What a New Family Should and Shouldn't Prioritize in Their Household
Adults learn how to prioritize all elements of their lives as children.
11:30 23 April 2019
Parents set the example, and children follow them. In recent years, studies have shown increases in divorce rates due to couples who put their children ahead of their marriage and lose sight of their marriage and the relationship.
To reduce divorce rates, psychologists recommend creating a new structure for families and prioritizing all elements of the household instead of focusing primarily on the children. The suggestions have saved marriages and created a healthier version of the nuclear family.
What You Should Prioritize:
Maintain a Healthy Marriage
Too many couples plan their future as a step-by-step guide for living. They decide even when the marriage is at a younger stage that once they have children, they’re done! This isn’t a healthy way to approach marriage, and the relationship part of marriage isn’t over once the couple becomes parents.
Marriage is hard work and requires both parties to make each other a priority. During a marriage, the couple learns problem-solving skills that shape not just their lives, but the lives of their children, too. Children watch their parents and learn what a good or realistic marriage is like. What they see determines what they want in the future with their spouse.
Couples who take the necessary steps to make the marriage work by prioritizing and solving problems without arguing create a healthier view of marriage. This doesn’t mean that couples should never argue. It just means that they must find a better way to manage disagreements without creating an unhealthy or hostile environment for their children.
They learn to walk away when things become too heated and clear their heads. Once the couple has balanced their emotions, and they are level-headed, then they discuss the issue more respectively, maturely, and more objectively. Anger eliminates reason, and couples are more likely to say things they don’t mean when they are mad.
Put Your Spouse First - Always!
Approaching this subject has been tricky for couples. Too often they hear that they are bad parents if they take time for themselves, or if they place their spouse ahead of their children. Too often in social media, you read articles stating that parents must place their child ahead of their needs always. This isn’t true, and it is fundamentally wrong.
When you get married, you make a pledge to your spouse. Marriage is about creating an environment that cultivates a healthy marriage and allows the relationship to grow. You can’t help your marriage grow if you are always choosing your kids over each other. This doesn’t mean that you should neglect your children or fail to fulfill your responsibilities as a parent. It just means that you put your spouse first.
One day, your children will grow up and start their own lives. Spending years putting your spouse on the back burner damages your relationship and could create circumstances that lead to a divorce. You chose this individual as a spouse and this is the person you claimed that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with, not your kids. To love, honor, and cherish your spouse means that you must meet their needs, too. You made a promise, and you have to keep it.
Daily Goals for Couples:
- Tell your spouse you love them each day even in front of your kids.
- Hug and kiss each other as often as possible.
- Give each other treats or fix each other a cup of coffee just because.
- Start your day together and communicate as much as possible.
- Call each other on your lunch breaks.
- Never stop flirting or chasing each other.
Creating Your Own Spaces
The worst idea ever is co-sleeping parents. It’s one thing to let your infant sleep with you when you are exhausted and they are sick, or once in a while allowing your child to sleep with the two of you when they’ve had a bad dream. But, co-sleeping every night destroys marriages. It may make you feel like you are being a good parent, but in reality, you are creating an environment for your child where they don’t understand why personal space is important.
Creating your own space is easy when you personalize each bedroom. When your kids are young, you create individualized spaces by decorating their bedrooms to reflect their own personal style. Monogrammed blankets and wall stickers are a great way to identify personal spaces.
You and your spouse should follow suit and create your own design for your bedroom, too. Justin Poile from Vision Bedding explains that colors with the same temperature go together. Cool colors include green, purple, and blue, while warm colors include orange, red, and yellow. The options are perfect for designing your own personal space together.
Keeping Your Home Cleaner Together
Cleaning your home is another element that requires critical thinking and adjustment. Parenting blogs don’t present chore assignments as logical or politically correct these days. They suggest chores take away from your kids play time and their chance to be a kid. This isn’t true either. Teaching your kids to clean up after themselves and to cook even provides your kids with necessary life skills. It also helps you focus on more important aspects of your life.
You and your spouse are tired at the end of the workday. You should never come home to a mess, and your children must understand their role in the family unit. He or she who makes the mess should clean it up. Prioritizing your kids' chore assignments helps you keep your home clean as a family, and no one becomes overburdened. Plus, it shows your kids what marriage is and doesn’t give them the impression that being an adult means you clean up after your kids and never have time for yourselves.
Mealtimes are for the Family
Mealtimes are for the family! This isn't stressed enough in parenting and marriage blogs. Your family is growing, and your kids are growing older. Meal times are a time in which you and your family spend time together and enjoy a good meal. It is a time when technology should fall at the wayside, and you should all focus on each other. It also presents the family with a chance to discuss important elements of their lives.
Perhaps, your son got an “A” on his science project, or your daughter wrote a new song. These moments are fleeting, and mealtime is the best time to share these achievements together. You should make a point of sitting at the table together for dinner during the workweek and plan one large meal together as a family on the weekends. Your lives are too busy not to make this a priority.
Planning a Date Night with Your Spouse
Date nights have become a hot topic on parenting and relationship blogs today. It is important to spend at least one quiet evening with just your spouse. Hire a babysitter and plan an enjoyable night doing whatever you both love to do. It doesn’t have to become this extravagant or costly venture if it’s not within your budget. The point is that you are alone and focusing your attention on each other.
Planning a Family Day
A family day gives you and your spouse one day a week or even a month to spend with your kids. You could go to the park and play, visit the local zoo, or go to dinner and a movie together. Choose an activity that you all love and plan it out ahead of time. It lets your kids know that they are important to you and your spouse.
Pencil in a Lazy Day
A lazy day is just exactly that---lazy! You give yourself and your spouse one day to do absolutely nothing. Your work schedules are insane. You are parents and are on a constant overload of schedules and must-do tasks. It’s time to take a break just for one day. You choose a day on the weekend or when you both have a little vacation time from work.
It’s completely worth it, and it helps you recharge your batteries. It helps you reconnect with your spouse without the stress of a busy day where you try to get everything accomplished in a rush. You relax and just enjoy your time together.
What You Shouldn’t Prioritize:
Technology and the Dreaded Smartphone
All parents and couples are guilty of this. You have some quiet time. Your spouse turns the television to the new weekly episode of their preferred prime-time show. You aren’t even sitting next to each other. You decide it’s a great time to plug into your favorite social media outlet and get lost for several hours until bedtime. No!
In today’s society, new adages are becoming reality. Too often, couples don’t communicate verbally. They rely on smartphones and technological connections. They have arguments and full conversations via their smartphone. There just aren’t enough verbal communications anymore. In turn, your marriage suffers because of it. Text messages and instant messages are conveniences, but they won’t keep your marriage healthy if they are your only method of communication.
Social media has destroyed marriages. It is too easy for anyone to reach out to new people who create suspicions, hurt feelings, and diminish trust. The venues make it too easy to get rid of the evidence, too. To maintain a healthy and loving marriage, it is time to unplug and talk to each other verbally instead of electronically.
Children Should be Spoiled
Wrong! Giving into every request your kids make doesn’t make you a great parent. In fact, it creates an adult that believes that everyone in the world should follow suit. They don’t understand that they won’t get their way all the time in life, and the kids don’t understand how to handle disappointment or how to earn anything.
This action makes you fall into the trap where your child is the center of your universe. You project more emotions onto your kids instead of your spouse, and you don’t give your spouse the love or support that they need. Marriage is about choosing one person and loving them unconditionally. Your spouse is the center of your universe.
It’s fine to reward your kids when they achieve a major accomplishment or milestone in their lives. It is acceptable to get them gifts appropriately. But, parents that take it to a new level don’t create mature, respectable adults who understand how the world works. They create children that believe they are entitled and act accordingly. If you follow this parenting style, then you will damage your marriage and make your spouse feel that they aren’t most important to you.
Speaking Badly About Previous Spouses
Couples who refrain from speaking badly about previous spouses set a great example for their kids. In blended families, the negative commentary leads to hurt feelings and creates a hostile living environment for children from the previous marriage. Even if you have children together, you want all of your kids to feel welcome in your home.
The added friction of discussing your former spouses doesn’t help your marriage either. It is best to discuss issues privately and find a more mature approach to solving problems. If your kids hear you speaking negatively about their other parent, then they develop the impression that it is acceptable to bash other people without consequence. This doesn’t create a healthy environment for blended siblings, and it leads to bullying.
In conclusion, new families decide what is or isn’t a priority in their home according to the consequences. The most prevailing issue that couples face is failing to put each other first. If you don’t prioritize your marriage, then you create ongoing problems that often lead to divorce.
You want to show your kids what a healthy marriage is like, and you won’t achieve this if you place your kids ahead of your spouse. You prioritize the truly important elements of life and avoid actions that have harmful consequences. Following better prioritization practices in the household creates a loving and happy environment for your entire family.