Parents’ love for their children is something absolutely special. We all hear remarkable stories about mothers and fathers doing impossible things for the sake of their children; working two jobs, sewing costumes all night, learning something only to teach them. This is something that we rarely question – it’s obvious for most parents that they love their babies more than anything in the world. But should it be like this? What about marital love? People tend to forget about each other when a baby comes between them, especially that newborns are extremely absorbing. Mothers and fathers very often forget that they are also wives and husbands. How is it supposed to be, really? Who should mothers love more – husbands or children?
There’s no right answer
It’s impossible to measure love, mainly because parental love and marital love are so different. They come from different reasons and they require a different kind of work and sacrifices. It’s easier to love your children. They come from you, they get all of your attention, especially when they’re little – they need to be fed, changed and entertained all the time. You take care of them, you bond, your love is growing. They’re helpless without you which make you feel responsible and important while your husband is the one you argue with, who manages without your help.
Marital love is a choice
Parental love is obvious. A mother knows that she loves her babies and she is sure that no sacrifice will be too big when it comes to them. However, as we are being rightly reminded by parentcenternetwork.org, a child needs both parents to thrive. Both mother and father should help, support and spend time with their children if they want them to succeed in every aspect of their lives. And it can be really hard to provide babies with all that when parents forget about each other.
Marital love is a choice. Absorbed by taking care and worrying about children, it is really important to remember about your partner. Remind yourself that you have this person beside you and remind them that you still remember why.
This really is the only choice that you make when it comes to family. You can’t choose your parents, you don’t get to choose who your children will be in the future, but it’s you who decide who you marry and stay with, ideally for the rest of your lives. You can choose your friends, and sometimes your friends are really close, just like family, but they are not exclusively yours.
Think about the future
Of course, children are forever, but they don’t spend this forever with you. They grow up, they leave their homes and only visit from time to time. They still are an integral part of your life, but you’re left only with your partner. It would be hard to go back to how it was at the beginning when there were no children, and you belonged to each other exclusively, if you have spent the last a dozen or so years being seemingly together, but really apart.
Try reminding yourself that you’re a couple not because of your children. They may be the most perfect fruit of your love, but you decided to be together for a variety of other reasons. Remember all of them.
Set your priorities straight
You should never neglect your children for your partner, but so you shouldn’t do it the other way around. It’s more important to feed your children when they’re little than to eat dinner together with your husband, but we are talking about long-term priorities here. You don’t want to find out that you’re sharing your life with a stranger. It’s important not to forget that you still are a couple, even if there are some little people between you two.
What’s more, by taking care of your marriage, you’re actually doing your kids a huge favor. Experts agree that your children’s overall well-being, happiness, sense of security and future successes actually depend on their parents’ love both for them and for each other. If a child sees that mother and father are in love and they take care of each, just like they do for kids, he or she will feel happy, safe, supported and will know what to look for in life.
If parents seem not to like each other, or they even only seem indifferent, children tend to blame themselves which influences every aspect of their lives and thoughts. They will perform worse in school, and they will struggle with anxiety and self-esteem.
It’s not about loving one or another more; it’s about the right balance and not forgetting anyone which can require you to think about your love for your partner a little more, not actually to love him more.