Writer and father of several children, Mike Berry, explains in his blog why his wife matters to him more than his children and why this idea should be adopted by every family. The blog article became very popular and divisive: some people criticized the author while others were inspired by it as it really changed their way of thinking.
Mike and his wife Kristin are raising 8 adopted children. They have been happily married for 17 years and they do active social work in order to help other families deal with problems and build a harmonious relationship.
It is usually 8:30 when I give my 2 teenage daughters the first warning that it’s time. And at 9 pm I tell them, “You should go to your room.” I do this almost every evening. And they argue every time, “Why do we have to go to bed at 9? We are not children anymore!”
“You don’t have to go to bed now, I’m simply asking you to leave the living room. Mom and I haven’t seen each other for the entire day because we were concentrated on our work. We need time to be together.”
The girls roll their eyes.
Honestly, we have followed this rule for as long as I can remember. We have been parents for 15 years and the children never took all of our time. My wife and I spend a lot of time with our children but never 24/7. We love our children and of course, they play a huge role in our lives. They can always rely on us and get our help and support.
But aside from children, there is “us”. Our relationship. Kristin and I always have to make sure that our marriage is strong and healthy. There are several reasons why it is important and here are 4 of them.
1. A healthy marriage is the cornerstone of the home.
Children are not the cornerstone of your family. They are a huge part of it but they are not the ones holding this chaotic structure we call family. The most important part of the family is you and your wife, your husband — your partner. It’s you who has all the responsibility. And the children choose their paths based on your example.
2. Before them, it was us.
Before they existed, it was the 2 of us. We fell in love, we missed classes together, we talked on the phone all night (and it was tied to the wall with a cord), and then we decided to be together forever. We were at the beginning of the path. And we started this whole family thing. Then we had our beautiful children. Of course, we are happy to have them. But our marriage is sacred. And we have to do everything to protect it.
3. After them, it will be us.
Nothing lasts forever. There will come a moment when the children will grow up and leave the nest. I don’t know about you but there is no place in my house for a 30-year-old child. So, when they leave our house, have their own families and raise their own children, I would like my relationship with my wife to remain as strong and intimate as it was in the very beginning. And in order to have such a future, we need to work on the relationship right now. Our relationship should be the priority. Of course, it is not as easy as it seems.
4. We need to set a future example.
As I have mentioned before, the children see us and learn from us. They do what we do and watch our every step. I often say, “We are raising adults, not children.” Again, I don’t know about you but I want my children to grow up with a normal attitude toward dating, love, and family. And I want our marriage to be an example for them. So, my wife comes before my children. They are really close, but still after my wife.
At the end of the day, we all tend to be tired and tense. And yes, your children need you, they are really important. Not your hobby, not your friends, not your job. And you should care about them. But take care of your relationship first. When children see that their parents love each other, they are sure that the parents love them. But the most important thing is that they will have confidence in themselves and in the world around them.
We have crazy schedules. We always lack free time. We spend the entire day with our children. And this is why I ask them to go to their rooms at 9 pm every evening. This is why my wife and I have a date twice a month and we go out. Because it matters.
This is why my wife comes before my children.