Sunday, October 9, 2011

Who is #1?

I am on a local message board and someone posted about a recent T.oday Show segment that talked about marriage and basically about how priorities have shifted in today’s society.

The poll question and responses that made me think the most was this one:

Who is your number one priority?

  • Spouse/Significant Other
  • Child(ren)
  • Career
  • Yourself

My answer – my husband/marriage is my number one priority.

When I was answering, I looked at it from a relational standpoint – not from the standpoint of how my energy/actions are divided.

Let me explain my thinking here -

I don’t put a whole ton of energy into myself – I should probably, but I don’t.  (don’t most adult women feel this way – regardless if they have children?!)  I do work on my relationship with myself, maybe not as much as I should sometimes, but enough that I know I am pretty happy and capable of effectively working on my other relationships.

I put a lot of energy into my career – both my new job and my career within Premier – I enjoy those things.  I really enjoy working, I feel accomplished and dependable and all that jazz.  It’s not my highest priority in life, but it is pretty important.  One of the points that was brought up was that some day marriage might end, children will grow up and move out and then what is left? Yourself and any career that you have established.  I completely see that point – but maybe to me it’s a pretty obvious point – not one that requires much more conscious effort or higher prioritizing.

I devote many hours, a lot of energy and love to my daughter. I ADORE being a mother with every fiber of my being.  Caring for her takes the most energy/time of my day, which makes it pretty logical that children was the most popular *top priority'* answer on our poll.  Again, this makes sense, because most of us have small children and they for SURE require our energy and attention the majority of the time. Being a mom is fun, hard as hell sometimes, but not necessarily my top overall priority – she is a CLOSE second – that is for sure.

My marriage, on the other hand, THAT is my top priority in life.  Here’s how I look at it – and this has not always been true for me – if my marriage isn’t happy, then my family isn’t happy and I am not a happy individual or a happy mother or a happy employee.  Honestly. It is THE BIGGEST part of my life. My husband is my bestest friend (if you don’t count my sisters) in the whole wide world, I love him the most (yes, more than my child) and put the most effort/energy into keeping our relationship happy and healthy.  Does it always require *that much* energy/effort? No.  But sometimes it does. And we have experienced the damaging effects when our relationship gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list.

Those damaging effects, the heartache and frustration, those are things that I will go to the ends of the earth to keep from ever happening again. [because they REALLY effect the ENTIRE rest of life – no matter how hard you try for them not too] 

Keeping my husband at the forefront of my priority list is just so important to me.  Is it easy to do all the time? OMG NO, not at all. Do I succeed 100% of the time? Hell to the no. But I try. And get better at it all the time (or at least I hope I do…)  I want to have a marriage that my child(ren) hope for one day – one that is happy, balanced, filled with love but not a stranger to ups and downs.

I really do believe that God gave me Mike for the ups and downs – that has never been so evident to me than in the past few months and I am so thankful that we made it back to the up.

What do you think? How do you prioritize your relationships? I would so love to hear your thoughts!



PJ said...

Great post!

Yep, I can't imagine NOT having my husband by my side. Someone I know is going through a divorce and has THREE kids, one of which is just a year old and I cannot imagine how difficult that must be. Even with two, it is HARD to get things done!

Also, I know I am a better person for my career. I wish I could work part time, but when I am home during the summer 24/7 it is too much unbalance. Career=balance. Balance=better mom. For me, at least.

Dayna said...

Very well said.

Anonymous said...

The things you write about in this post should confirm to you that you DID make the right choice a few years ago in leaving med school. Not sure if you have any self doubts about that still, but I think you know that if you'd stuck with that, you'd NOT put your husband or daughter as priorities... it's career.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I've said it before, I'm a Mommy First Mom. If I'm not happy in some way shape or form, we're all screwed.

That being said, clearly, I'll take care of the needs of the Crazies in an immediate way. That is my job. Of course I'll carve out time to work on my marriage as well. It's not that I ignore these things, but if I'm not good with myself, I'll never make anyone else happy.

Love this post.

alison said...

I'm with you 100%. I don't always put J first, but I strive to. Our relationship is my biggest priority for sure. Someday the kids will be in college (hopefully! :) and it'll just be him and me and I don't want to wake up that morning after j is dropped off at school and not recognize the man I married 23 years prior because we'd spent the last 18 being parents and not being spouses. Marriage is WORK, parenting (to some extent) comes naturally - I have to prioritize the thing that is the hardest or it could fall to the wayside.

Danifred said...

Although I want to put Bee first and I know that's most important, I do find myself putting the kids first a lot of time. I guess I feel like if I don't protect them, who will? It's so hard.

Photogrl said...

I love this post!

I saw that interview, too...and it made me think. For me, marriage, kids, then me, but only because I'm not working right now.

It's so hard to keep my marriage at the top, especially over the last year with taking care of the twins, but I'm doing my best.

I think it's so easy to lose your identity once you're a mom.

Mazzy said...

The best way to find peace and joy in life is by living with priorities in the following order:

1) GOD
2) Husband
3) Children
4) everything else

It is so difficult to achieve this, HOWEVER, when it is done properly? Life is amazing beyond words.

As for putting children before husbands, more women than I can count do it. I often find myself slanting that way, because it is so easy to do. It's funny how the things in life that are so easy to do are often the wrong choice for overall and long running happiness, though. If only parents would love one another first and foremost and set that example for future generations, I do not believe that the divorce rate would be what it is. The cycle only gets worse with children who come from a divorced home.