As your husband, I get why you want to spend so much time with our kids. But can’t you spend time with me, too?
As a parent myself I can appreciate the feelings you have for your children. I get that there’s something so special about your children that you don’t want to miss a moment of their life. And I get that children fill a special place inside you that you never even knew was empty until your child filled it. Trust me, as a father, I really do get it. But can I ask you why you so often put your children before your husbands?
As a man I can’t begin to tell you how often I look around and see we husbands thrown under the bus for the sake of your (and our) children. Whenever I go to the park, for example, I can’t help but notice a wife with her children smiling and playing while her husband is standing to the side watching. And when her husband wants to spin them on the merry-go-round or push them on the swing his wife gets mad at him for spinning them too fast or pushing the swing too hard. It’s like he just can’t win. It’s apparent that he wants to join with his family and have a good time but the husband is being told ‘no’ and pushed aside. So he goes back to just watching them or playing on his smartphone only to be criticized for doing that, too.
Leave Some Time and Energy For Us
Another way I see wives put their children first before their husband is the way you wives run yourselves so ragged during the day trying to fill our children’s lives with activities and fun, etc. and then when we husbands finally get some alone time with you at night you have no energy left for us. Now please don’t get me wrong. I fully understand why you want to give your children all that you can possibly give. Believe me, as a parent I completely understand. I just don’t understand why it has to come at your husband’s expense.
As a marriage counselor, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have seen a couple come into my office, sit on my couch and then hear the husband complain that their sex life has fallen through the floor. I then usually see the wife snap at him, scolding him for being so inconsiderate for even thinking about sex after she’s been running around with the kids all day and is so exhausted. The husband usually begins to tell her that it’s not about the sex and it’s more about the connection he wants to have with her because she’s been so pre-occupied with the children. But she snaps at him again saying that if he really wants to connect then he should do the dishes or help her with the kids more often. It’s almost like allowing your husband to connect with you is a chore that has to come in behind whatever the kids want.
Marital Satisfaction Decreases after Having Children
Research shows that there is a sharp decrease in marital satisfaction after children come along. I think I can see why. At least from a guys’ point of view, it would seem that that’s when women start de-prioritizing their marriage (and we husbands) and focus mostly on their children. It would seem that when children come along is when we your husbands become old news. I think I can speak for all the men out there and say that it doesn’t have to be this way. Our children will still grow up happy if they see that their mom and dad love each other – even if it means they miss a chance to talk to mom for a few minutes because she’s talking with dad.
As a marriage counselor, I can confidently say that you have to be a good spouse in order to truly be a good parent. Children look up to their parents in so many ways as an example. They look to their parents to see how they handle difficulties. They look to their parents to see how they navigate through stress. They see their parents as examples and try to imitate what they see their parents do in hopes that they will learn from them and learn how to have the same successes that their parents have. But children also look to their parents as an example of what a healthy marriage looks like. And when we husbands are being left out, or when we husbands are being put on the back-burner this is not a good example and it certainly isn’t teaching our children what a healthy relationship is.
In the end, I get that you love your children. And believe me, we men love our children too. And even though we may tolerate them having more bumps and bruises and allow them to take more risks (like jumping off a roof onto a trampoline) we still are deeply invested in their happiness and helping them to be successful, competent adults. We also love you as our wives. We love you because you’re the one that we married and we want to spend time with you. We love our kids, too. Can’t we have both?
Photo Credit: Flickr/ lorenkerns