these days to much thought is going into parenting. It was so much easier in the past. maybe families were not so close, because humans tended to be more conservative in nature. but divorce was unheard of. in todays society its so fast paced and we have so many more options in life and we know our time on this planet is limited so we want to fulfill our out personal desires. so its hard to balance it all. BUT, one thing is for sure. its human nature to put our children first. ever seen female lion protect her cubs? the husband or wife today can be replaced.
    children will always be your blood..

    blood is thicker than water…

  • Rob

    I can’t believe what I am hearing some of you say…that children are way more important than your spouse….Shame on you for ever getting married and being part of the cause of 75% divorce rate….It will be interesting seeing where you are in 20 years when your children are away at college and married and you are too old to have kids and all you have left is a competely destroyed marriage or none at all. Trust me your kids will be far more interested in their own families. The marriage relationship is the only relationship in the world that lasts forever…..All others including your children are temporary, God entrusted you for a short time with them. But the spouse he gave you forever. And most importantly the children are going to see how you interact with each other and base their relationship with their future spouses on how you were. Have a date night weekly, your child will not die if your not around for two hours, BUT YOUR MARRIAGE MIGHT.

    • Jayne Mpesi

      I agree with you Rob, b4 I had kids I knew my spouse and I have to take care of him and give him all the love. In our culture kids are VISITORS. we always say “Have you received a visitor?” meaning that you have a baby and visitor will some day go. So I first take note of my hubby then kids because they will take an example, when their time comes they will follow suit

    • Jaquen

      Perfectly stated Rob!

    • Ging

      Well said, Rob.I agree with you.Putting my spouse first does not mean I’ll be neglecting our children.I’m the type who needs a time off from the kids once in a while so I can focus on my husband and this makes him happy.I can delegate parenting but I cannot delegate my role as a wife.

  • Amy

    The spouse doesn’t have to come first, but the RELATIONSHIP with the spouse most certainly should. If you choose to put the kids first then you are acting as a single parent–and that is exactly what you will become.

    Amy R. is right. Family first. So who makes the decisions for the family? Mom and Dad. The children are the primary concern and consideration of those decisions, but they are not and should not be the decision makers. What an awful burden to place on a child to be a parent’s primary relationship.

  • Richard O. Jones

    On an sinking ship the rescuers rescue children before adults if possible. However, if it is a matter of needs versus wants then needs should prevail even if the child comes in second.

  • Richard O. Jones

    Generally speaking a child’s needs must come before an adult’s needs because an adult should be able to adjust. If a child is sick and a parent is sick even the sick parent should want to address the need of the child first. On an sinking ship the rescuers rescue children before adults if possible. However, if it is a matter of needs versus wants then needs should prevail even if the child comes in second.

  • Gary

    Some women should never be impregnated!!

    • Amy R

      Agree. Those are the ones that put themselves first always.

  • Chuckie

    Bgy golly, this is what should happen. The spouses come in first. The children are second. A woman’s most sacred calling in life is to be the wife. And the man is to be the husband. Being parents and a family is secondary., and the rest of life third..

  • Charlene D

    Amy R well said. I like to workout the needs for the good of all of them. Husband and children. Hey, even the dog gets her attention. My family (Ohana) is a package ,one unit ,and I love them all greatly!

  • Amy R

    This post and all the comments imply that someone has to come first. I like to think that I put our family first. What is best for everyone not just my husband, our children or myself. Some days the kids needs have to come first, some days my husbands and some days my own. We all work together.

    • anne

      That’s exactly right. if you and your husband are really in love, you are also in love with your kids; your family as a unit. Kids leave mentally, when they are teens, they come back. but having a loving and fun relationship with one’s spouse is an amazing thing. When it is good there is nothing like it. It is a gift to your children ,not to have them come first., to be there when they need you, of course, but to know your parents love one another is very freeing for a child. No kid wants to feel responsible for a parents happiness. No one is saying ignore one for the other, but never forget that your spouse is your life partner, but it doesn’t just happen

    • JC

      Agreed – most Intelligent and Realistic and Mature Comment
      that I have heard so far…

    • sss

      Bingo. What this guy is talking about is that too many spouses ignore/abandon their significant other, while devoting all their attention to the kids. This is bad for a marriage and ultimately bad for the kids (i.e. a failed marriage).

    • Susan

      Excellent, Amy!!! I totally agree with your realistic view of our lives!

    • Danielle

      That is very well said and I agree with you.

  • Danielle

    Kids are easliy replaced, Spouses however… well, you only get to marry so many times in your life… right?! (Sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell.)

    • Teach

      And that’s the problem….people just go and get remarried(understanding the opposite view of your sarcasm). What happens when your children get grown and leave? Now you have no children and no spouse.

      • JC

        Think of the DEPENDENCY PROBLEM in Child to Obcessive/Possesive Mother.
        Nice way to make GAY Children !

        Good Job – OBCESSIVE PARENTS !
        … You are making SPOILED and GAY PEOPLE (your Children).

  • KT

    Un-freaking-believable…. You’re spouse had a choice, your child did not. Personally I believe NO ONE has the write to create a life when that life inherently has no choice one way or the other, but if you do, you better put them first, in everything, for always. You owe them everything for forcing your desire of parenthood on them, and it’s a debt you can never fully pay, so you better do your damnedest, or don’t do it at all.

    • JC

      Loser – You apparently messed up with YOUR KIDS – don’t blame it on everybody else – or say Everybody else is Wrong – Or Everybody should FOLLOW YOUR RULES (YOU are being a NARCISSIST). Fix Your Own ways.

    • Beth

      Really? You were once a child, do your parents owe you everything? Are you angry at them for “forcing their desire to be parents” on you?

      Your spouse did have a choice. They chose to have a child WITH you. Removing them from the equation in the name of the child? Sounds like you’re indebted to the wrong person. You would not be a parent without that spouse.

  • dla2s

    don’t have kids then. they didn’t ask to be born. have fun making them, have fun taking care of them. They are your first priority.Your spouse is already an adult who can tend to him or herself.

  • Nikki

    No, my daughter’s needs come first. That’s how it should be. I’m a mother first and a wife second. The only person who thinks otherwise is a person who abuses their children and expects their spouse to stand by their side and let them do it. To my husband, our daughter comes first and to me, our daughter comes first. I’m talking her NEEDS not her wants. Their needs come before your spouses needs. (Hopefully, this post won’t post twice.)

    • James

      So you will sacrifice your marriage by ignoring your responsibilities to your husband. Why can’t you not spoil the child and be more inclusive of men as well. It’s supposed to be a family not a woman dominated relationship.

    • JC

      Yeah – my Daughters are thrilled with me – and prefer time with ME to their Mother any and every day.
      – And I am the one who chastises punishes them (the mother refuses to) …

      The mother even randomly buys them toys to please them.
      But my daughters see right through it … and always say how their mother ‘pretyends to make me happy’ – they say.

      • jackie smith

        TO JC,

        You describe a very sad unhappy situation and marriage.
        First that your kids don’t enjoy being with their mother, and second that you seem to gloat over it, instead of working together with your wife to correct this situation. You are not opposite sides in a conflict, you are a family unit.
        You should step up to the plate, and help to solidify the family as a strong unit, and help the children and your wife, to cement their relationship. This will benefit everyone.
        Sir, your family desperately needs family and marriage counseling.
        Also, does your family ever go on a family outing or trip?

    • Tada Musa

      I hope you know what you are talking about.Before your daughter,it was you and your spouse.So shall it be.

    • Jaquen

      Good luck with the divorce proceedings. Children are born out of that marriage, they are the byproduct of your relationship with your spouse. It makes zero sense to place them above it. If the marriage is strong, the children only benefit. Choosing them above your life partner is pure foolishness, and the results are painfully apparent as women all across this country are married to their children, while their spouses lanquish on the vine.

    • sammy

      “The only person who thinks otherwise is a person who abuses their children and expects their spouse to stand by their side and let them do it.”

      You’re ridiculous.

    • Susan

      You are totally wrong. I am a person who thinks otherwise…that balancing a marriage and children is difficult to do; but my marriage comes first. I am not a child abuser and my husband doesn’t stand by and let me do it. You must be an extremist. That’s Scary.

    • Fseif

      Nikki, you and your husband are doing what is right. Howver, the author is correct too. We tend to forget that in old age, the children are gone doing their own thing. We are left with our spouses. If the relationship bteween the husband and wife is not solid, we may have it rough in old age.

    • Amy R

      my 3 daughters don’t always come first and I can assure you that neither my husband or I abuse our children. I disagree with you.

  • John Mannone

    there is no doubt children should come first, if parents can not sacrifice they should not have had children in the furst place

    • JC

      LOSER !
      You apparently feel that you have a FAILED LIFE,
      so YOU desparately try to FIX YOUR KIDS.

    • Judy

      Children come first, if your spouse can’t deal with it, you didn’t marry an adult.

  • Vic

    Absolutely true! If you focus too much on your children, you will be at odds with your spouse’s needs, or opinions on raising children for that matter, and the conflicts that arise won’t do anybody any good.

  • Mr AuQEii

    Children tend to love you more than your spouse, and they will always be your childeren, but that may not be true with your spouse.

    • Teach

      That’s why he said put your spouse first. To help fend that off.

    • Scott

      No doubt in my mind, if you are a parent who puts their children first before their spouse, you have a lousy marriage – if in fact you have a marriage at all. Children need to see their parents happy, and the good treatment of each other as a spouse is the greatest gift to give a child. Spoil them, buy them things, act like you are parent of the year… in the long run it won’t matter….children want their parents to be happy with each other, period.

  • mj

    yes i agree . children today need MUCH more attention paid to them, their wants and their needs . ESPECIALLY their wants . we don’t have nearly enuff spoiled , self centered ,Narcissistic children out there .

    • BE

      We don’t have enough channels for that many reality TV shows…

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