Athol Kay had a great post today about prioritizing a marriage. You should read it as there are some gems within. His opinion is that a strong, healthy marriage should prioritize your spouse above all other things, including work, your mission or the kids. After thinking about this some, I totally agree, and that while your mission and the kids should be a high priority, at the end of the day if you want marriage fulfillment they need to come second. It’s more complicated than that and many fall into the common traps of not re-prioritizing and it’s only after a divorce atom bomb hits do they evaluate just what the hell happened and where things began to go off the tracks.
One of the most amazing days of my life was when when my oldest child was born. It wasn’t exactly an easy delivery for Holly, but at the end of the day, we had a beautiful baby and I never felt closer to my wife than during that time. It’s pretty well documented that after a baby is born, the fathers feel a much closer bond to their wife, and the mothers feel a shift in priorities and feel like the baby is the center of their life. Makes total sense since this infant is totally dependent on the mother for life and the mom needs to do whatever to take care of this ne human being. I’ve always thought the toughest part of having kids was the first year, and the second toughest part is the second year. It makes sense that the mother shifts a lot of her love and attention from the husband to the baby, but for a marriage to work long term, it has to come back to where it began.
The husband is often left out of that center where the mom-kids are when they are babies and completely dependent on the parents for everything. The bond between father and child is very strong, but is typically more practical than the intense nurturing bond between mother and child. And the blinders the mother has for the child often leaves the husband feeling left out. I know this was the case when our own kids were born. Remember when I said that the first year is the hardest followed by the second? We had our kids two years apart, meaning that Holly got pregnant again a little over a year after Birdsnest was born, so there was a four year window there where we had a kid under 2 years old. As I think back to when I started to feel like the marriage wasn’t where I expected it to be, it really started after this four year window expired. I felt I was on the outside looking in on my own family and the focus had shifted from her and I to the kids.
It wasn’t anything she was doing on purpose, or anything that I was doing on purpose either. I had softened up a little, both physically and how I behaved, to better nurture our young family. But the pattern of “kids first” was there and it needed to be broken. See, kids grow up, and if they are the focus of your life, what do you do when they grow up? When it’s just the two of you again? Establishing a bond that has withered is pretty difficult and I believe you see many divorces that happen after the kids go away to college since they simply don’t have it anymore as a married couple. While I didn’t necessarily realize this at the time, it makes sense now. I simply wanted my wife back instead of always being with the “mom”. So I did a lot of self-searching, trying to find out why things were the way they were. I read a lot, and stumbled upon the Red Pill and MMSL and things clicked into place. So around the time Loudboy was three, both Holly and I started making structural changes in ourselves, I took more of a leadership role directing where I thought our relationship should be, and as things changed our marriage slowly and naturally re-prioritized Instead of putting the children on a pedestal, we both stepped up to our own pedestal as a couple, and left the children where they belonged.
The kids are both a high priority in our life and we love them immensely, but now that they’re older, they aren’t the proverbial center of our universe. Holly and I both have hobbies and self-goals that keep us motivated, outside work, and are both trying to figure out our mission in life. At the end of the day, there’s really no one I’d rather be with and I feel that balance has been returned to it’s rightful place were she and I are the nucleus and the kids the next layer out. We are a team, we are affectionate toward one another and I think set a good example for what a marriage should be to our children. Most days I’m still “in love” with her and get tingles from time to time, and while I’m not sure, I think she feels the same way about me. Now that she’s staying at home, she’s doing some unconditional household things for me, to make me happy and surprise me. Now if only I can kill this infection and stay awake past 8 pm to show her how much I appreciate those efforts.. 😉