After them, it will be us.
Nothing lasts forever. Our darlings are going to grow up and move out of our nest at some point. I don’t know about you, but there’s no room for a 30-year-old kid in my basement. After they’re out in the world, living on their own, raising their own family, being the human beings they were meant to be, it will be just the two of us once again. And we want us to be healthy, strong, and still as committed as we were when we first began this journey. In order to make sure the future us is protected, we must put us first today. This is not easy. We’ll get to that in a second…
We need to set a future example.
As I mentioned earlier, your children and mine are looking to us for life-cues, direction, and example. As children, they’re watching our every move to determine how they should live their lives. We often say, “We are raising adults, not children.” I don’t know about you, but I want my children to grow up with a healthy view of relationships — dating, engaged, or married. I want the health of my marriage to give them a healthy view of what marriage is, and what it should be. That’s why I put my wife first, and them second. Close second, but still second.
At the end of the day, this is a tension you must manage. Your children do need you, and they are important. After your spouse, they come next. Not friendships, not careers, not hobbies. Them. And you must take care of them. But take care of your marriage first and foremost. If that crumbles, the confidence that your children have now will begin to erode. When they see you loving their mother, or their father, they will love them too. But most importantly, they will have a confidence in themselves, and a confidence in the world around them.
Our schedule is busy all the time. I mean all … the … time! It seems to never stop. We are on with our children all the time. That’s why we guard 9 PM on each night. That’s why we intentionally schedule date night a couple times a month. It must be a value. It must be consistent.
We must come first.
A version of this post originally appeared at Babble.com, published with permission.