Discover the key to a thriving marriage: putting your spouse first. Learn the secrets to a loving and lasting relationship in this must-read blog post.
This is one of my favorite marriage topics and the foundation for why I started Connect Again. I hear from so many moms that they don’t put their marriage first.
I surveyed over 300 married couples and found that only 53% prioritize their marriage. My hope is that, by the end of this post, I will have convinced you to put your spouse before your kids.
My husband Josh and I put each other first. I’ll share some personal insights and tips that have worked for us!
- What does putting your spouse first mean?
- Why should you always put your spouse first … even before the kids?
- Putting your spouse first in a blended family
- Biblically who comes first: wife or child?
- Who comes first in a marriage: wife or mother?
- Putting your husband first
- How to put your spouse first
- What does putting your spouse first look like? Here are some personal examples
- Put your spouse first Bible verses
- Putting your spouse first quotes
- When your spouse doesn’t put you first
- Final thoughts on putting your spouse first
- Pin for later!
What does putting your spouse first mean?
Putting your spouse first means you look out for your spouse and are there for them. You put their needs above others, including your own.
Prioritizing your marriage means you spend time with your spouse and work with them through all of life’s ups and downs. You appreciate your marriage and do not take it for granted.
Most importantly, putting your spouse first means you prioritize your marriage over your kids. This may not be a popular opinion, but it’s important to establish a healthy foundation for your family.
Why should you always put your spouse first … even before the kids?
Of the couples I mentioned before, I found that those who do prioritize their marriage report feeling happier and more secure in their relationship.
Does this mean that your children are not a priority? Or that your marriage is always your sole focus? Not necessarily. You can’t ignore your child’s needs. They are absolutely still a priority, even if you put your marriage first.
For example, let’s say you have a date planned with your spouse. That day, your son comes down with a high fever. Just because you cancel the date, does not mean you don’t prioritize your marriage. A strong marriage is secure enough to handle these situations.
Here are the benefits the couples from the survey mentioned:
You’ll have a stronger marriage
Couples who prioritize their marriage report arguing less and having a more joyful home. You’ll respect each other rather than resent each other.
You’ll be more likely to stay together
Many in the survey responded that they are currently on their second marriage. One of the reasons they believed their first marriages ended was because they didn’t give it the priority it deserved. Now that these people are on their second marriages, they have learned from their mistakes.
You’ll prioritize your kids better
Teach your children what a healthy relationship looks like. Modeling a good partnership is a way of prioritizing your children and their emotional development. They will be more likely to have healthy relationships themselves.
You’ll have a stronger family
Just like a house, a family cannot stand without a strong foundation. Your marriage is the foundation of the family. Strengthen that and the rest will be strong as well.
You’ll have a stronger bond with your children
Have a strong bond with your children, but don’t hover. You don’t want to resent your kids because you do so much for them and then have absolutely no time for your spouse or yourself. As hard as it is, your goal is to make them independent. In the end, they will come to appreciate you for this.
You’ll honor your wedding vows
You made a commitment to your spouse when you got married. Prioritizing your marriage is the first step to honoring those vows.
Your kids will behave better
I’ve seen it time and time again: when my husband and I are not doing well (for example when we’ve been stressed or sick), our 5 year old tends to act up. Your kids feed off of your energy.
It’s important to note here that you can do everything right and your toddler still has tantrums. There’s only so much you can do with that age!
However, I’ve noticed that when I’m calm, I react to my son’s strong emotions calmly, and we have fewer outbursts. Prioritizing my marriage helps me feel calm.
You’ll minimize empty nest syndrome
There will be less awkwardness or loneliness when your kids move out. You’ll know that you and your spouse get along and will thrive in this new phase of your lives.
Putting your spouse first in a blended family
In the case of blended families, the kids actually did come first. Maybe the other biological parent is not in the picture and you feel that your children have no one else.
This definitely sounds like a strong case for prioritizing your children over your marriage. It can be easy to put your children first in this situation.
However, you made a commitment to your spouse in your wedding vows. Honor those vows by prioritizing them and showing your children that having a healthy relationship is important. When you need reassurance, just go back to the benefits described above!
Biblically who comes first: wife or child?
Throughout the Bible, it is emphasized that the wife should come before the children. If you’d like specific examples, keep reading for some amazing Bible verses!
Who comes first in a marriage: wife or mother?
Your wife should come before your mother. You owe your parents a lot. And that shouldn’t be ignored.
But when you marry, your wife becomes your family. Therefore, your wife should come first.
Putting your husband first
As a mother myself, I understand and feel the draw to prioritize my kids. I’ve always been the kind of mom who prioritizes nap time schedules and routines. I found that they work for my kids and I dove right in.
But when I get too caught up with the kids, the house, and my never ending to-do list, it can be easy to put my husband aside. That’s why Josh and I are very intentional about prioritizing each other.
It’s become a much more important aspect of our lives now that we have kids. We have seen the benefits and feel the repercussions when we don’t put each other first.
If you’d like to incorporate more prayer into your marriage AND prioritize your husband, you’ll love this 30 day praying for your husband challenge!
How to put your spouse first
There are a lot of ways to put your spouse first. My advice is to try different things until you find what works for you and your spouse.
Everyone is different so if you’re not sure where to start, I’d begin with a look at your love languages. They’ll help you figure out what you most place value in.
Make appreciation a habit
First, make sure your husband feels appreciated. Then you can begin to slowly incorporate appreciation into your every day.
If you’d like help with this, I have a 30 day challenge that you’ll love! Just subscribe here and you’ll get access to the entire free resource library. It’s filled with all sorts of printables that will help you connect with your spouse (such as a date night planner, couple budget tracker, and more!).
When your spouse wants to talk, be there for them. They need to know that you prioritize what they have to say.
Be attuned to their needs
The more you listen to your spouse, the more you’ll begin to realize what their needs are.
Spend time together
Your marriage will be a lot stronger if you spend time together. Start a hobby or watch a movie. Make some popcorn to go along with it!
Here are 60 date nights you can have right at home!
What does putting your spouse first look like? Here are some personal examples
Give each other breaks
Josh and I have 2 young kids (5 and 2 at the time I’m writing this). As a stay at home mom, I need time away from the kids. And Josh needs to be able to take a break from work, the kids, and the house.
So every week, we give each other breaks to have “me time”. We alternate so that we both get time off away from the kids to decompress.
We also take turns with the kids’ bedtime routines. Every night, one of us has an hour to themselves while the other gets the kids ready for bed.
By giving breaks to decompress, we are putting each other first. We are in tune to what the other needs right now. And in this phase of life, what we need is a few moments where no one needs us. 🙂
Talk to your spouse … even with the kids around
It’s important to have conversations with your spouse. I get it, kids are demanding. They want your undivided attention every single minute.
But that’s not healthy for your marriage. Your spouse needs attention too. With 2 young kids, it can be hard for Josh and I to get a conversation in. We get interrupted a lot!
But the point is that we try. And by trying, we show each other that we care. And we show our kids that our marriage is important.
We periodically have discussions with our kids about how “mom and dad need to be able to talk”. Sometimes they listen and it all works out great. Other times it doesn’t.
What matters is that we keep working on it. One day, we’ll be able to get a full conversation in while the kids are around!
Put your spouse first Bible verses
Wives, be subject to your husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, because we are members of his body.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I am speaking about Christ and the church. Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
Putting your spouse first quotes
“The greatest marriages are built on teamwork. A mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration, and a never-ending portion of love and grace.”Fawn Weaver
“A long-lasting marriage is built by two people who believe in -and live by- the solemn promise they made.”Darlene Schacht
“A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created.”Fawn Weaver
“Marriage is a commitment- a decision to do, all through life, that which will express your love for one’s spouse.”Herman H. Kieval
“Love is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other, and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together.”Barbara Cage
“In marriage, when we honor and celebrate each other, we’re freed up to be the best people we can be.”Drs. Les & Leslie Parrot
When your spouse doesn’t put you first
So what do you do when your spouse doesn’t put you first? Here are some steps to help you both prioritize your marriage:
Start by doing some reflection. Do you put your spouse first? If you don’t, you’ll want to start there. You can’t expect your spouse to prioritize you if you can’t do the same for them.
Next, think about what prioritzing your marriage means to you. In what ways can your spouse make you feel like a priority?
Have a conversation
After you have reflected on the topic, you and your spouse need to sit down and have a conversation. Here are some things you need to talk about:
- How do you currently put each other first?
- What are some ways you would each like to be put first?
- What changes can be made so that you can start to put each other first?
Don’t try to make too many changes too quickly. Lasting change comes from making simple and small changes every day. That is what develops into a habit.
How do I get my husband to put me first?
If your husband doesn’t put you first, you’ll want to have a conversation with him. Express why you are feeling this way.
Be open to what he says. It’s possible he feels like he IS putting you first. But maybe not in the way you want him to. If that’s the case, be honest about what you’d like.
Final thoughts on putting your spouse first
Finally, don’t forget to prioritize yourself too! I know, I’m asking for a lot, right? Just like you can’t solely give yourself to your children, you also can’t solely give yourself to your marriage.
Make sure you have at least one hobby – something that is yours that makes you happy. Give each other breaks to recharge. And don’t be ashamed to ask for alone time. Your marriage will benefit from this reset.
Do you prioritize your spouse? Do you have trouble putting your spouse first? Let me know in the comments below!
Pin for later!
About the Author
Melissa is a wife of 8 years and mother to 2 young kiddos. She has a passion for helping couples prioritize and strengthen their marriage after having kids. She knows firsthand how difficult it can be to connect with your spouse when you have little people running around, demanding all of your attention.