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Why it's OK to love your husband more than your kids

Newlywed, new mom and first-time home buyer, Sarah is currently playing out her exciting life in Phoenix, Arizona. She recently gave up her job in finance to stay at home with her baby girl, who between bath time and feeding time, keeps ...

Marriage first, kids second

One of the best things you can do for your children is to love your spouse. Learn exactly what putting your marriage first means and the benefits it has on your children.
Couple kissing in front of baby

The New York Times bestselling author Ayelet Waldman wrote a popular essay for the publication titled Truly, Madly, Guiltily on this very subject — loving your husband more than your kids.

Keep in mind that this does not by any means mean neglecting your children — it simply means showing your kids what a good marriage looks like. This allows them to set the bar high in their own marriages and develop healthy views of marriage. Today, we're speaking with Ayelet plus providing tips on ways to show your husband some extra love!

SheKnows: You believe it's important for your husband to remain your number one priority after having kids. What are some benefits of this you've noticed in terms of your marriage?

Ayelet: Well, for one, we'll be celebrating our 20th anniversary in a couple of months. I realized longevity in and of itself is no virtue in a marriage — there are long-married couples who would have been far better off divorcing — but Michael and I have a very solid, very happy marriage. We are still in love with each other, still passionate. To maintain that level of intensity for years is a function of both luck (that we happen to have found one another) and effort. We work very hard at our relationship and try always to remember that we are on the same team.

SK: What are little things women can do daily to show their husbands they love them?

Ayelet: First and foremost, physical affection is important in my marriage, both casual (a kiss as you pass by, an arm casually slung around the neck) and sexual. Sexual intimacy is a shortcut to emotional intimacy, or at least it is for us. It's also fun. We also try to remember not to take each other for granted, to show appreciation. If Michael spends hours on a huge dinner, I make sure to thank him and tell him how delicious it was. Goes without saying, one would think, but when six people are sitting at the table, gobbling dinner, thanks can fall by the wayside. We always remember to have one another's backs, to be loyal to each other, to defend one another. And finally, though this might sound silly, it's a symbol of something much more important — we never roll our eyes. Disdain is a marriage-killer. Don't express it, try not to feel it.

SK: How does putting your husband first benefit your children?

Ayelet: I believe (though I can't know this for sure — only time will tell) that our connection is ultimately positive for our children. They feel secure in the notion both that they are loved (and they are) and that their family will remain intact. If nothing else, this security and confidence in their family gives them that much less to worry about in a complicated world.

More ways to show your husband love

Remember, putting your marriage first doesn't mean your kids aren't loved. Like Ayelet states, having a stable marriage gives your kids comfort and security, which for them is a huge form of love. Not only that, but when your kids leave home, you're going to be left with just your husband again. It's worth it to nurture this relationship daily so you don't grow apart and feel like you're living with a stranger. Little ways you can show him love daily include:

  • Leaving a love note in his lunch
  • Asking him about his day
  • Making plans together — walks, dinners out, vacations, etc.
  • Cooking his favorite meal
  • Asking him how you can help him

It's simple, really, but a little love goes a long way. Now go greet your husband with a kiss when he walks through that door tonight!

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