Spouse or children?

First, a confession. I watched Jon and Kate Gosselin’s break-up on Monday night’s episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8. It may have cost me my man card, but I couldn’t help it. I was glued. Having seen Jon and Kate on the cover of Charisma magazine and their book at my local Christian bookstore, I was grieved to watch another Christian marriage go down the tubes–in front of millions of people. What happened?

Many, of course, will point to the show itself as the downfall of their marriage, and that could very well be true; but as I watched the separate interviews last night (in my defense, last night was the only full episode I’ve ever watched) I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming emphasis on both of their parts that the ensuing divorce was “for the sake of the children.”

In interview after interview, both Jon and Kate emphasized repeatedly that their first priority was their children. What was absent from the discussion was the priority of their marriage. It seems that their underlying assumption was that the health of their marriage had little to do with the physical and emotional well-being of their children.

Understand that I am not writing this in any way to pass judgment on Jon and Kate. Divorce is always a difficult thing to go through and there could very well be extenuating circumstances that the public doesn’t know. The reason for me writing this is to pose a question to my readers.

I’ve always understood that the priorities of married people with children should be:

1. God
2. Spouse
3. Children

The reason for this, at least as it was always explained to me, is that when husbands and wives give priority to their relationship with each other, it provides a stable environment for the emotional health of children. Another way of putting it is to say that healthy children flow naturally from healthy marriages. Therefore, the marriage should come first.

Jon and Kate’s assumption on the other hand, and many, perhaps the majority in my generation, seems to be that the priority flow chart looks like this:

1. God
2. Children
3. Spouse

I’m making an assumption of course about the God part. Since I don’t know Jon and Kate personally, call that a benefit of a doubt. Here’s the question I’d like to pose to my readers. Which of these flow charts do you think is the most accurate? Of course, I realize that if a spouse is a potential danger to children, then the other spouse should do whatever they need to do to protect their children. I’m talking about the marital priorities when normal problems arise. Is the flow chart that I’ve always understood accurate? Why or why not?


Posted on June 23, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Without a doubt, the flow chart needs to be:1. God2. Spouse3. ChildrenThis was God's design – and without a committed marital relationship, the children will suffer regardless of who the spouse is or what they are trying to "say" to make things better. Make your marriage a priority or all priorities get confused!

  2. For me, personally, there's not three options on the flow chart. There's only two. It goes1. God2. FamilyFamily includes both the spouse (and the sacred marriage covenant) and the children. Each needs the other to fully fulfill God's design for the family.

  3. Thank you both for your feedback. I think you are both right.

  4. As a mom in a 2nd marriage, I'm somewhat torn on this. I do believe that the ideal is God, spouse, and then children. However, I think personally that Hannah's priority chart is closer to my own. It was understood from the beginning of our relationship that I was a package deal with my children. I would have never in any circumstances given up my children for my husband.

  5. Thank you for your feedback Anonymous. I guess the dynamics change a little when you introduce a spouse to an already existing family unit. Hadn't thought about that. Thank you for bringing this up. Perhaps it shouldn't be either/or but both/and.

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