This follows from a conversation with a friend recently, and maybe it’s a second marriage thing, or not.

What is top of the priority list – the marriage or the kids?

There is no simple answer – I was just curious as to your thoughts.

7 responses to “Priorities

  1. lady lock and load

    For sure the marriage is the priority.

  2. Well, since 50% of raising kids is Shalom Bayis (and the other half is tefillah – I don’t remember the source, sorry), I would say the marriage. However, since I have exponentially more face time with the kids, it can seem like they are top priority, so I have to put in extra thought into maintaining the vibrancy and health of my marriage.

  3. I agree that the marriage should be a priority but in reality the kids are usually around more than the husband is as Rivki said above (especially when the kids are younger). I think it is always a struggle to try & find time to work on a marriage (regardless of whether it’s a first or second marriage) & give the kids the attention they need as well. At least now you have alone time while the kids are visiting their dad, so now is the perfect time to enjoy quality marriage one on one time with the KoD & I hope you enjoy & make the most of it!!

  4. Judaism emphasizes so strongly that marriage completes us – “a man without a wife is without blessing, goodness, peace, help, etc.” [very loose translation without source-checking]. At the same time pru urvu, bearing children, is the first mitzvah in the Torah. Our children are the future, and the Torah is full of obligations of the parent to child, teach him Torah, teach him to swim, etc. Nevertheless, the greatest success of parenting is when your children go off into the world and forge lives of their own, leaving you and your husband together, a little older and worn at the edges, but together just the two of you. A husband and wife serving as a strong, loving team is also the center around which a family is based and it empowers the children. So it’s the marriage– but that’s partially for the sake of the children, when there are children; (if it’s entirely “for the sake of the children,” wouldn’t that make the children the ultimate priority? But note I only said “partially.” 🙂 ). [Marriage is just as sacrosanct when there are no children.] As it says in Sefer Yetzirah, “noetz sofin n’techilasin v’tchilasin b’sofin;” the beginning is wedged in the end and the end in the beginning. No simple answers in Judaism. Sorry, hun.

  5. While I’m not Jewish, I come from a Pagan perspective I agree for the most part with wifeofmottel. Her phrase “A husband and wife serving as a strong, loving team is also the center around which a family is based and it empowers the children.” Really summed up what I was thinking. When our children were very small, say under 5 our collective balance was more the kids. DH and I knew to have empowered children we needed to ensure their needs were met developmentally. So it was all about the kids – with a passing nod to – “yah, we need a date night, but we are good right?”. Now that they are older (9 & 13) the balance has started to shift back to the marriage. The lesson is different for the kids, how to have a strong relationship to model a strong family. So that eventually when they leave the nest, our marriage will have grown stronger in the challenge of raising awesome kids. So I guess for me its about balance and the life cycle of a family.

  6. It must be a second marriage thing, because I don’t understand the question. It is like asking, what is more important for driving the car, the left wheels or the right wheels.

  7. Any therapist is going to tell you marriage. You will hopefully spend the rest of your life with your spouse. Your kids will be out the door at 18 or 21 or in this economy later than that. They will start their own families and hopefully understand.

    This gets more complicated with blended families, obviously. I went to a marriage retreat and sat in on the blended family session because I know so many and I was bawling the whole time.

    I have seen so many blended families torn apart by the children…children of all ages, even when “the children” are adults. I know grandparents who had to distance themselves from their grandchildren because the parents never got over the grandparents remarrying other people. It’s sad. Family therapy is nothing to sneeze at.

    Even celebrities suffer from this when it comes to blended families. How many times have you heard of a famous actor or actress dying and the kids and the current spouse (no matter how long they were married) fighting over what’s left of the estate. It’s ugly.

    But I still think it’s the marriage and any book or therapist will tell you the same because if you and your husband aren’t happy. Nobody’s going to be happy and you shouldn’t kill any possibility of happiness for yourself. i know so many martyr single moms who are waiting until their kids are grown up to start dating again and it isn’t easy to date as you get older.

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