Meet the Sullivans: Marriage First, Children Second?

March 1, 2013

Marriage First, Children Second?

I had planned on publishing a "brain dump" post this morning. I was going to tell you all about our week in iPhone photos, but then I was watching Good Morning America this morning when something caught my attention. There was a story about Giuliana Rancic that I'm sure many of you have already heard.  I'm always intrigued by the family life of celebrities. How they make it work, what their priorities really are. Afterall, they are just people too, so it's interesting to hear how they do the "everyday" things we all do at home.

Recently Giuliana Rancic told US Weekly that the secret to her happy marriage is putting her 5 month old son Duke second and her husband first. She and he husband feel that having a strong marriage is the best thing they can do for little Duke.

{You can watch the GMA video clip here and read the US Weekly article here.} 

While I don't really have a personal philosophy on this subject, I'm a new mom (Owen is 13 months) and a fairly new wife (we've been married for 2 1/2 years), it got me thinking: Do you put your spouse first? Or do you focus 100% attention on your babies? Or do you spilt time evenly between spouse and child. 

I'm interested to hear what you have to say. 

As a mom I cannot understand a woman who says she puts her helpless child's needs second to that of a grown man's. Hopefully that is not what she really means. I'm sure she is meeting the baby's basic needs and then some, and what she means is that she makes sure to focus on her marriage too, right? 

For me personally , it all really depends on the situation. Keith is a grown man, so there are not many situations where he needs me more than Owen does. I don't think I have ever felt like I needed to chose between the two, but if I did I think Keith would respect that Owen is a semi-helpless (but not always--he is pretty resourceful) little guy and needs our help for his basic needs. 

But on the other hand I'm not overly wrapped up in "baby life" or obsessed with every little thing Owen does. We eat dinner together as a family every night and Keith and I manage to catch up on our day while also making sure Owen eats his dinner. We watch shows or movies together at night, we go on date nights as often as we can and we make sure to "connect" daily. 

I guess what I'm saying is we have balance, which is important in all aspects of life, right?

Please excuse my stream of conscious writing style here. This post was written "brain dump" style during morning nap time. No time for proofing or re-writing! 


Anonymous said...

I actually agree with Gulianna's comment. I do not have kids yet, but this is my personal belief. Its not that she doesn't take care of the basic needs of her son, its that her relationship with her husband is her number one priority. That means they aren't constantly talking about the child, they have date nights, they do things to connect with one another. It is true that focusing on your marriage is best for the child. This is also how God wants it. God first, spouse second, children third. Your spouse is your partner in life and even though a child is special and is most definitely a gift from God, you can't let your relationship with your husband suffer because of a child.

That is just some of my thoughts. I love Gulianna and Bill...I think they have a guinuine relationship and they seem so real!

KB said...

I agree with saying your spouse comes first. I don't think she meant basic needs, i.e. the baby is hungry and Bill is hungry so Bill gets fed first. I am 3 weeks away from delivering our first child and as much as I am excited about meeting him I am equally excited about getting back some of my relationship with my husband. We still watch our shows together, but I either fall asleep or am begging him to rub my feet/back the whole time. And our dates used to be going to concerts or a glass of wine on the porch and none of that has happened since the positive test. I already love my son to the moon and back, but it's important for him to someday recognize how much I value and love the man who helped me create him in the first place. Hopefully it will teach him to be a wonderful husband and father someday.

Unknown said...

honestly, this is such a tough one!! I bet we were watching the same segment the other morning about this, because I have to say I was shocked when they mentioned this before the segment. I love my fiance more than anything, but does he come first?...not anymore. My little baby comes first, as like you mentioned.. he is helpless and dependent. I'm not knocking Guliana or anyone else who thinks differently, but for me... my baby is number one in our home.

Unknown said...

This is going to sound selfish. But i wish there were times when I came first. I agree that it's all about balance but there are times when I need my husbands attention and time. When I need time just for us or just for myself. I think it's because I'm home with the boys, so after cooking, "cleaning" (i'm a terrible housekeeper lol) diaper/puke duty and bath time, I need to be told I'm pretty or have a special dinner/date. If you're marriage isn't strong and you're resentful I don't think you can parent 100% together.

KB said...

One more thing to note- not disagreeing with anyone, but I forgot to mention this. Personally I remember a time in grade school/middle school when my paretns were so wrapped up in mine and my siblings schedules and needs that my parents didn't take time for eachother. I remember noticing that they weren't affectionate and didn't go on dates, they just seemed to make it through the day. After we all left for college and they had time for eachother again they did a 180 and started travelling and doing fun stuff together. I kind of made a mental note that someday when I got married I would make sure to keep my marriage a priority for not just me but for our kids to see. Just more of my two cents.

Kelly said...

I'm a first time mom, with a baby that is almost one. Things like this anger me - if you don't want your baby to come first before you and your husband until a reasonable age, then don't have kids. Children are meant to be first because it will show later on when they are independent and happy knowing you will be there the minute they need it. My husband is a navy fighter pilot, so he is gone a lot and I'm alone a lot. We get our time together at night, chatting at dinner, or quick emails through the day. However, my baby comes first. His nap time comes first, his need to learn and play comes first, his need for time with daddy comes before mine. Once my baby is independent, then I'll get back to date nights and such. But I had a baby knowing my life wouldn't be the same and I don't want it to. I don't want to go out to eat and have someone watch my baby. A happy night is now knowing my baby is happily sleeping and snuggling on the couch grateful for life. I know someone who recently lost their 2 year old suddenly, and I guarantee they would give anything in the world to have their life revolve around that baby for just a day.

Unknown said...

I would have to agree with Giuliana and I will explain why. I have always said the same thing because I feel that without a close husband/wife relationship, you can't be a great mommy an daddy team.
Please dot get me wrong, my 10 month old little boy is extremely important to me and I would do anything for him. I am in no way saying my husband is more important than a child who can't take care of himself. What I personally mean by that statement is, I go out of my way to make sure that my husband still knows he is important. I mean, I MAKE time to make him feel just as important as my little guy. I sometimes think that we as mommy's get wrapped up in our child's life and we forget the guy that helped bring that little child into this world. I (this will sound terrible but it is the only analogy I can come up with at the moment) treat my husband like I would treat another child... You can't forget about your "first" child when your "second" one comes along;-)
I love the dynamic that G and B have and if it works for them , great! It seems to work for my hubby and I and I think it makes us a better mommy and daddy .

Annie said...

Emily Anderson wrote a post that touched on this a few days ago and I thought it was a good and simple explanation of looking at it.

I'm not a wife or a mother yet but I think it's more important to put your marriage first. I think this helps with consistency in parenting - you always want to present the same face to your children on rules, discipline, etc., even if privately you disagree. I also think it helps children to see that their parents are committed to each other and to the family as a whole.

You could think of it this way: say you're teaching a class of students with a teaching partner. Obviously you're going to keep in touch with both parties because that's what the job requires. But who are you going to prioritize communication with? Probably the teaching partner, because you need to be on the same page about due dates, class activities, etc. There may be student needs that arise that are immediate priorities - a student needs to go to the bathroom or is hurt - but ultimately your first relationship within that classroom is going to be with your teaching partner in order to create an effective, engaging learning environment for your students. Hopefully that helps Giuliana's comment make more sense! :]