By Kelsey on May 31, 2012 21

Do You Love Your Kids More Than Your Spouse?

I heard a couple weeks ago that 75% of women say they love their kids more than they love their spouse.

This made for interesting personal reflection and, later, dinner conversation with Eric.

I told him I don’t love him more than I love Rooney.

But I also don’t love her more than I love him.

It’s definitely a different love–a new and exciting love, but I am not really sure how to measure or compare them.

Before we had Rooney, Eric and I discussed our priorities and determined to put our marriage before our children.

It’s something I have to think about daily. It’s not easy. Rooney has survival needs.

We are falling more in love with her every day. We think she is adorable. She is doing fun, new things all the time. And it takes barely any effort to earn a huge smile from her.

All I can think about when I get off work is going to get her and squeezing her.

Similar to how, after our wedding, I couldn’t wait to get off work so I could go home to my husband.

I guess if I think about it really hard, I think it would be harder for me to lose my husband than my child. (Please, God, no no no no no.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, again, I’m vowing to myself and Eric to put our marriage before my relationship with my kids.

Because you know what? I want my children to have healthy relationships and marriages someday.

And because if it all goes as fast as they say it will, soon we will be empty-nesters and will have to “go on” with our own lives.

(I actually dream quite often about vacationing to a romantic resort with Eric after our kids are grown!)

It won’t be easy. But we had a kid on purpose. And our marriage is pretty healthy.

So I guess for now we’ll just try to make it through these years of our lives as intentionally as we can, squeezing in as many date nights as we can.

I wish I had more time in the day for both of them.

It’s a juggling act, for sure. And I bet it will get even harder.

How do you do it?


Facebook Discussion

Facebook Discussion


I love my husband, my daughter and the Internet.

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head — this is something that has to be worked on every day, because a child has survival needs that you have to put before your own. Speaking from experience, I think it gets easier to focus on your marriage the older your children get. But, those early days are tough! (and in every way possible) My husband and I work together in the evening to get all the chores done (dinner cleaned up, leftovers put away, kitchen cleaned, kids in bed, etc… all those nightly details) before a certain time (usually 8 or 8:30) so we have ample time together in the evening. Earlier in the day, we’ve already made plans on something that we want to watch on tv or dvd or whatever it happens to be. And we call each other throughout the day, as much as our schedules allow.

  2. Another spot on post. My husband just entered his crazy time at work just as I’m wrapping up my last week at home with baby before work. I started letting myself feel lonely and, I’ll admit, a bit sorry for myself. Last night I even went so far as to think, “well, at least I have this little guy.” I scolded myself. I don’t think it’s good to rely on your kids for happiness and certainly not healthy to expect a relationship with a child to fill any gaps you might be feeling in your marriage at a given time. Here’s to working at it and staying intentional. Thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughts with us.

    • confession time: when i was still on maternity leave, eric and i got into a little argument. i was holding rooney, and, like you, i looked down at her and thought, “at least i have her right now.”

      how terrible is that?! i was shocked at myself for even letting my brain go there! plus, i’m sure there will be many times that SHE will be upset with me! a lesson that i can’t depend on anyone but God for my true happiness.

  3. you are exactly right that it’s a different love you feel for each of them. yesterday, brandon and i had a lunch date because the girls are at preschool/daycare for just a few more days before we are all home together all day everyday for the summer. you take dates anyway you can get them–chaperoning prom, running to the grocery store, watching tv for an hour after the kids go to bed. kids grow up too quickly to miss out on time with them… will get that romantic getaway soon enough….don’t wish for time to pass faster than it already does. i guess for me it’s more that my FAMILY (as a whole) is a priority more than dividing the members up and putting one before another.

  4. I totally agree that the love felt for my husband is equal to but entirely different from the love for my daughter. The love for my daughter is fierce, primal and forgiving – no matter how frustrated I get in a day, she is there and I can’t help but love her with everything I’ve got. The love for my husband is comfortable, ancient and stable – shared between two equal partners who have a shared history on a journey together. Both loves are great, but they are different.

    One of the toughest parts of being a new parent is finding time for it all. Time to spend with a growing baby who won’t be one forever, time to connect with a spouse and time to nurture oneself. I can’t say we have found a way to balance all these things. We’re learning, very slowly, how to make it all work. Date nights are important, family time is important and being truly present during those times.

    Communication is key in our marriage, letting each other know what’s going on, what I need and asking how I can help. One thing that has helped us with our marriage is meeting with a counselor once a month. She helps us learn to communicate more clearly and with more empathy. It’s been a really good time for us to reflect on our relationship and how we communicate. It’s difficult to admit that we needed that help. But I wanted to let others know it’s OK to need and ask for help. It does not mean our marriage is falling apart. It means we want to work to make it stronger.

    My parents divorced when I was young and I want to give my daughter an intact family as she grows. So we work at making our marriage better, for us and for her. When we were just married I wondered why people called marriage work, it seemed so easy then, but now I understand how much effort it can be to keep a marriage strong.

  5. I was startled by that new statistic as well but it makes sense with divorce rates almost as high. We chose to put our marriage first because like you said I want my children to see what a health marriage looks like so they can strive for one themselves. Plus, I believe that placing children at the center of a family rather than you marriage is developmentally inappropriate. Obviously, like you pointed out babies and young children have survival needs but I don’t want my child to prematurely experience the power and pressure of leading a family–that my husband and I’s responsibility and calling and we are developmentally capable of that–not our children.

  6. Totally agree with this post. Love to hear it from your perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  7. This is very interesting to me. I always thought of family as a whole, working together – I understand that you need to take time, to nurture each relationship – but I’ve never thought of loving my future husband more or less than my future child (or thinking to put my marriage before my child)… Thank you for sharing, this is a view I have never, ever heard before.

  8. I think that the family is a whole,just like the body is a whole. I don’t love my hands more than my feet, they do different jobs, have different purposes. Would I love a hot, fresh cinnamon roll if I couldn’t smell it and taste it? Is the smell of it better than the taste … or is it just different.

    I remember almost 33 years ago, signing my name as Mrs. So and So … the pride, the love and the joy. I remember bringing home three kids, looking into their faces and thinking, this is us, this is OUR love, this is our gift from God. The love didn’t decrease with my spouse, but the time spent focused on him did.

    As you know I lost that love, and being reflective, the love he and I shared wasn’t always a honeymoon, sometimes it was a quiet day at the lake, sometimes it was a roller coaster, sometimes it was mundane and doing the laundry like, but always there was love … don’t dwell on defining it, just relish the stage and moment you are in. God gifts us with people to love, children to cherish … but most of all God grants us with the ability to love in so many different ways.

    Thanks Kels and Eric for making each of us think deeper, love simply and being more reflective in our daily lives. Squeeze that sweet Rooney from me please :)

    • This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful perspective.

    • Vicki, thank you for your lovely thoughts. I love the metaphor of the family being like a body. I think that’s what I was trying to say when I said it’s inappropriate to let children be the center–that you shouldn’t let the ear do the smelling or eyes do the walking!

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

    • This is just beautiful, Vickie. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  9. Lovely post, I’m about a month and a half away from having our first and this is one of the biggest things I’ve been worried about. I really agree with your point of view and hope to work just as hard!

  10. great and honest post, girl! and it’s true. it might seem hard but we should put our marriages before our children. and when they see what a true, healthy and beautiful relationship is like, they will grow up and find someone who treats them just the same!
    xo TJ

  11. I really loved Vicki’s response…
    I think it’s very hard not to consider that your children “need” you more than your spouse. But I think that if I put my marriage first, then the both of us can meet our children’s needs together, as a team. And if we’re fulfilled in our marriage, then each of us is more understanding of the other’s temporary shortcomings when another part of life (be it kids, work or other family!) has been a drain.

  12. I really doubt the study .It mean 25 % mothers love their husband more than kids ?
    how many of them were single mothers among 75 % ? .I think a lot .

    I don’t think most married couples love their children more than each other .Its different type of love .
    The love i feel for my husband is different than the love i feel for my daughter but both of them are equal and i could not choose between the two .

    My husband is without a doubt my soulmate. We’ve been together for 12 years, shared experiences, been and gone through hard times and I’ve found since having my first child we’ve bonded in another way which we didn’t have before. He’s without a doubt my best friend, my confidant and the husband I love and married for. When I look at the future, he is and always has been there.

    The love for my daughter (one on the way) is completely different and ultimately a way that can’t be described. If I had to choose between my daughter and my husband I would choose purely on the basis that I am her mother, she needs me, she will always need me and she depends on me, it’s down to me to ensure that she has everything she needs emotionally, mentally and physically and part of my love for her is to ensure she is moulded and guided into a responsible, caring and well rounded adult. My husband doesn’t need me, obviously he would want the companionship, as would I. But he doesn’t need me.

    It is a very hard thing to separate two completely different types of love and try to define which is the greater.

    Both my husband and children are part of me and my life, and I could happily say I love them all equally but in different ways, certainally not one more than the other.


  13. You guys all have it wrong. I love my husband and kids. You dont love someone more. There are three types on Love. Its in the Bible…. You dont Love your husband with the same type of Love that you have for God or Children…

    • Hi Nia, I agree with you. In this post I said I don’t love my husband more or less than I love my daughter. It’s just different, but I do think we’re called to have priorities of God first, spouse second and children third.

  14. Here are the types of Love. Agape, Philos and Eros. Agape is what God has for us. Philos is what we have for kids and Eros for a Spouse.
    I dont agree with any studies. Reading the Bible is best.

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