The website in case you didn’t know is “kidpastorslife.com”. So how come a kid’s pastor doesn’t want you to put kids first?
Honestly, if there was one thing I wish the parents in my ministry knew is that their kids don’t want to be “put first”.
Because your kids need you to have a strong marriage.
Marriage and kids aren’t counterproductive but they are structured differently and when the structure gets confused I’ve seen how it can in the long run hurt kids.
The truth is families grow apart.
Marriages are meant to grow together.
Genesis sets up this dynamic perfectly when it describes marriage and how a child will leave their father and mother and start a new relationship with their spouse.
Families are meant to grow apart and spouses are meant to grow together.
The truth is though, we live in a “kids first” culture.
Not in a healthy way.
We can put kids first in a way that requires marriage to be put on the sacrificial block of the perceived needs of a child.
Don’t get me wrong the faith of the next generation to me is worth everything.
But if you pay attention to Paul he paints marriage as a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church.
How confusing is that for children to see the picture that is meant to represent their relationship with Christ cheapened by that same relationship always getting second place?
Your kid needs you to put your marriage before them.
They need to see sacrificial love from you to your spouse even when it means they, in a moment, feel neglected.
So how do you do that?
How do you put your marriage before your kids in a way that’s healthy?
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when kids need to come first in the sense of protection, and I recognize my readers have a diverse background so please know, this post is not addressing issues like abuse or infidelity.
But in a general sense, our culture can make kids into almost an idol.
Well, there’s an important principle you need to exercise and a simple, practical way to put, keeping your marriage first, into practice.
The principle is a team mentality.
Marriage is meant to be a team and that means when it comes to kids you are co-coaches. This principle means to the best of your ability you and your spouse maintain a united front with your kids.
This means you communicate your plans and strategies, especially in regard to child discipline, to your spouse. Not that one spouse unilaterally decides to make rules and the other has to enforce them.
The other concept I’ve found that helps keep your marriage a priority practically is the 3, 2, 1 approach. Our couples ministry talks about this approach quite a bit and it’s a good practical way to keep your marriage on track. The 3, 2, 1 approach breaks down into three parts.
3 stands for 3 specific things throughout the year that you and your spouse use to invest in your marriage. This could be a marriage conference, a couples retreat or going through a devotional together.
2 stands for 2 overnight getaways throughout the year. This is a hard one when kids get involved because so often parents can have anxiety about leaving their kids overnight. The truth is though this is something that is vitally important. Not getting away from your kids can turn into the worst thing for your kids. Plan a trip where you and your spouse can be away together. If you don’t have people you can trust your kids with overnight, work hard on building yourself a support group so you can eventually do this.
Finally, the one stands for one date night a week.
This one my wife and I used to consistently feel was too far out of reach. With 3 young children, we just couldn’t find the babysitters once a week to go out, not to mention the impact on our budget.
Lately, though Sarah and I have reexamined this and realized we were standing in our own way when it came to one date night a week. We simply had a conversation about expectations and what defined a date night.
Now we aim to get a sitter at least one night a month and the other three weeks we wait and eat until the kids are in bed. We take turns splitting the planning and come up with a quality time activity we can do after the kids are in bed.
I love my kids but it’s hard to be a good dad if I drop the mantle of being a good husband.
And maybe, more importantly, the best way for me to truly put my kids first is for me to model what a good marriage can be for them.